Senators vs. Canadiens Odds & Picks: How to Bet Montreal as Heavy Favorites

Senators vs. Canadiens Odds & Picks: How to Bet Montreal as Heavy Favorites article feature image
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David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Shea Weber.

  • The NHL's best offensive team takes on the league's worst defensive team when the Montreal Canadiens face the Ottawa Senators.
  • Will Thursday's matchup be as one-sided as the oddsmakers project?
  • Pete Truszkowski breaks it down and shares his betting pick below.

Senators vs. Canadiens Odds

Senators Odds +245
Canadiens Odds -295
Over/Under 6.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV NHL.tv
Odds as of Wednesday night and via DraftKings.

The NHL’s best offensive team will face off against the league’s worst defensive team on Thursday night when the Montreal Canadiens host the Ottawa Senators. Montreal enters the game on top of the North Division while Ottawa is occupying the basement. 

Oddsmakers are expecting an extremely one-sided game based on the disparity between the two teams. With Montreal such huge favorites, it’d be smart to look for another way to bet this game.

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Ottawa Senators

Ottawa won their season opener. They haven’t won since. 

Coming into the season, there was hope that Ottawa was an improved team. Nobody expected them to make any real noise in the North Division, but there was some hope they could be competitive. 

They added players like Evgenii Dadonov, Derek Stepan and Nikita Zaitsev to lengthen their lineup. There was also hope rookies Josh Norris and Tim Stutzle could add some high-end talent to their lineup. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked, as the Senators hold a 1-8-1 record through 10 games. 

Ottawa has not played as poorly as its horrid record would indicate. Don’t get me wrong, the Senators are a bad team. However, their expected goal rate is nearly 49%, which puts them not far below league average. On average, they’re getting more high-danger chances per game than they’re conceding. 

Where it all falls apart for the Senators is in the defensive zone — especially in between the pipes.

Ottawa allows the most goals per game in the league, conceding 48 goals in its first 10 games. Their expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 is the third-worst in the league. Their 4.32 goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 is almost a full goal worse than the San Jose Sharks, the second-worst team. 

Goaltending has been a trainwreck for Ottawa. Both Matt Murray and Marcus Hogberg have goals against averages over 4.50 and save percentages under .850. Combined, they have a -15.8 goals saved above expectation through 10 games. Ottawa has given up at least four goals in eight straight games.

Montreal Canadiens

Coming into the season, the Montreal Canadiens were a popular sleeper team to compete in the North Division. However, I don’t think even their biggest supporters could have expected a start like this. 

The Canadiens have picked up points in nine of their first 10 games. Their 7-1-2 record has them in first place in the division. Things have gone better than anyone realistically expected to begin the season. 

Montreal is currently a top-five team in all major metrics: expected goals, shot attempts, high danger chances and scoring chances. While Montreal has been a very good possession team for a few seasons now, this year is different. The Canadiens are now taking advantage of their zone time and scoring chances. 

The Habs currently lead the league in scoring, finding the net 4.40 times per game on average. While this rate is unsustainable, they are a top-10 team in terms of expected goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. 

The Canadiens’ two big acquisitions in the offseason were Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson. They hoped these two could increase their offensive output, and they’ve done just that. The two have combined for 15 goals in the team’s first 10 games. 

Montreal also hoped that youngsters Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki could take a step forward. Those two have also delivered. Suzuki is performing at over a point-per game pace while Kotkaniemi has contributed seven points. 

It’s a balanced attack for Montreal, as they have 10 players averaging better than half a point per game. Defenseman Jeff Petry leads all defensemen in goals, with five. If you slow down one player or line, the Habs have others who can burn you. 

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Senators vs. Canadiens Best Bet

Montreal is clearly the superior team here and the -295 line is proof of that. It goes without saying that betting lines that large in hockey is not something you should be doing. The sport is way too low-scoring and random to justify laying that kind of juice. 

The Montreal team total is also a non-starter. Betting Montreal to score over 3.5 goals would cost you -180 at DraftKings. I have never seen that type of juice on a team total.

There’s probably value in betting on Ottawa in this spot, so if you’re the type who likes pain and is willing to deal with embarrassment, that’s not a bad route to take. Personally, I don’t like the idea of putting my money on the hope that Senators’ goalies have figured out how to make saves. 

My favorite bet is on the Habs to cover the puck-line. I have a hard time seeing the Senators being able to keep Montreal off the board with how both teams are performing. Unfortunately, you won’t get the plus-money you usually get when betting on a team to cover the puck-line. 

However, this is a much more palatable way to bet on the superior team.

Pick: Montreal Canadiens -1.5 (-113, bet up to -120)

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