The NHL will return to the great outdoors for the first time in two years when the Minnesota Wild play host to the St. Louis Blues on January 1 in this season’s edition of the NHL Winter Classic. In addition to featuring a crucial matchup between a pair of rivals in contention for the top of the Central Division standings, this season’s Winter Classic will be the NHL’s first attempt to stage an outdoor contest in frigid winter conditions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
MyTopSportsbooks takes a look at all the best bets as the NHL renews its New Year’s Day tradition. Sports bettors getting in on hockey action for the first time should refer to our online resources, including our Stanley Cup betting guide, and tips on how to take advantage of the best NHL hockey betting sites.
|NHL Winter Classic Odds|
|St. Louis Blues||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
Winter Classic Betting Trends
Puck drop on the 2022 NHL Winter Classic is set for 7:00 pm on New Year’s Day at Target Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins. This season’s contest represents the 13th edition of the Winter Classic. The inaugural edition was held at Ralph Wilson Stadium in 2008 when the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins skated to a 2-1 shootout victory over the host Buffalo Sabres.
On this day in 2008, Sidney Crosby and the @penguins closed out the first ever Winter Classic with a shootout victory. 🐧 pic.twitter.com/XaNxyBEkba
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) January 1, 2021
While the Winter Classic is now established as an annual New Year’s Day tradition, it is far from the only outdoor game in town. Since the NHL first took the game outside with the inaugural Heritage Classic back in 2003, the NHL has staged 32 regular-season games on outdoor ice, with some unexpected results.
“That game almost got canceled because it was so cold.”
With the #HeritageClassic game happening tonight in Regina, @NHL Alumni @GeorgesLaraque and @craigrivet52 reflect on what it was like playing in the 2003 Heritage Classic Game in Edmonton. pic.twitter.com/77nW8QIY09
— Rogers Hometown Hockey (@hometownhockey_) October 26, 2019
Road teams have held the upper hand in past Winter Classic matchups, racking up a 9-2-1 record, but have posted wins in just three of six Winter Classic contests played in baseball stadiums. Low scoring has also been commonplace at the Winter Classic, with five or fewer total goals being scored in eight of the 12 previous editions of this event.
Auston Matthews’ OT winner from the 2017 Centennial Classic always puts a smile on my face. pic.twitter.com/H4Jw634HST
— Michael (@TheLeafsIMO) March 17, 2020
However, home teams have increasingly produced steady results when playing outside. Home teams have claimed the win in 10 of the past 13 NHL outdoor games played, a run that began with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 5-4 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings in the Centennial Classic at BMO Field in 2017.
Blues vs Wild Betting Trends
Both the Blues and the Wild have made one previous appearance in an outdoor game. The Wild romped to a dominating 6-1 victory over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks at TCF Bank Stadium in an NHL Stadium Series clash in February 2016. The Blues were also victorious over Chicago in their lone previous appearance a year later, posting a 4-1 win over the Blackhawks on home ice at Busch Stadium.
🏒 Marcus #Foligno montre sa coordination main/œil pour donner 3 buts d’avance au #Wild face aux #Blues !
➡️ Mais St-Louis, avec notamment 2 buts de David #Perron, inscrit 7 buts sans réponses pour remporter la partie 7-3. pic.twitter.com/NHIZjFU5YS
— Café Crème Sport (@CafeCremeSport) May 14, 2021
Overall, the Winter Classic marks the first of three meetings this season between these divisional rivals. The Blues have regularly outclassed the Wild in head-to-head action, posting wins in 10 of 13 clashes since November 2018, including victories in five of eight dates in Minnesota.
The #mnwild enters the NHL Holiday Break in first place in the Central Division and T-1st in the Western Conference with 40 pts. Most points in franchise history after 30 games:
2011-12: 20-7-3 (43 pts)
2021-22: 19-9-2 (40 pts)
2016-17: 18-8-4 (40 pts)
2015-16: 17-7-6 (40 pts)
— Minnesota Wild PR (@mnwildPR) December 21, 2021
While casual observers may view outdoor games like the Winter Classic as somewhat of a novelty, there will be plenty on the line when these two teams hit the ice at Target Field. The Wild entered the Christmas break atop the Central Division standings with 40 points and pegged as a dramatically improved +750 bet on the most recent Western Conference odds and picks. However, they also need to find a way to snap the four-game losing streak they carried into Christmas.
Based on points percentage, your top 8 teams in each NHL conference:
St. Louis .629
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 22, 2021
That slide has provided the Blues with a golden opportunity to close the gap on the top of the Central Division standings, and they have not disappointed. St. Louis enters the Christmas break with wins in five of seven outings and now lags just one point back of the Wild in the race for first place. The Blues also enjoy a favorable schedule in the days leading up to the Winter Classic, with home dates against New Jersey and Edmonton. Accordingly, they are likely to offer the best value as road underdogs on the Winter Classic odds as game time approaches.
Best Bet: Blues
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