NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Panthers vs. Senators (March 26)
Elsa/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Norris #9 of the Ottawa Senators.
- The Florida Panthers and Ottowa Senators meet in a matchup of teams going in opposite directions.
- The Senators are +200 dogs ahead of this matchup, but recent trends point to this being a potential value spot.
- Grant White breaks down the matchup below.
Panthers vs. Senators Odds
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The Ottawa Senators never really had a chance at a playoff berth, but they can still disrupt the standings as teams race towards the postseason.
One of those teams is the Atlantic Division-leading Florida Panthers, who have used an 8-1-1 run to put some distance between themselves and the other division contenders. However, the Panthers may be reaching a tipping point in their metrics; supporting the Senators are worth backing as steep underdogs.
Let's dig into the matchup to see where we can find value.
The Panthers have turned to Spencer Knight between the pipes, starting the youngster in five straight games. They've been somewhat successful over that stretch, going 3-1-1; however, Knight's recent performances have put him above his career norms.
The 20-year-old has posted a 92.3% save percentage over his past five starts, above his career average of 90.8%; his performances are analogous to the Panthers, implying they are regression candidates over their coming games.
Florida's unsustainable balance is reflected in their PDO, which is 1.022 over their 10-game sample. The team has elevated their shooting and save percentages above season averages over that span and will eventually start to work their way back down towards normal ranges.
That regression is also reflected in their actual goals-for percentage, which has risen to 64.5% over the past 10 games, dwarfing their season-long expected rating of 56.5%.
It's also worth noting that this will be the Panthers' sixth-straight road game and the first night of a back-to-back. On deck is a matchup with the team right below them in the Atlantic Division standings, the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Panthers could be looking right past the Senators, in anticipation of tomorrow night's crucial matchup.
As bad as the Sens have been this season, they've amped up their competitiveness over their recent sample. They haven't translated that scrappiness to positive outcomes yet, but a couple of factors suggest that they are due for a breakout performance.
First, some of Ottawa's best efforts this season have come over their current schedule. The Sens have posted expected goals-for ratings above 60.0% in four of their past six outings. Over that span, they've established an expected goals-for percentage of 58.9% at five-on-five, forcing opponents to try and keep pace with their offense.
The Senators have attempted at least 27 scoring chances in four of six games and nine or more quality opportunities in five of six. We're waiting for that strong production to significantly impact output over their coming games.
Second, the Senators' PDO has taken a hit over their sample despite the dominant performances. Over that span, the Sens have posted a cumulative 0.924 rating at five-on-five, below their season-long average of 0.991.
We're highlighting the Sens as progression candidates, as their outcomes should start to reflect their outstanding performances.
Panthers vs. Senators Pick
These teams are positioned on opposite ends of the progression/regression spectrum.
The Panthers are contending with an impending letdown phase after an extended run overachieving relative to their season-long metrics. Conversely, we've seen improved efforts from the Sens over their previous six games that have yet to translate to more points in the standings.
It all comes crashing together tonight, and we're using this spot to back the underdog home team. At the time of writing, FanDuel has the best line at +220.
Pick: Senators +220