Canadiens vs. Oilers NHL Odds & Picks: Back Edmonton to Bounce Back Offensively

Canadiens vs. Oilers NHL Odds & Picks: Back Edmonton to Bounce Back Offensively article feature image
Credit:

Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid.

  • (1) After losing on Saturday, the Oilers take on the Canadiens at home again.
  • Connor McDavid & Co. will need to be more efficient in front of goal in this one, something our Matt Russell thinks will happen.
  • Russell lays out why he sees value in Edmonton to avenge its loss over the weekend.

Canadiens vs. Oilers Odds

Canadiens Odds -115 [BET NOW]
Oilers Odds +100 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 6.5 [BET NOW]
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds as of Sunday at 8:15 p.m. ET 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.

My hockey metrics NHL handicapping friends are going to be mad at me. Well, if they existed they would be.

Not  many people do it like we do, where it’s all about the numbers, baby. So while I have friends (or at least I did before the pandemic), they probably don’t feel the same way about the Montreal Canadiens as my hypothetical friends in the NHL analytics community do. They love the Habs. We love the Habs.

We almost may have to fade the Habs.

The Canadiens are the darling of the NHL analytics community, a darkhorse bet to win the Stanley Cup and a medium-sized popular choice to win their division. I’m right there with the community on all this from a big-picture standpoint, but that doesn’t mean that we can ignore the first two games of their season just because the scoreboard has been relatively impressive.

That impressive scoreboard on Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers and preseason expectations might create a little value for bettors on Monday night.

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Montreal Canadiens

We were all patting ourselves on the back on the NHL’s Opening Night when Montreal took a 3-1 lead over the wildly overrated Toronto Maple Leafs, as we held tickets on the Habs as +125 underdogs. The lead evaporated on special teams and when the Leafs won the game in overtime, we all agreed that we deserved better based on the price we paid for Montreal relative to the favored Leafs.

That said, if all things were equal from a pricing standpoint … well, all things would be equal. The Leafs and Habs played pretty close to a draw from a standpoint 5-on-5. The Habs were impressive in this evenly played game. The Leafs were not.

On Saturday, the Canadiens hopped out to an early lead in Edmonton with a power-play goal, then a rough seven minutes for the Oilers allowed Montreal to break the game open with a 4-0 lead. There were no worries about going to overtime in that one.

However, a closer look into the metrics shows that Edmonton had an Expected Goals For 5-on-5 total of 1.96, which is a perfectly adequate number especially since they held Montreal to 1.61. Not exactly numbers that would lead you to think that the Habs would win 5-1.

The Habs again were considered impressive. The Oilers were not.


Edmonton Oilers

If we can expect the Oilers to create the way they always do, all they’ll need to turn the tables on Montreal is some better finishing.

That was the story in their first pair of games, against Vancouver to start the season. They created well in the first game but couldn’t find the net. One night later, they modestly increased their High-Danger Chances from 12 to 13 and Connor McDavid & Co. converted at a much higher rate. Sure enough, they won the back half of the back-to-back, finding the net five times in the process.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re bound for a repeat scenario in this two-game set with Montreal, but with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, we wouldn’t be surprised if they improved on their 0 for 8 conversion rate from Saturday night. It would be hard not to.

The Habs are notoriously poor converters in these situations and when you factor that the Oilers’ power play is one of the few that could be considered predictive, there’s a good chance we see Edmonton’s big guns find the back of the net a few times on Monday night.

Canadiens-Oilers Pick

One last thing to consider, as we did in the Canucks-Flames game preview, is the impact of the second game in a row against a team.

In this strange season, teams facing off twice in a row has us wondering if there’s going to be an extra layer to handicapping the rematch. So far this season, there have been 11 completed rematches between the teams, and by my quantitative analysis, the losing team has increased its win probability by 13% or better in the second game seven times (an average increase of 28%). Three were negligible, and the one team who played worse the second game (the Detroit Red Wings) won.

It’s a small sample size but if you just ignore these kinds of trends, by the time you can use them it’s often too late. 

So even if we take a conservative approach and build in a minimum of 10% win probability for the Oilers as the loser of the first game, Edmonton comes out to a -120 favorite in my model. Considering they opened at -105 on Sunday night, we may see them move to plus-money as we near puck drop on Monday night thanks to the excitement over the Habs from the betting community, at which time the Oilers become a value bet.

The Pick: Oilers +100 or better

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