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Jets vs. Senators Odds & Picks: Can Hellebuyck Save Winnipeg on Thursday? (Jan. 21)

Jets vs. Senators Odds & Picks: Can Hellebuyck Save Winnipeg on Thursday? (Jan. 21) article feature image

Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor Hellebuyck.

  • It takes a lot to suffer a bad beat on a side in the NHL, but we saw just that occur during Tuesday night's Jets-Senators game.
  • What does Thursday's rematch between these two teams have in store?
  • Matt Russell previews Winnipeg vs. Ottawa and shares his betting pick below.

Jets vs. Senators Odds

Jets Odds -1.5
Senators Odds +1.5
Moneyline -125 / +108
Over/Under 6
Time 7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Wednesday night and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Betting on hockey will make you pull your hair out.

If I had hair to pull, I would have been cranking on it in the late stages of the Jets-Senators game on Tuesday night. College basketball bad beats will kick you in the unmentionables — just ask those on Baylor on Monday — but hockey bad beats hit different. 

The NHL is so parity-laden that the vast majority of bad beats come from betting on totals. Given that a common point of strategy is to take the goaltender out of your net and put him on the bench, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to even the most novice hockey bettor that an over can hit out of nowhere.

It takes a lot to suffer a bad beat on a side, but we saw that occur just outside of Canada’s capital on Tuesday night. The Jets won the game in overtime, and the Senators managed a point towards the standings. This is consolation for their hard work on the ice, but doesn’t do us bettors any good whatsoever for a game well-handicapped.

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Winnipeg Jets

The game wasn’t a particularly difficult handicap going in. The Jets were up against it from a scheduling standpoint, as the first team in the league to have to play a back-to-back against a team that didn’t play the night before, and on the road, no less.

Given the situation, they went with their backup, Laurent Brossoit (-7.70 GSAA last season, per Hockey Reference) who is a considerable downgrade from starter and Vezina Trophy winner, Connor Hellebuyck (22.40 GSAA last season). Just more reason to like the Senators.

Sure enough, the Jets played nearly as badly as they did in Toronto the night before. On Monday, they mustered just a 28.37% share of the Expected Goals (XG%) against the Leafs. Tuesday wasn’t much better, with a mere 33.3 XG%, as the Jets’ offence scuffled to sub-1.00 Expected Goals For for the second straight night.

If the 3-1 loss to Toronto was flattering, the win over Ottawa (thanks to a tying goal with their goalie pulled, and an OT winner) was cosmetic surgery.

The main issue for the Jets, who will likely see Hellebuyck return to the crease for the rematch on Thursday, isn’t in net. It’s preventing chances on whoever is. While you could blame the inability of the offence to create scoring chances on the absence of star sniper Patrik Laine, even if he returns on Thursday, that won’t help a defense that’s given up 10 High-Danger Chances (HDC) per game in his absence.

Ottawa Senators

The Senators have created nine, nine and 10 HDCs in their three games this season, showing consistency early on and slowly improving their rating in the market. They haven’t been lucky either, converting at the league average of 14% on High-Danger Chances and a very average 20% on the power play. 

Has their rating improved enough? The test may come on Thursday. Early in the season, we’re trying to get a handle on what the implication of the second game of these two-game mini-series has on a team’s win probability.

For the first few nights, it seemed like the team who lost Game 1 was a good bet to win Game 2. Like most short-term trends, that has waned. In fact, it’s shifted to a point where, more frequently, the team that played poorly in the first game, improved in the second game regardless if they won the first game or not.

Simply put, there’s a possibility the Senators just missed their chance for a win, rather than have some sort of edge for a revenge victory in the back end of this matchup.

Jets-Senators Pick

So which one is it: Revenge or regression? Plus, how does it apply to the price we have to pay?

To answer the first question — like the original revenge hypothesis — there isn’t enough of a sample to say with any certainty. However, the market has reacted to the return of the Jets’ star netminder making Winnipeg a heavier favorite in the rematch.

While that makes sense from the goaltending improvement, it may not be taking enough consideration into just how poorly the Jets have played this week. Is it that simple to turn things around? After all, the Jets are somehow 2-1 despite my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model we use on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast having them as 18% below average at 5-on-5.

What’s the urgency to play a better game when you’re getting this lucky?

I have the Senators rated 14% above average because of three quality performances this season, as they’ve deserved better than their 1-2 record, and are quickly becoming a “bet on” team this season — one of the teams that will be underrated in the market consistently this season.

Combining a price that looks to be getting better the second time around for the Senators as they flirt with plus-money on the moneyline, and our skepticism about whether Hellebuyck can save the day on a routine basis again this season, I’m led back to where we were on Tuesday night.

I’ll take a second swing with the Senators, and hope to not have to find some hair to pull out when the horn blows to end the third period.

The Pick: Senators (+105 or better) 

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