Happy New Year and Happy Winter Classic day, hockey fans! The NHL’s annual* tradition is one of the best in the sport and we have a great game on tap to kick off 2022. The Minnesota Wild host the St. Louis Blues in a Central Division battle at Target Field, home of MLB’s Minnesota Twins. We’re here to give you everything you need to know for the game, including the Winter Classic odds, start time, weather, picks, predictions, and more!
2022 Winter Classic Start Time & Weather
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota – Target Field
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST (6:00 p.m. local time)
Weather: -7°F, RealFeel -17°F; Wind: 7 MPH NNW
2022 Winter Classic Odds
Money Line: Blues (+105) vs. Wild (-125)
Total: 5.5 (Over -125 | Under +105)
Odds via WynnBET
2022 Winter Classic Picks: Blues vs. Wild
The Blues and Wild are currently two of the best teams in the Central Division. However, it’s been a tale of two teams recently. St. Louis is rolling with a 3-1-0 record in its last four games and 6-1-1 in its last eight. Minnesota hasn’t been too hot, though, losing its last four games prior to the extended Holiday Break and COVID pause.
Speaking of not too hot: the weather. Outdoor games are always interesting to handicap depending on the weather and this Winter Classic is no different. It’s expected to be well below freezing which would be good for hockey, right? Well, the NHL is heating the ice to make sure it doesn’t get too cold.
Both franchises have played in one outdoor game in their history. The Blues beat the Blackhawks 4-1 at Busch Stadium in the 2017 Winter Classic and the Wild beat the Blackhawks 6-1 at TCF Bank Stadium in a 2016 Stadium Series game.
This will be the first meeting this season between St. Louis and Minnesota. They played eight times last season with the Blues winning six of the eight games, including two in overtime. But these are two different teams now in a very different environment.
The Wild are 10-2-1 at home this season and should get a boost playing outdoors in front of their fans. The Blues haven’t been as great away from home, however, going just 6-6-3 on the road this season. That’s a big factor in handicapping this game and one of the reasons I’m leaning towards Minnesota.
Having said that, it could be tough for the Wild without captain Jared Spurgeon and center Joel Eriksson Ek. The Blues have some injuries of their own with Brayden Schenn (out), James Neal (out), and Pavel Buchnevich (questionable) on the injury list.
The Winter Classic odds have the Wild as the favorites and I have to agree with the books here. Give me the Wild to take this one at home.
2022 Winter Classic Moneyline Pick: Wild -125
Now, looking at the total of 5.5 goals, I’m leaning to the Over. Transitioning to the sightlines and outdoor atmosphere can be tough on goalies and we could see some rather soft goals on Saturday night. Teams will be firing pucks on net and hoping for a bounce, which the ice should provide plenty of.
On top of that, these are two of the highest-scoring teams in the league. The Wild average 3.63 goals per game (third-most in the league) and the Blues average 3.38 (seventh-most). They could both put up three or more in the Winter Classic.
And of course, it’s going to be Saturday night and New Year’s Day; you’re going to be wanting to root for goals and excitement anyway.
2022 Winter Classic Total Pick: Over 5.5 (-125)
2022 Winter Classic Player Props
It’s always fun to spice up the game with some player props and I have two for the Winter Classic.
The Blues and Wild both average 32+ shots for and against per game, and I expect a lot of shots in this one. Throw the puck on net and good things happen.
Although the game is just one of 82 in the regular season, it has extra importance for the players –– especially the superstar players.
Vladimir Tarasenko is one of the Blues’ top players and he shoots like it. He has 111 shots in 32 games on the season, including four or more SOG in 16 contests. He’s been shooting a lot recently with 4+ SOG in four straight games. Tarasenko’s SOG total is set at 3.5 with the over at +115, implying a 46.51% chance. Tarasenko is hitting this clip at a 50% rate on the season and even higher recently. There’s value to be had here.
2022 Winter Classic Player Prop: Vladimir Tarasenko O3.5 SOG (+115)
Tarasenko isn’t the only Blues forward to watch. Ryan O’Reilly has been a one-man shooting gallery recently with 18 SOG in his last five games, including 3+ in four of those five contests. He’s only hit the 3 SOG mark in 11 of 28 games this season, but the stars should come out to play under the bright lights at the Winter Classic.
2022 Winter Classic Player Prop: Ryan O’Reilly O2.5 SOG (+120)
2022 Winter Classic Predictions: Blues vs. Wild
This Winter Classic odds are short and this should be a good matchup between two top teams in the Central. I think the Wild will pull it out in a high-scoring game, and I’m going to call my shot here.
A Winter Classic hasn’t gone to overtime since the Rangers beat the Sabres 3-2 in 2018. There were two overtime outdoor games in 2019, with the Flyers beating the Penguins 4-3 and the Jets beating the Flames 2-1. Both the Flyers and Jets were the home squad in those overtime wins and I’m seeing another one of those on Saturday night.
You can get Draw at +320 on the three-way line over at WynnBET.