Senators vs. Jets Odds & Picks: Back Ottawa To Triumph As Underdog (Jan. 23)
Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray.
Ottawa Senators vs. Winnipeg Jets Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
In this interesting 2021 NHL regular season, teams will play each other often in a short timespan. The Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators will face off Saturday for the third time in five days at Bell MTS Place.
The first two games of three-game series went in two different directions, but had the same result. On Tuesday, Ottawa dominated the Winnipeg, but the visiting side erased a two-goal deficit before winning the game in overtime. Two days later, the Jets were the much better team and cruised to a 4-1 win.
Will Winnipeg complete the series sweep in this latest showdown?
The Senators are considered to be the worst team in the all-Canadian North Division by many hockey pundits. While it’s hard to argue the point, I think it’s fair to acknowledge that there’s different levels of bad.
Based on what we’ve seen from the Senators so far, they aren’t an embarrassment that has no chance of winning many games. They might finish in last place, but if you have an off-night or overlook them, they will beat you.
Ottawa has played two games each against the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Winnipeg Jets. In two of the games, the Senators were the much better team and had more than 60 percent of the expected goals. In the other two tilts, Ottawa struggled to generate much and chased most of the play.
This is a trend we can expect to continue from a young team filled with young players getting settled into the league. There’s enough talent on this team to be dangerous against any opponent.
Ottawa made some shrewd acquisitions over the off-season. The team traded for goaltender Matt Murray from the Pittsburgh Penguins in order to stabilize the most important position on the ice after parting ways with Craig Anderson.
In addition to Murray, the Senators added some talent and depth up front. The team signed Evgeni Dadonov, as well as Alex Galchenyuk and Derek Stepan to bolster their depth.
Rookies Josh Norris and Tim Stuetzle are players who come into the league with a lot of hype. Stuetzle was the third overall pick in the most recent draft, while Norris scored more than 30 goals in the minor leagues last season.
Norris and Stuetzle should complement an already young core, including Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson.
Which version of the Jets will we see in this game? So far through four games, we’ve seen an even split between the good and bad versions.
Winnipeg has played two games where its expected goals rate was more than 60 percent. In contrast, the Jets also played two games where their expected goals rate was under 35 percent. If Winnipeg had a better track record, it’d be easy to write the variance off as early season inconsistency, but that’s not the case.
Last season, the Jets were the worst team in the league when it came to expected goals. They were a bottom-three team in both expected goals scored and expected goals against. It took a Vezina-winning season from goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to keep them in the playoff race.
When you look at the Jets roster, nothing about it screams worst in the league. The aforementioned Hellebuyck is one of the best goalies in the game. The team also possesses some dynamic fire power up front with Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers.
Unfortunately, the Jets will be without Patrik Laine in this contest due to injury.
In Tuesday’s game against Ottawa, Winnipeg pulled a rabbit out of its hat. The Jets erased a two-goal deficit before winning in overtime, despite finishing with just 33% of the xGs and getting doubled up in High Danger Chances.
On Thursday, Winnipeg played a completely different game and made Ottawa look like the inferior team. The Jets cruised to a 4-1 win, which matches up with their 61% xG rate in that game.
That said, the variance makes the Jets an extremely hard handicap.
Senators vs. Jets Best Bet
With Winnipeg already beating Ottawa twice this week, it’s no surprise to see them as a substantial favorite. However, in my opinion, the market has overreacted to the two games we have seen between these two teams.
In Tuesday’s game, the Jets closed as consensus -115 favorites. Then on Thursday, Winnipeg had the edge and was -125 across the board. Now, the Jets are going off as sizable -150 favorites.
It is worthy of noting the Jets will be the home team in this game after being the road team in the prior two. This does have a negligible impact, but not enough to move the line 25-35 points. There are no fans in the stands and these teams are traveling from the same place for this game.
It’s hard to defeat a team three times in a row in a sport like hockey. Winnipeg also got vastly outplayed in the first game of the series, but it was covered up by the result.
The jury is still out on the Jets in my world. They had a rough season last year according to the metrics, and they’ve been dominated twice in the first week of the season.
Combine my trepidation about Winnipeg with the wild swing in lines from earlier in the week, and I am going to back Ottawa in this spot.
Pick: Senators (+130 or better)