The Chicago Blackhawks will wrap up their three-game West Coast trip to open the season with a matchup against the San Jose Sharks tonight. The contest will begin at 9 p.m. CT and be broadcasted on NBCSCH and ESPN+.
Year 1 of the Luke Richardson era has started with a 0-2 start, but that was to be expected given who the Blackhawks have faced. They started the year with a 5-2 loss to Colorado Avalanche in the opener, following that up with a 1-0 defeat to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.
It is no secret that the Blackhawks are a rebuilding team, but they actually showed something in each of their two losses. Their fight in a blowout, particularly in the third period, against the defending champs was admirable. Alex Stalock then stopped 36 of 37 shots in a narrow loss to the Golden Knights the next night.
Oddsmakers believe this is the Blackhawks’ best chance at getting a win yet. Caesars Sportsbook, the official odds partner of Bet Chicago Sports, makes the Blackhawks a slight underdog at +122 on the moneyline. The total is set at six goals, with the under juiced to -120 and the over priced at +100.
We are 2-0 when betting on Blackhawks’ games to start the year, but it will be tough to stay undefeated because this game is honestly difficult to handicap.
Tough spot for the Sharks
Similar to their opponent, the Sharks are still searching for their first win of the season. They began the year with back-to-back losses to the Nashville Predators in Prague, Czech Republic during the 2022 NHL Global Series last weekend.
They came back home to lose in heart-breaking fashion to the Carolina Hurricanes last night. Sebastian Aho scored the go-ahead goal with 1:58 remaining, and the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the San Jose Sharks 2-1 at SAP Center on Friday.
The Sharks are now 0-3 and will have to bounce back in a hurry with another back-to-back. This is usually a spot where bettors could blindly fade the Sharks, and I think that’s why you might be seeing some early money come in on the Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks and Sharks faced off three times last year, with the latter going 2-1 in such meetings. These two teams have met 106 times in total, as the Blackhawks have a 45-47-5 record against the Sharks.
Tonight’s contest will be the first of three battles between these two teams. The Sharks will come to Chicago on Jan. 1, while the Blackhawks will return for the final matchup on Feb. 25.
Shane Jackson’s pick
I struggled with this bet, I’m not going to lie to you. I considered the under for the second game in a row, especially since it cashed with ease in a 1-0 loss to the Golden Knights. I was also tempted by the +100 price on under 2.5 goals for the Blackhawks, who have struggled to get much going offensively to begin the year.
But I have a perfect record to maintain, and it is hard not to bet against the Blackhawks when the price is this favorable. I do believe this is the Blackhawks’ best chance at a win, but this opening trip of three road games in four days was always supposed to be difficult. And now the Sharks are just as desperate to get in the win column.
This could end up being a competitive contest that comes down to the wire, but I’ll side with the home team to ultimately prevail. Sign up with Caesars Sportsbook today using this link to tail my bet on this Blackhawks’ game.
Bet: Sharks moneyline (-135) — 0.54 units to win 0.4 units
How our Blackhawks bets have fared
Season record: 2-0 (+0.85 units)
Game 1 at Colorado: Avalanche -1.5 puck line — Win (+0.35 units)
Game 2 at Las Vegas: Under 6.5 total goals — Win (+0.5 units)