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Predators favored to win season opener in Prague
Updated October 6, 2022
It’s almost time for the first puck drop of the 2022/23 NHL season, and like me, I expect you’re brimming with excitement at the prospect of returning to North America’s ultimate winter sport.
The NHL released its 1312 game schedule back in July, with every time playing 82 games. The North American fixtures don’t start until October 11th, when we see a doubleheader featuring the New York Rangers at home to the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Los Angeles Kings hosting the Vegas Golden Knights.
On Wednesday, we see the 2022 Stanley Cup winners, the Colorado Avalanche, when Jared Bednar’s team hosts the Chicago Blackhawks.
Before we even get to that, though (yes, there’s a great start coming before the main course), we have the first of two regular season games from the 2022 NHL Global Series.
The Nashville Predators and the San Jose Sharks will play two games against each other in the Czech Republic on October 7th and 8th at the O2 Arena in Prague. These will be the first NHL matches played in Europe since 2019, after they had to be shelved in 2020 and 2021 due to the global pandemic.
There will be two more matches played overseas this year, both at the start of November (4th and 5th), when Finland’s Nokia Arena in Tampere will have the privilege of seeing the Stanley Cup champions, Colorado Avalanche, take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in a doubleheader.
Who is favorite to win the 2023 Stanley Cup?
Before this weekend’s action, let’s look at the betting to win the 2023 Stanley Cup.
It will be no surprise that the best NHL betting sites make the Colorado Avalanche their overwhelming favorites. The Avalanche are just +400 to go back-to-back this season.
Next in the betting is the Toronto Maple Leafs at +850. They have now gone clear of the Florida Panthers (+1100), and the Tampa Bay Lightning (+1200). The Lightning is joined on +1200 by the Edmonton Oilers, who have seen their odds shorten in recent weeks.
The big movers in the betting are the Tampa Bay Lightning. Just a few weeks ago, they were +800, just ahead of the Maple Leafs. Now the Lightning has seen their Las Vegas NHL odds drift out to +1200, leaving the Maple Leafs on their own as the second favorites behind the Avalanche.
Another team that sees its odds heading in the wrong direction is the Vegas Golden Knights. Having been +1400 for the Stanley Cup back at the end of June, Bruce Cassidy’s side are now out to +2200. And this after thrashing the Avalanche 7-1 in a preseason game.
Despite the win over Colorado, the Golden Knights haven’t had a great preseason, and this now seems to be being reflected in the latest Stanley Cup odds.
Obviously, with this being the season’s opening match, there is only preseason form to consider. Yes, preseason form can be a marker, but it’s not the best in making predictions.
But that is all we have. So for the record, the Predators have played four matches in the preseason, winning three. They started with a 4-3 overtime defeat at home to the Florida Panthers. They followed that up with a 4-0 win over the same opposition.
Nashville then had a doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Winning the first match 2-0 and the second by a 7-1 margin. All four matches were played at the Bridgestone Arena, giving the Predators home advantage.
What; NHL – Nashville Predators v San Jose Sharks
Where; O2 Arena, Prague, Czech Republic
When; Friday, October 7th, 2022
Time; 2 pm ET (8pm Local)
As for the Sharks, they’ve played five preseason matches, winning four and losing one. The loss was 4-1 away to the Ducks. With the wins coming over the Ducks (5-4), the Kings twice (3-2 and 3-1), and most significantly last weekend, a 7-3 win over the Golden Knights in Nevada.
Who will win the NHL season opener?
The Predators go into the match as the -190 favorites on the Moneyline, with the Sharks at +165.
In the handicap market, the Sharks are -150 with a +1.5 points start. The Predators (-1.5) are +130. The total points spread is set at 5.5, over 5.5 at -130, and under 5.5 at +110.
Should the Sharks be worried about losing to the Ducks in preseason? Probably not, as it was a warm-up match. But at the same time, it’s not ideal.
For a pick for the match, I will go with over 5.5 goals. In the Predators matches, two from four have been over 5.5. While in the Sharks matches, two from five have been over 5.5.
The Predators have kept two clean sheets, the Sharks, none. And that’s why I’m going for overs. There have been goals at both ends in the Sharks matches, and as they aren’t looking defensively strong, they may decide offense is the best form of attack, hopefully leading to an exciting and open game.
For the record, if I was going to bet on the handicap market, I would be going with the Predators to win.
Dean has a strong affinity for the English Premier League and cricket, but his extensive understanding of sports allows him to discuss a wide range of athletic topics. Previously, Dean has explored the world to attend events such as the FIFA World Cup and Ashes cricket matches, but currently, he prefers to enjoy sports from the coziness of his home.