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The Rangers open their four-game road trip with a visit to the Winnipeg Jets. NHL handicapper Jason Yamaguchi offers his best bet for the game.
ANALYSIS

Winnipeg Jets vs. New York Rangers Prediction: Expect a Strong Showing From the Road Dogs

Saturday provided us with a barrage of highly entertaining games, from a 4-3 overtime showdown between the West's top two squads to multiple momentous upsets. Moving on to Sunday, we've got eight more NHL games on the board. There are a few spots of value that I'm considering—here's my strongest lean.

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Jets vs. Rangers Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Sunday, March 6

Game Time: 7:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: ESPN+

Puck Line: Jets -1 (+175)

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Jets vs. Rangers Line Movement

Winnipeg Jets vs. New York Rangers Prediction

The Rangers (35-15-5) have been one of my more profitable teams this season. The analytics crowd—perhaps for good reason—has been down on them since the beginning of the year. The sportsbooks seem to give them little credit in terms of line pricing, even when they play mediocre teams. Still, the Blueshirts keep winning. They've won seven of their last 10, and are closing fast on second-place in the Metropolitan division.

The Jets (24-21-10) are, perhaps, a worse version of the Rangers. They have a few star forwards, namely Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, and Nikolaj Ehlers, who produce a significant proportion of their offense. One could say the same of Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider for the Rangers. Winnipeg also has a tendency to get caved defensively; they constantly lean on their goaltender to bail them out, just as the Rangers do. The Jets are seven points out of a playoff spot with 27 games to go, and have lost five of their last seven.

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Speaking of goaltending, Igor Shesterkin has been New York's trump card since the beginning of the season. His record of 27-6-3 speaks for itself, but he also leads the league in both save percentage (.940) and goals saved above expected (32.18). Shesterkin is the Vezina front-runner as well as a deserving candidate for the Hart trophy. It might be worth waiting on this bet until we receive confirmation that he's starting—this line should (and will) look vastly different if Georgiev gets the nod. However, if Shesterkin goes, I would have a hard time betting against a goaltender who has allowed just 27 goals in 16 games since the start of the calendar year.

On the other side, Connor Hellebuyck has been quite solid in his own right. His GSAx mark of 7.12 ranks 12th among all NHL starters, although he was much higher in the rankings earlier in the year. One has to wonder if his morale, and therefore his level of play, has dipped due to the volume of high-quality chances he's forced to save on a nightly basis. The advantage goes squarely to the Rangers in terms of goaltending, but Hellebuyck, a former Vezina-winner, is good enough to steal a game on his own.

The Jets have been a slightly better team at even strength. Their 5v5 expected goals share of 49.01% ranks 19th in the league, while the Rangers' share of 46.87% ranks 24th. On the other hand, New York has a big edge in terms of special teams. Their power play ranks 5th with a conversion rate of 25.2%, and their penalty kill ranks 7th with a kill rate of 83.3%. Winnipeg's units trail in 12th and 21st with success rates of 22.2% and 77.3%, respectively.

Both teams are relatively healthy. The Jets are the better team at even strength, while the Rangers have the better special teams. The biggest edge, by far, is in goal. That edge is substantially larger than any potential home ice advantage that the Jets might have; the Rangers should be favored here. Bet them down to -110 on the moneyline.

Jets vs. Rangers Pick

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Article Author

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Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.

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