NHL Odds & Picks for Canucks vs. Senators: Is Vancouver a Deserving Road Favorite? (Wednesday, April 28)

NHL Odds & Picks for Canucks vs. Senators: Is Vancouver a Deserving Road Favorite? (Wednesday, April 28) article feature image

Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Hogberg, Jake Virtanen

  • The Ottawa Senators have taken two of the last three games against the Vancouver Canucks.
  • The four-game series between the two North Division foes wraps up on Wednesday in Ottawa.
  • Is the wrong team favored in this game?

Canucks vs. Senators Odds

Canucks Odds-112
Senators Odds-104
Over/Under6 (+102 / -122)
TimeWednesday, 5:30 p.m. ET
Odds updated Wednesday afternoon and via DraftKings.

We might as well just make it four for four. We’re playing with house money anyway. The Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators meet for the fourth straight time on Wednesday night, and in this space the previous three games, I’ve made the case for the Senators as the bet to make. The Sens have won as +130 and +100 underdogs, while losing in-between, so we’re up 1.3 units on the whole operation.

To come up with some fresh angle on the game would be asking a lot wouldn’t it? Plus, we’re free rolling anyway, so let’s take some of our favorite highlights of the previous three previews to re-build our case for Ottawa.

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Vancouver Canucks

From The Preview of the First Game:

“While the Canucks took four points from Toronto to revive their season more than just returning to Rogers Arena ice ever could, they did so with some rough underlying metrics. Vancouver won the first game on Sunday in overtime, on the back of a 37-save performance by Braden Holtby, as they only mustered five even-strength High-Danger Chances on offence to the Leafs' barrage of 14. 

Point: The Canucks are overrated from recent success.

From The Preview of the Second Game:

“It was no surprise that the perceived drop in competition with the Senators coming to town didn’t pan out the way Canucks fans may have hoped. As currently constructed without their star Elias Petterson, Vancouver’s talent isn’t any better than Ottawa’s. Thatcher Demko returned against Ottawa (last Thursday)but it would have been a lot to ask of him to come in and play to the high level that Braden Holtby had in the two wins against the Leafs.”

Point: The Canucks need high-level goaltending in order to win games, and without Demko or Holtby playing above his head, they shouldn’t be trusted.

From The Preview of the Third Game:

“The Vancouver Canucks accumulated a grand total of 1 high-danger chance at even-strength on Saturday night. One. The Canucks rate an eyelash shy of 9% below-average at even-strength in the North Division in my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model, as heard on "THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast." They have earned just 46.4% of the 5-on-5 xG this season, and from the time Petterson left the lineup 16 games ago their XG share is even worse at 44%. “

Point: Vancouver’s season-long metrics are bad, their analytics since missing Petterson are worse, and Saturday’s win was lucky.

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 cited from Evolving Hockey.

Ottawa Senators

From The Preview of the First Game:

“In the Senators' visit to Vancouver in the season’s first few weeks, they did not get any semblance of professional goaltending, leading to the Canucks' ability to convert 11 of their 35 even-strength High-Danger Chances in sweeping all three games. A HDC conversion rate of almost two-thirds is better than double the league average of 14%.  In their return matchups in Ottawa in March, the Senators tempered the Canucks' conversion rate to 17.6% in the two games, and both games were tied through regulation. While the Canucks won both coin tosses, one in OT and one in the shootout, the Senators were more than capable of winning both as they earned 4.92 Expected Goals at even-strength to just 3.64 for the Canucks.”

Point: Not fair to judge the Senators by their 0-5 record against Vancouver earlier this season. 

From The Preview of the Second Game:

“While neither team is particularly good, or even league-average, the Senators have created 48.1% of the even-strength High-Danger Chances in their games this season. Meanwhile the Canucks have garnered just 46.6% of the HDC in their games. After starting the season 2-13 on the moneyline, the Senators are 15-17 since, and have improved their even-strength rating in my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model (as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast) by playing at just 2% below-average 5-on-5.“

Point: The Sens are playing better than we think at this point in the season.

From The Preview of the Third Game:

Ottawa certainly had its own challenges with the last line of defense. It started in warmups when nominal starter, Anton Forsberg, was scratched for the crease with an injury. Matt Murray, who expected a night with the best seat in the house was called upon to start. Murray has struggled this season when ill-prepared for a start, whether on short rest or compromised physically. He was able to play well enough but in the second period, he was forced to leave with his own apparent leg injury.  On came Marcus Hogberg who throughout this season hasn’t shown much ability to play at this level. The only thing that might steer the Sens away from being a favorite or at least pick’em in Monday’s game (as well as making them a sure-fire bet) is that the status of their two goaltenders that are all of a sudden questionable.”

Point: You have to be careful of the Senators goaltending after Matt Murray.

Additional Point: The only new development from Monday’s win was that Hogberg was able to stop 25 of 26 shots, after making 18 saves in relief on Saturday night. 

Betting Analysis & Pick

From The Preview of the Third Game:

“I thought Monday might finally be the day. It still might happen, so get your confetti and noisemakers ready just in case.The Ottawa Senators are so close to being favored for the first time this season that they can taste it, like a BeaverTail on the Rideau Canal.“

Point: The Senators weren’t favorites for the first time this season on Monday, and somehow we’re still not at a point where they are at the very least a -110 pick’em in this game. My model still thinks the Senators should be favored in this game, and we’ll take our chances yet again with the at a plus-price on Wednesday. 

Pick: SENATORS (+100 or better)

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