NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Canadiens vs. Senators Wednesday Betting Preview (December 14)
Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Montembeault #35 of the Montreal Canadiens.
- Both the Canadiens and Senators enter Wednesday night's matchup riding a wave of momentum.
- In a game between two teams coming off wins, who has the edge?
- Carol Schram digs into the matchup and offers up a best bet below.
Canadiens vs. Senators Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Always a matchup with some emotion attached, the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators square off on Wednesday night for the first of four regular-season meetings.
Both teams are coming into the game on a high. On Monday, the Canadiens edged Calgary 2-1 on a shootout winner from Kirby Dach, while the Senators shut out the Anaheim Ducks to improve their record to 6-2-1 over the past nine games.
Let’s take a look at the odds and make a pick for this matchup.
It’s not news anymore: the Montreal Canadiens are a pretty competitive hockey team this season. Nearly one-third of the way through their season, they’re two games above .500 (14-12-2) overall and on the road (7-5-1).
However, the Canadiens puck possession numbers still aren’t strong at 45.68%. Beyond the very top of the lineup, there isn’t much scoring punch. The Montreal power play has slipped to a league-worst 14.4% efficiency rating thanks to a four-game drought.
In today’s high-scoring NHL, giving up 3.46 goals a game ranks the Canadiens 23rd overall, but their penalty kill is a solid 80.8% and they’ve gotten good minutes from both goaltenders. Jake Allen has allowed a total of six goals over Montreal’s past three games and now sits at 5.2 goals saved above expected. Meanwhile, Sam Montembeault has 2.2 goals saved above expected with a 5-2-2 record and a .908 save percentage.
Montembeault is the confirmed starter for Wednesday’s game.
The Canadiens’ success is coming despite a long list of names on the injured list. Some are long term, like Carey Price, Paul Byron and Jonathan Drouin. Others have popped up more recently.
On the back end, veterans David Savard and Mike Matheson are out of action. Up front, Brendan Gallagher was recently placed on injured reserve and Sean Monahan is out with a foot injury. Cole Caufield is traveling with the team and is expected to dress Wednesday night after he was knocked out of Monday’s game against the Flames with an upper-body issue.
Though they are still stuck at the bottom of the tough Atlantic Division, the Senators’ fortunes have been improving over the past two-and-a-half weeks.
Goalie Cam Talbot deserves a good deal of the credit. He played seven of Ottawa’s nine games during that stretch and put together 5-2-0 record with a .924 save percentage and 2.28 goals-against average.
Talbot is now at 5.2 goals saved above expected for the season — and backup Anton Forsberg is even higher (7.5), even though his GAA (3.24) is higher and his save percentage is lower (.908).
Controlling 52.69% of expected goals, the Senators are also a decent puck-possession team. At 3.07 goals scored per game, they’re just slightly below league average. But they’ve got a good power play, which has been clicking well of late, going 9-for-22 over the past five games.
The Senators are also dealing with a bunch of injuries. Tim Stutzle and Tyler Motte were both knocked out of action in the first period of Monday’s game against Anaheim and are uncertain for Wednesday. Also, defensemen Jacob Bernard-Docker and Artem Zub are on injured reserve, as is forward Mathieu Joseph.
Canadiens vs. Senators Pick
The Montreal/Ottawa rivalry carries a bit of a big brother/little brother feel. But that’s not how the oddsmakers are handicapping Wednesday’s game, where the Senators have been assigned nearly a 65% probability of victory through their -184 line.
With their strong recent play, Ottawa does have an edge on paper. But Stutzle’s uncertain status is a cause for concern, especially when it looks like Caufield will be able to suit up for Montreal.
At +152, there’s plenty of temptation to back the road dogs — who definitely have what it takes to pull an upset. Or, given both these teams’ solid situations in net and frequent struggles to score, a more conservative option could be to take the under of 6.5, at close to even money.
Nevertheless, the best bet in this setting is backing the road underdog.
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