Eric Hartline, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Anthony Stolarz
Betting odds: New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens
- Rangers moneyline: +155
- Canadiens moneyline: -175
- Over/Under: 5.5 (-125/+105)
- Puck drop: 7 p.m. ET
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Saturday is a packed sports day and while most of the betting world will be focused on college football and the heavyweight title fight, there is some value on the NHL board — starting with the Rangers at Canadiens on Hockey Night in Canada.
The Rangers have fallen off a cliff in the past 10 days and are coming off a 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. They are also missing key forwards Mats Zuccarello, Pavel Buchnevich and Vladislav Namestnikov and will play No. 2 goalie Alexandar Georgiev against the Habs in front of a national TV audience on HNIC. All of this is creating some line value on the underdog.
I won’t go too deep into the stats because it’s a pretty simple picture. The Canadiens are right in the thick of the Wild Card race and their underlying numbers are strong. The Rangers are actually a point ahead of the Habs in the playoff race, but their predictive metrics paint a much bleaker picture.
The one thing the Rangers do well, though, is generate high-danger chances. The Canadiens’ goalies have struggled this season (.907 5v5 save percentage), so New York’s ability to create good scoring chances gives them a fighting chance.
So why would the Rangers have value when they are the worse team, dealing with injuries and playing their backup on the road? Simply put, the number is just too high.
I don’t expect the Blueshirts to win, but this number suggests the Canadiens win ~59% of the time on neutral ice when you remove the vigorish. They definitely would win more often than they’d lose, but they are being overrated a bit here and I think the Rangers are worth a play at +150 or above.
The Bet: New York Rangers +150
Betting odds: Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins
- Flyers moneyline: +155
- Penguins moneyline: -175
- Over/Under: 6.5 (-115/-105)
- Puck drop: 7 p.m. ET
This won’t be a fun bet to make.
The Philadelphia Flyers are in turmoil. They just fired their general manager, assistant general manager and assistant coach this week. Both of their goalies are hurt and they are in last place in the Eastern Conference.
So let’s bet on them against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins, shall we?
Even though Philadelphia is in last in the Eastern Conference and are 1-5-1 in its last seven games, its expected goal numbers have been decent recently and over the course of the season those numbers aren’t all that different from Pittsburgh’s.
Anthony Stolarz will be playing in goal for Philadelphia in this game and he’s not to be trusted, but the Flyers do a great job of limiting high-danger scoring chances — they allow the fifth-fewest in the NHL per 60 minutes at 5v5 –so h
Casey DeSmith will likely be in goal for the Penguins and, while he’s been servicable, the Penguins have made life easy on the 27-year-old this season. His .925 5v5 save percentage looks fine on paper, but his expected save percentage is .926, so he’s actually underperformed a smidge.
There’s a lot going against the Flyers in this one, but they are the value side in this matchup. Hold your nose and hope Stolarz stands on his head.
The Bet: Flyers +155