NHL Betting Preview: San Jose vs St. Louis, Game 5

Posted by Aaron . on May 23, 2016 in

After a dominating 6-3 rout of the San Jose Sharks in Game 4, the puck returns to St. Louis where the Blues will be looking to take a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference Final. Let’s take a look at the top NHL picks, plays and predictions for this Game 5 showdown set to take place this Monday.

NHL Betting Preview: San Jose Sharks vs St. Louis Blues, Game 5

Current Series Standing: Tied at 2-2
When: Monday, May 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: Scottrade Center, Saint Louis, Missouri
Live Stream: Watch NHL
NHL Odds: San Jose +102, St. Louis -113, OVER/UNDER 5



Why Bet on San Jose

The Sharks were utterly outclassed in Game 4 and their play on both sides of the ice was uncharacteristically sloppy, but bettors shouldn’t overreact—it was just one game. Prior to shipping in six goals, the Sharks held the Blues scoreless in two straight games, engineered by Martin Jones, who will be returning back to the starting lineup after being relieved by James Reimer in Game 4. With back-to-back shutouts to his name, you can be sure that Jones will inspire confidence in a much-better performance from San Jose today. Offensively, the Sharks put six goals past Brian Elliott in Games 2 and 3, plus an empty netter, and then followed it with three goals in the Game 4 loss, so it shouldn’t be much of an ask for Joe Pavelski and Co. to keep the well-endowed San Jose offense ticking with a couple more goals. And above everything, history looks to be in the favor of the Sharks, as St. Louis is 0-2 this postseason in games returning back home—the team lost Game 5 to the Blackhawks in overtime in Round 1, and then lost Game 6 at home against the Stars 3-2 in Round 2. If this history holds true, San Jose should thus claim the win here.

Why Bet on St. Louis

After being held off the scoresheet for two games, the Blues had four goals in 30 minutes, and then added two more later for an emphatic win. Key to the revitalized performance was the fact that St. Louis’ offense recorded two powerplay goals and a shorthanded goal, taking advantage of the Sharks’ challenged puck protection and a lapse in their special teams. It’s hard to see the Sharks record another bad defensive performance today, but if the Blues can take advantage of their opportunities once again, a win could be in the offing for them in this game. This should especially be possible if they can ride on the red-hot Troy Brouwer, who has been in sizzling form in front of the goal, along with stellar support from the likes of Robby Fabbri and Paul Stastny. It remains to be seen if the decision to stick with goalie Jake Allen for Game 5 over Elliot will pay dividends, but Allen saved 31 of 34 shots in Game 4, meaning he could be up for the task once again.

Expert NHL Predictions and Picks

While Allen did make some decent saves when he was called to action in the previous game, I was not entirely impressed by him, largely because he didn’t face much pressure from San Jose in the first two periods. With so much on the line today, the Sharks will be smelling blood and that won’t be good for him. Meanwhile, the Blues have a tendency dialing down when going back home, something that could work against them here. Obviously, the Sharks have their own issues to deal with as well, especially in puck protection, but with everything considered, a win for the visitors looks more likely today.

My Game 5 NHL Picks: San Jose (+102) for the Win, Game Total UNDER.