Winnipeg Jets vs. Las Vegas Golden Knights (10/20 @ 10:00 PM EST)
Puck Line: Golden Knights -1.5 (+130)
Money Line: Golden Knights -210
Overview and Betting Odds
The Winnipeg Jets (2-1) will be visiting conference rival the Las Vegas Golden Knights (3-1) Thursday night in what should be an entertaining game. Both teams may be fighting for the same playoff spot after missing it last season, giving this early matchup some importance.
The Jets are 2-1 against the puck line and have hit the under in both games this season. The Knights are 3-1 against the puck line and have alternated going over and under to start the year. The Jets have won five straight against the Knights dating back to 2020.
The Jets are coming off a disappointing season that saw them miss the playoffs for the first time since 2016. New head coach Rock Bowness was hired in the offseason and started his tenure with the controversial move of stripping veteran Blake Wheeler of his captain status. In a hope to change the team culture, Bowness announced he would be using a series of alternate captains until someone shows they were worthy of the title.
The Jets have a strong core of players, especially on offense. Kyle Connor is coming off a 93-point season and is expected to lead a dangerous offense that includes Pierre Luc-Dubois and Mark Scheifele. So far, Scheifele leads the team in scoring with three goals, followed by Sam Gagner and Neal Pionk with two each.
The biggest question for the Jets will be on defense, as they have been giving up many shots over the last two seasons. This trend continued last night against Colorado, but they were supported by another stellar performance from Goalie Connor Hellebuyck.
Hellebuyck is one of the top goalies in the league and has shown it already this year. The veteran goaltender has shown he can play 60+ games and help cover some of Winnipeg’s defensive holes. If he gets the nod tonight, it will be a big challenge for the dangerous Knights offense.
Las Vegas Golden Knights
After a disappointing season where they missed the playoffs, the Knights come into this year with high expectations under former Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. They started with wins over Seattle, Chicago, and LA before losing to a tough Calgary team.
Vegas’s offense got a big boost in the offseason with the signing of Phil Kessel and the return of Jack Eichel and Matt Stone from injury. This offense will vastly improve if Eichel and Stone can regain their old form. While they both have one goal through four games, their return has bolstered a powerplay unit that was among the worst last season. Third-line center Jonathan Marchessault currently leads the team with three goals.
On defense, the Knights’ Alex Pietrangelo has been off to a great start with three assists on the year. He leads a defense that has started strong, allowing just seven goals in their first four games (including one shutout).
In the net, it appears that Logan Thompson has claimed the starting role over newcomer Adin Hill. This was a big question mark coming into the season for the Knights, as the position was seen as a significant weakness. Thompson has already started three of their four games, going 2-1 with one shutout, and is expected to be in the net again tonight.
TakingVegas.com 1* Free Pick: Over 6.5 Goals
While betting the over when Hellebuyk is in goal is risky, we think the combination of Vegas’s offensive power and Winnipeg playing last night will lead to a big goal total. The Jets look good this year, but that defense will continue to be an issue. Hellebuyk saw 33 shots last night, and we believe he’ll see even more tonight in Vegas. We also see Luc-Dubois having his first big game of the year.
We like the Knights, but there is little value in that money line, and we see this as a one-goal game. Give us the over and tune in for some late-night fireworks in Vegas tonight.