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NHL Odds, Predictions, Preview for Canadiens vs. Golden Knights Game 2: How to Bet Vegas for Most Value (June 16)

NHL Odds, Predictions, Preview for Canadiens vs. Golden Knights Game 2: How to Bet Vegas for Most Value (June 16) article feature image

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  • Vegas lost Game 1 of its series against Colorado -- then flipped the script to advance to the Conference Finals.
  • Do the Canadiens have any hope of playing spoiler to the Golden Knights after a Game 1 blowout? Our NHL betting analyst doesn't think so.
  • Mike Ianniello previews Tuesday's Game 2 below, complete with a breakdown of how he's betting on Vegas.

Canadiens vs. Golden Knights Odds

Canadiens Odds +210
Golden Knights Odds -250
Over/Under 5.5
Time 9 p.m. ET
Odds as of Tuesday night and via DraftKings.

The Montreal Canadiens surprised the hockey world with a remarkable run through the North Division, winning seven straight games in a comeback victory over Toronto and swift sweep of Winnipeg.

But the big question remains: Did the Canadiens get hot at the right time? Or did the lack of competition in the weak all-Canadian division make it possible?

Game 1 appeared to suggest the latter, however, we all remember Colorado dominating Vegas in Game 1 last round before the Knights came back and flipped the script on the Avalanche. Does Montreal have a chance to flip the script on Vegas?

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Montreal Canadiens

People forget that after the first 10 games of the season, Montreal was 7-1-2 and sitting in first place in the North Division. After the first month, the Canadiens were 9-4-2 and just three points behind the Maple Leafs. Then injuries happened, Claude Julien was fired, and the wheels fell off — but they managed to hang onto fourth place in a poor division.

When you look at how Montreal’s roster in constructed, it makes sense that the Canadiens would over-perform in the postseason. They also seem built for playoff hockey. They have tough physical forwards like Tyler Toffoli, Josh Anderson, Philip Danault, Corey Perry and Brendan Gallagher. They have an elite defensive pairing with Shea Weber and Ben Chairot. And, most importantly, they have a goaltender capable of stealing games in Carey Price.

Price struggled at times, posting a 12-7-5 record with a .901 save percentage, 2.64 goals against average and -1.5 GSAx during the regular season. However, he has looked more like a former Vezina winner in the playoffs, going 8-4 with a .929 save percentage and 2.15 goals against average with 7.2 GSAx.

montreal canadiens vs toronto maple leafs-nhl-game-1-odds-bets-picks-may-20
Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Carey Price

Montreal’s top scoring line of Toffoli, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield has been great with a 61.6 xGoals% this postseason. The trio skated to a dominant 82.7 xG% in Game 1 against Vegas, and Toffoli and Suzuki lead the team with 11 and eight points in 12 playoff games.

The Habs could get a huge boost with the potential return of defenseman Jeff Petry after missing the last two games. He’s probably Montreal’s best all-around player and finished seventh among all defenseman in points and third in goals this season.

Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.

Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.

xG numbers and advanced stats cited from Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and Natural Stat Trick.

Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights have now won five straight games, after taking four games in a row to eliminate the President’s Cup winning Colorado Avalanche.

After finishing with the best goal differential during the regular season at +67, the Knights have the best goal differential of any playoff team at +12.

As we’ve seen over the last two rounds, Vegas absolutely suffocates its opponents. The Golden Knights play incredibly smart defensively and physically wear down teams, leading the playoffs with 558 hits.

They alway seem to have their sticks in the perfect position to break up passes and get in front of the shooting lanes, leading the postseason with 265 shots blocked. Mark Stone is showing why he is a Selke Trophy finalist. And guys like Reilly Smith, William Karlsson and Chandler Stephenson don’t get enough credit for how great they are defensively.

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On the back end, Alex Pietrangelo looks like his stick is twice as long as anybody else’s on the ice. He somehow always finds a way to break up passes or lift a forwards stick at the perfect time to prevent a scoring chance. He and Alec Martinez have combined for 94 shots blocked in this postseason.

The Knights’ line of Smith, Karlsson and Marchessault have played together for most of their time in Vegas and have thrived during the playoffs. This year has been no different as they’ve been on the ice for 12 goals for and just four goals against and are the Knights three leading scorers this postseason.

As good as Price has been for Montreal, Marc-Andre Fleury has been better for Vegas. A Vezina Trophy finalist this season and three-time Stanley Cup Champion, “The Flower” is looking to some more trophies to his collection. Fleury is 9-4 this postseason with a .927 save percentage and 1.84 goals against average. He has 8.1 GSAx this playoffs and was tremendous in Game 1.

Betting Analysis & Pick

There are two ways to look at Game 1:

  1. You can look at Montreal’s higher expected goals (4.4 to 3.39) as an indication that the Canadiens can hang with the Golden Knights — if not outplay them.
  2. Or you can look at the fact that, despite Montreal managing to outplay Vegas, the Canadiens still lost Game 1, 4-1, and might be in big trouble.

I am going to go with the Canadiens being in big trouble.

Their recipe for success is strong physical defense and great goaltending. Well, the Golden Knights plays that same style, only much better — perhaps better than any other team in the league. Fleury drastically outplayed Price in Game 1, posting a remarkable 3.4 GSAx compared to -1.44 GSAx for Price.

vegas golden knights vs colorado avalanche-nhl-odds-bets-picks-june-2
Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Marc-Andre Fleury.

Despite Montreal having a higher expected goals in all situations, Vegas outplayed Montreal at 5-on-5 with a 2.0 to 1.75 advantage.

We’ve seen the difference the home crowds returning have made in this playoffs, but this series has a larger home-ice advantage than any we will see all year. You have T-Mobile Arena, which can make an argument as the loudest and craziest arena in the NHL right now, and a Canadian team that has not played in front of fans all season.

Since the Vegas crowd returned to 100% capacity, the Golden Knights have not lost a game in the desert. They’ve won five straight at home and are 6-2 overall in Sin City this postseason.

Montreal had a great run through the Canadian division to get to this point, but Vegas is a buzz saw right now, and I don’t see the Golden Knights losing at home.

A moneyline around -250 is pretty much unplayable in the NHL, but I’m comfortable laying -150 at DraftKings for Vegas to win in regulation on the 60-minute line.

Pick: Golden Knights 60-Minute Line up to -160

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