Columbus Blue Jackets vs. New Jersey Devils Preview, Prediction, Picks & Odds -- 10/31/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Time: 5 p.m. ET
Venue: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Where to watch: MSG+, Bally Sports Ohio

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Devils -115, Blue Jackets -105
BetMGM: Devils -120, Blue Jackets +100
Caesars: Devils -115, Blue Jackets -105

Season record
Blue Jackets: 4-3-0
Devils: 4-2-0

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Blue Jackets - Devils preview and analysis

Recent form
Blue Jackets: lost 4-0 at Rangers on Friday
Devils: lost 5-3 vs. Flames on Tuesday

This long break could not have come at a better time for the New Jersey Devils.

It was one of their first big speed bumps of this season in a young start that's had plenty of promise. Now to go without Jack Hughes for over a month or two is going to be tough.

But the Devils got off to a great start after a three-day break with a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now they're playing a back-to-back coming back home to face the Columbus Blue Jackets at Prudential Center on Sunday.

What was supposed to be a night of celebration for Pittsburgh in Sidney Crosby's return to the lineup turned out to be a big-time rebound victory for New Jersey. The Devils came back from a 5-3 loss to the Calgary Flames to put up four against the Penguins. Jesper Bratt scored on a penalty shot, and Andreas Johnsson scored twice to put the Devils back into the win column.

Jonathan Bernier, who missed the past three games with a lower-body injury, returned to the lineup to make 33 saves in a very solid effort from the Devils' No. 1 goalie.

They'll be taking on a Blue Jackets team that has alternated wins and losses over the past six games but are coming off a 4-0 loss at the New York Rangers on Friday. The Blue Jackets have found ways to score as of late, but struggled hard against Igor Shesterkin for a 31-save shutout.

“I liked our first six, seven minutes,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “Then blown coverages. ... We stopped skating, we gave up way too much and then it snowballed the wrong way.”

Elvis Merzlikins is likely getting the call to rebound after allowing those four goals in Madison Square Garden. After Bernier played Saturday, it wouldn't be a shock to see the Devils go to Scott Wedgewood. He played well in relief of rookie goalie Nico Daws after he allowed three goals on seven shots.


I really like the Blue Jackets and think there's something to like under Larsen. The Devils are going to need a big performance from their backup goalie on the second game of a back to back, and it being less than 24 hours later does not help. This is a perfect chance for the Blue Jackets to get back on track and put up a win. Blue Jackets win 4-2

Betting trends

Columbus is 7-21 the past three seasons ATS coming off a road loss against a Metropolitan Division team.

Columbus is 68-49 ATS in its history following a loss by four goals or more.

New Jersey is 28-50 ATS against division opponents over the past three seasos.

Projected lines

Blue Jackets:

Patrik Laine -- Boone Jenner -- Jakub Voracek

Gregory Hofmann -- Jack Roslovic -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Gustav Nyquist -- Cole Sillinger -- Max Domi

Eric Robinson -- Sean Kuraly -- Alexandre Texier

Zach Werenski -- Jake Bean

Vladislav Gavrikov -- Andrew Peeke

Gabriel Carlsson -- Scott Harrington

Elvis Merzlikins


Pavel Zacha -- Nico Hischier -- Tomas Tatar

Andreas Johnsson -- Dawson Mercer -- Jesper Bratt

Yegor Sharangovich -- Michael McLeod -- Jimmy Vesey

Janne Kuokkanen -- Frederik Gauthier -- Marian Studenic

Ryan Graves -- Dougie Hamilton

Ty Smith -- Damon Severson

Jonas Siegenthaler -- P.K. Subban

Jonathan Bernier

Statistical leaders

Blue Jackets:
Points: Oliver Bjorkstrand -- 5
Goals: Boone Jenner -- 3
Assists: Oliver Bjorkstrand -- 4
TOI: Zach Werenski -- 25:26
Goalie: Elvis Merzlikins -- 4-1-0, 1.98 GAA, .939 save percentage

Points: Pavel Zacha -- 5
Goals: Pavel Zacha -- 4
Assists: Dougie Hamilton -- 3
TOI: Dougie Hamilton -- 19:54
Goalie: Jonathan Bernier -- 2-0-0, 2.48 GAA, .911 save percentage

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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