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The Predators will host the Oilers on Thursday night in an important game between two of the Western Conference's playoff teams. Jason Yamaguchi breaks down the game and gives his pick for the game.

Nashville Predators vs. Edmonton Oilers Prediction: Can We Trust the Predators?

The week of unbalanced NHL scheduling rolls on. After three relatively uneventful games on Wednesday, we've got a massive, 12-game slate to consider for Thursday. Here's my best bet for the matchup between two teams battling for playoff positioning in the West—the Predators and the Oilers.

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Nashville Predators vs. Edmonton Oilers Prediction

Nashville (42-26-5) is currently occupying the top wildcard spot in the Western Conference, but they only lead Dallas by one point for the spot. With the games increasing in importance, the Predators have upped their level of play since the beginning of April. They are 5-2-1 in their last eight games, including a dominant (although not on the scoreboard) win over the Sharks in their last outing. Nashville will look to continue building momentum and avoid the second wildcard, which is particularly necessary given that the team finishing there will draw Colorado in the first round.

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Edmonton (42-26-6) is all but locked into a top-three spot in the Pacific, but they still have home-ice advantage to play for. They were recently on a six-game winning streak, but have since lost two straight. In their last game, a 5-1 loss at the hands of the Wild, they were run out of the building from start to finish. The Oilers will need a much stronger performance to compete with the Predators in this spot.

There isn't much separating these teams at even strength. The Oilers rank 13th in the NHL with a 5v5 expected goals share of 51.52%; the Predators are in 16th with a share of 50.06%. It is worth noting, however, that the Predators are trending in a more positive direction than the Oilers are in this category.

Nashville's biggest edge in this spot is their goaltending. Barring a major surprise, Juuse Saros will start for them. He has had an outstanding year—he ranks third amongst all starters in terms of GSAx with 26.9, seventh in save percentage with a .922, and first in wins with 36. Edmonton has suffered from subpar goaltending all season; no matter whether the Oilers roll out Mike Smith or Mikko Koskinen, the Predators will have a sizable advantage.

These teams are closely matched in a lot of key categories—even-strength play, special teams, and health. However, the Predators have a much better goaltender and are in marginally better form, which is enough for me to side with them at the current price point. Bet Nashville down to -115 on the moneyline.

Nashville Predators vs. Edmonton Oilers Pick

Pick: Predators ML (-105) (Bet $105 to Win $100)

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Article Author


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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