Justin Cuthbert breaks down the first-round matchup between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Let's start with the Central Division. I have good numbers, I think, on the Panthers and Rangers so far, but I did grab a bad one on the St. Louis Blues. The Blues are now a plus-134 dog against the Minnesota Wild. I grabbed them when it came out at plus-114 thinking it was going to come closer to even, but the Minnesota price has steamed up to minus-164.
And I like that price a lot on the St. Louis Blues what it's at right now because I feel like this is a coin-flip series. Minnesota has home ice, but St. Louis has the recent victories head to head between these two franchises. They've both been the best one and two teams since the trade deadline in the league, so it's an elite match-up right now, and I expect a long and drawn-out series for that reason where depth might be the difference.
And it's the Blues that have eight different 20 goal scorers on their team, and one of those players that hasn't hit 20 goals is Ryan O'Reilly, who won the Conn Smythe trophy a couple of years back. This is a really deep St. Louis team, while Minnesota leans on those top guys. They're very, very good, they're well-coached, they play with structure, they have great goaltending. But if it comes down to where are you going to get those contributions, I think St. Louis with the depths of their lineup has a little bit more to offer.
Minnesota is also dealing with some injuries to key players, including Jared Spurgeon and Matt Dumba, so I like the Blues, and I've already put my bet in on the Blues. I wish I hadn't, I wish I had waited till now. I also, though put a fifth of the unit on St. Louis pulling out the series victory in six games, which is plus-470 because I think that's the most likely win condition. They get an opportunity to win on home ice in game 6 and they take advantage of that.
I love the Blues at the current number. I don't know how you could look at the series and have such a discrepancy in terms of the value on the board. It just seems like this should be far closer to a pick'em and it's trending far, far away from that.