Sunday NHL Odds, Picks, Prediction: Ottawa Senators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Betting Preview
Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Boone Jenner.
- Ottawa plays its second game in as many nights as it travels to play at Columbus.
- The Blue Jackets have won just four of their last 10 games, yet they are -155 favorites to top the Senators.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game below and gives his top pick.
Senators vs. Blue Jackets Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||-155|
|Time||6 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Ottawa will look to shake off a tough 3-2 overtime defeat as they head into Nationwide Arena to take on the Blue Jackets. Columbus has posted just a 4-6-0 record over its last 10, while allowing a lot of goals against.
However, many of those contests have come in games against considerably tougher competition than the Sens, so will we see Brad Larsen’s young group break through with a big win here?
Blue Jackets Defensive Play Causes Concern
Although Columbus fell for the eighth time in 12 contests last night, the overall feeling around this club moving forward this season remains positive, given the level of compete we have seen and strong showings from crucial young talents such as Cole Sillinger and Alex Texier in what is a pure rebuilding season.
With that said, the nature of young club’s defensive play has been wildly concerning for a relatively large sample size, with a second worst xGA/60 rate of 3.33 since the beginning of January, and third worst over a season-long sample.
That poor defensive play has led to a ton of goals against, allowing 4.2 goals against per game over their last 20 games.
Columbus has produced a surprisingly strong 14th-best goals for per game rate of 3.08, and has played in some higher-than-average contests with regards to scoring for some time now, with a combined average total of 7.23 over its last 16 games.
Cole Sillinger could return here from the COVID protocol list, having been in protocol for eight days. He would offer a boost up front for the Blue Jackets.
Elvis Merzlikins should draw the start for the Blue Jackets, and he has put together a strong season with a +3.0 goals saved above expected rating with a .910 save % throughout 24 games played.
In a surprising turn of event for the Senators, the team nearly stole a result it likely may not have deserved in Washington, behind another strong performance from goaltender Matt Murray.
The Senators allowed a high expected goals mark of 3.57, and the Capitals were able to eventually break through against a Senators defensive unit that I just can’t see faring too well moving forward this season.
The Senators hold the league’s third worst defense, allowing 3.65 goals against per game. It’s hard to see that mark trending upwards too much with the bodies on hand.
The young core of Drake Batherson, Tim Stuetzle, Brady Tkachuk and Josh Norris continue to look dangerous offensively, and I think we should see them able to generate some offense in Columbus, although I do not expect Ottawa to carry more of the run of play in this one.
We should see Anton Forsberg take the cage here, and he has been solid behind a team that has often been no fun to play behind, with a +1.1 goals saved above expected rating and a .907 save % throughout 15 games played.
Senators vs Blue Jackets Pick
Sometimes in handicapping you have to be willing to go back to the well looking towards a mindset that you believe is correct long term, even if it doesn’t initially pan out that way.
I am willing to go back to the well on the Sens “Over” after being wrong on that take on yesterday’s contest against Washington. I still believe that we should be seeing this one open at a total of 6.5, as opposed to 6, and that in turn have some value at -125.
Particularly facing a Columbus team that has seen the overs post an 11-3-2 record over its last 16 contests, this game should be set at 6.5, and even then I would play 6.5 at close to plus money.
Columbus has allowed 4.71 goals against per game over its last seven outings, and although that has come against some stiff competition, I still feel that this Senators offense is actually likely closer to league average than we have seen so far moving forward, and it can post a solid total here.
With that said it’s hard for me to see the Senators being able to hold Columbus to a modest offensive total. I think we have a greater than the 56 % chance needed to have value on this current line, and I love getting that extra half-goal, as I think we should get, at worst, a push a lot of the time here.
I lean towards Columbus taking this one here, but at -155 I feel the line seems just about fair, and I would rather take the over 6.
Pick: Over 6 (-125) | Play 6 to -150