Canadiens vs. Canucks Odds & Pick: Bet On Montreal’s Offense to Stay Hot (Saturday, Jan. 23)
Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Toffoli (No. 73) celebrates after scoring.
- The Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks meet for the third time in four days on Saturday night.
- Montreal has scored 13 goals in its last two games, while Vancouver is allowing nearly 5 goals per game on the young season. Can we expect these trends to continue?
- Pete Truszkowski previews this matchup and shares his betting pick below.
Canadiens vs. Canucks Odds
|Time||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday night and via DraftKings.|
The Montreal Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks will face off against each other for the third time in four days. Montreal has won the first two games of the series, scoring 13 goals in the process.
Will Montreal’s explosive offense continue in the third game of the mini-series?
The Canadiens were a trendy pick by many to make some noise prior to the start of the season. Their Stanley Cup odds were nearly cut in half after opening at 50-1. Up to this point they’ve rewarded bettors, going 3-0-2 in their first five games.
The love for Montreal comes from its underlying metrics last season. Despite finishing with the 12th-best record in the Eastern Conference, the Canadiens had the second-best expected goals rate in the league. They were top five in both expected goals for and expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5v5.
Montreal has continued that trend at the start of this season, currently placing in the top 10 in both expected goals for and expected goals against. The biggest difference is that Montreal is now getting results offensively.
Both Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson were brought in to add some goal-scoring ability to Montreal’s offense. Through the first five games of the season, they’ve combined for eight goals. General manager Marc Bergevin must feel like a genius.
Youngsters Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi were also key factors for the Canadiens this year, as Montreal needed them to take a step forward. Suzuki is averaging a point a game while Kotkaniemi has added a goal and two helpers.
With Montreal playing well and controlling play, it’s an extremely welcome sight to see the Canadiens’ offense finally getting rewarded by putting some crooked numbers on the scoreboard.
Vancouver will play its seventh game of the season on Saturday night and it will look to stop the bleeding in terms of goals against.
In each of the Canucks’ first six games, they’ve given up at least three goals. All together, they’ve given up 29 goals, meaning on average Vancouver is conceding almost five goals a game.
While nobody realistically expects teams to score five on Vancouver every night, their underlying metrics paint a dreary picture.
Vancouver is dead last so far in all five major categories defensively at even strength: goals against, shot attempts against, scoring chances against, high-danger chances against and expected goals against. This isn’t unexpected, as the Canucks were bottom five in most of these categories last season.
When your defense is leaking quality chances like the Canucks are, you’d better hope your goaltending can come up with some saves. The duo of Braden Holtby and Thatcher Demko has not done that this season.
The two goalies have combined for an .878 save percentage on the young season. Demko has a -4.36 goals saved above expectation through three starts, which is the third-worst mark in the league. Holtby has been a bit better, but his -1.22 mark is not good either.
Goaltender Jacob Markstrom did a lot to cover Vancouver’s defensive issues last season, but the Canucks could not come to terms on an extension with him. Demko is an unproven young player, while Holtby had the worst year of his career last season in Washington. It was a risky move, and to this point it hasn’t paid off.
Canadiens vs. Canucks Best Bet
I don’t think it’s a hot take to say that Montreal is the better team here. However, their price across the market reflects that reality pretty accurately. In a sport like hockey, it’s hard to beat the same team three times in a row.
I would need a better price to bet on the Canucks here. They are doing an awful job keeping the puck out of their net, and Montreal has been playing very well offensively to open the season.
With Montreal’s offense performing well and Vancouver’s defense and goaltending in shambles, my favorite method of attacking this game is through the Canadiens team total.
Montreal has scored at least four goals in four out of the five games they’ve played this season. On the flip side, Vancouver has given up four or more goals in four of their six games to this point.
Montreal is averaging over 10.5 high-danger chances per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 while Vancouver is allowing over 13.
With the team total set at 3.5 goals at even money, I prefer betting this way instead of laying heavy juice on the Canadiens moneyline. Hopefully Vancouver doesn’t figure out their defensive woes in this game.
The Pick: Montreal Canadiens Team Total Over 3.5 (+100)