NHL Saturday Betting Guide: The Senators Are Bad But Provide Some Value on Saturday
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Chris Wideman
Betting odds: Los Angeles Kings at Ottawa Senators
- Kings moneyline: -145
- Senators moneyline: +125
- Over/Under: 6 (-110/-110)
- Puck drop: 2 p.m. ET
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In an ideal world, we’d never have to bet on a team such as the Ottawa Senators. But here we are. The good news is that Senators are playing a team that is not built to skate circles around anyone.
The Los Angeles Kings are currently giving up an average 57.7 shot attempts per 60 minutes (5v5, adjusted for score). It’s a small sample size, but that’s not a recipe for success. In fact, the Kings’ Corsi Rating (42%) is actually worse than that of the Senators (45.3%), so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ottawa drive play.
Additionally, Los Angeles has the second-highest PDO (shooting percentage + save percentage at 5v5) in the NHL, which suggests the Kings are benefiting from some puck luck early in the season.
Even more encouraging for this spot is that the Sens have — somewhat surprisingly — created an average of 2.71 expected goals for per 60 minutes this season (xGF/60). Once again, this season is brand new, so numbers will even out, but that’s still an encouraging sign for a poor team.
Both teams are banged up, but the Kings will be without first-line winger Dustin Brown and, more importantly, goaltender Jonathan Quick.
These odds imply that the Senators have a 44.5% chance of winning against the Kings at home. Los Angeles is the more likely team to win, but Ottawa’s chances to come away with a win are closer to 47% with Quick on the pine.
Bet: Ottawa Senators +125
Betting odds: Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins
- Red Wings moneyline: +222
- Bruins moneyline: -270
- Over/Under: 6 (-105/-115)
- Puck drop: 3 p.m. ET
I think the Boston Bruins are one of the best teams in the NHL, but this number is too high.
The Red Wings are one of three NHL teams without a win and that is naturally creating a little bit of value on the visitors. They are a little unlucky not to have recorded a win yet, as their underlying metrics are bang on average. They are a 50% Corsi team and they’ve created as many expected goals for as they’ve allowed.
I don’t expect the Red Wings to be near 50% against the Bruins, but if they can get a bounce or two, who knows.
On Monday the Bruins closed as -280 (73.7%) favorites against the Senators at home. The Red Wings — even if they aren’t a good team — are better than Ottawa and I’m surprised this number isn’t closer to Bruins -250.
It’s not a bet you win very often, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad wager.
The Bet: Red Wings +222
Betting odds: Carolina Hurricanes at Minnesota Wild
- Hurricanes moneyline: +137
- Wild moneyline: -157
- Over/Under: 6 (-105/-115)
- Puck drop: 6 p.m. ET
The Hurricanes are off to a roaring start and now travel to Minnesota as +137 (42.2%) underdogs.
Carolina’s possession numbers are very strong to start the season, and that shouldn’t be surprising as this team has been an analytics darling for the past three seasons. The Hurricanes rank second in the league with a 60.8 Corsi For % and create the second-most High-Danger Scoring Chances per 60 minutes in the league.
The Wild’s biggest strength last season was limiting scoring chances, but Minnesota is well below 50% Corsi, so the Hurricanes should see a lot of the puck and create enough scoring chances to give us a good chance.
The Hurricanes’ goaltending situation isn’t great, but I’ll take the better team at +137 and hope that whoever Rod Brind’Amour picks to play in goal keeps us above water.
The Bet: Carolina Hurricanes +137
Betting odds: Pittsburgh Penguins at Montreal Canadiens
- Penguins moneyline: -167
- Canadiens moneyline: +146
- Over/Under: 6 (-115/-105)
- Puck drop: 7 p.m. ET
The Penguins are in a peculiar spot. They’ve made a habit out of slow starts the past few seasons and haven’t looked all that strong to start 2018-19. They also lost their starting goaltender, Matt Murray, to a concussion.
Murray didn’t look great last season and started this season poorly, but it’s hard to call Tristan Jarry or Casey DeSmith reliable.
In three games so far this season, the Canadiens have exceeded expectations. Once again, it’s a small sample size, but the Habs have owned 56.2% of the shot share and rank in the top 10 in High-Danger Scoring Chances per 60 minutes at 5v5.
The Penguins, even without Murray and with their struggles on defense, still are right to be favored, but this number is too high.
(Editor’s note: Montreal has confirmed Antti Niemi will be in goal. I’d bet the Canadiens at anything above +145.)
The Bet: Montreal Canadiens +146