Eric Bolte, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Carey Price
Betting odds: Montreal Canadiens at Pittsburgh Penguins
- Canadiens moneyline: +220
- Penguins moneyline: -260
- Over/Under: 6 (-110/-110)
- Puck drop: 7 p.m. ET
>> All odds as of 11 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NHL odds and track your bets
The Canadiens played a great game as 2-1 underdogs at Toronto on Wednesday night. They ultimately lost 3-2 in overtime but were clearly the better team. The Habs created 2.58 expected goals (xG) at 5-on-5, only allowed 1.91 and had more of the possession, as evidenced by their 54.4% Corsi For (CF%).
I was also impressed that Claude Julien bucked the trend and sat two veterans, Karl Alzner and Tomas Plekanec, in favor of younger, more talented players in the opener. Refreshing!
It was tough to see that bet lose, but getting a +200 underdog to overtime (where the game essentially becomes a coin flip) is always a good thing.
I’m back on Montreal on Saturday night. Once again they are the inferior team on the road but there’s no doubt that the value is with the Habs.
Pittsburgh is coming off a 7-6 overtime win at home against the Capitals on Thursday in a game that was bananas. The Penguins owned the puck against the Caps (playing the second game of a back-to-back) and created 4.03 xG at 5-on-5. The Pens probably should have won that game pretty easily but goaltender Matt Murray let them down.
He gave up six goals on 30 shots at even strength. His expected save percentage for that game was .888, so the Pens defense didn’t make life easy on him. But this was not a good sign for a goalie coming off a disastrous 2017-18 season.
His counterpart Saturday, Carey Price, also struggled last season but he looked like his former self against Toronto. If he stays on song, the Canadiens have a chance every night.
Montreal played an up-tempo game against Toronto and that could turn this into a see-saw battle given the Penguins’ run-and-gun style. If that is the case, I think Price gives Montreal a puncher’s chance on Hockey Night in Canada.
At +220 the Canadiens have an implied probability of 31.25% (when accounting for the vig). So this isn’t a bet you expect to win, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in the number.
Bet: Montreal Canadiens +220