The Chicago Blackhawks began their 2022-23 campaign last night in Colorado, and it went as well as expected.
The Avalanche, who won the Stanley Cup a little over three months ago, took care of business with a 5-2 victory over the Blackhawks. Prior to the game, the Avs had their championship banner raising ceremony with the whole world watching on TNT.
It was always an unfair start for a rebuilding team, but things don’t get any easier for the Blackhawks. They hopped on the plane last night to get to Las Vegas, where they will take on the Golden Knights tonight for Game 2 of the Luke Richardson era.
The Blackhawks are underdogs yet again, as they are +285 on the moneyline and have a puck line of +1.5 (+118) at Caesars Sportsbook. The total at Caesars Sportsbook, which is the official odds partner of Bet Chicago Sports, is currently 6.5.
Tonight’s matchup will be the second game of a three-game opening road trip for the Blackhawks. It will begin at 9 p.m. CT at T-Mobile Arena and will be broadcasted on NBC Sports Chicago.
Power play goals prove to be the difference
It was always going to be difficult for the Blackhawks in the opener, but they did themselves no favors with all the trips to the penalty box on Wednesday.
The Blackhawks committed three penalties in the first period alone, finishing with six total for the game. The Avalanche, who were lethal in advantageous situations during last year’s championship run, were 4-for-6 on the power play in the season opener.
You simply can’t make those mistakes when there is that much of a talent gap between two teams. Jack Johnson, who is now with the Hawks after playing for the Avs last year, said as much after the game.
Series history vs. Vegas
The Blackhawks actually fared well against the Golden Knights last season. They went 2-0-1 in this series last year. They are 3-6 all-time against the Knights, as they have been outscored by a 49-34 margin in the history of this series.
This will be the first of three meetings with Vegas, though the next two contests will take place in Chicago. The Knights come to town on Dec. 15 and Feb. 21 this year.
Shane Jackson’s pick
It was good to start off the year with a winning bet, even if it was a bit of a lay-up. Thanks to the Avs’ efficiency on power-play opportunities, the puck line of -1.5 was graded as a winner in last night’s opener. Even those who took -2.5 at other sportsbooks were able to cash a ticket.
I could go back to the opponent’s puck line, but I don’t like the idea of laying similar juice to what we just did with the Avalanche. So I’m actually going to play under 6.5 goals, which currently has a price of -105 at Caesars Sportsbook. Sign up with them today to place your first NHL bet on us.
The Blackhawks only had seven shot attempts in the first period, thanks in large part to spending six minutes on penalty kill. They finished the game with 34 shot attempts, including 17 on goal.
Playing a man short due to penalty will limit offensive chances, of course, but the Blackhawks had some struggles scoring in the preseason as well. I’m betting against them scoring more than two goals tonight.
On the other side, the Blackhawks will hopefully make less mistakes and grant the Golden Knights fewer advantageous opportunities.
In a game that I believe will ultimately end 4-2 or 4-1, I’ll be taking the under for my second official bet of the Blackhawks’ season.
Bet: Under 6.5 total goals (-104) — 0.52 units to win 0.5 units
How our Blackhawks bets have fared
Season record: 1-0 (+0.35 units)
Game 1: Avalanche -1.5 puck line — Win (+0.35 units)