Senators vs. Flyers NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction (Dec. 18)

Senators vs. Flyers NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction (Dec. 18) article feature image
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André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Ottawa Senators goaltender Anton Forsberg.

Senators vs. Flyers Odds

Senators Odds +135
Flyers Odds -155
Over/Under 6
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Ottawa Senators will head to the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday looking to continue a very strong stretch of play. They’ve put together a 5-2-0 record against some mainly elite competition to get their once promising season moving in the right direction.

Philadelphia has also stabilized of late with a 3-0-1 stretch following an 11-game losing slump and will go as considerable favorites against the Senators. However, I’m not so sure the number is warranted in this matchup.

Ottawa Senators

After some awful form to start the season, no doubt greatly worsened by a  rough COVID-19 situation, postponements and injury list, the Senators seem to be finding the form that made them a very profitable underdog bet down the stretch last season.

Ottawa have played with a notable pace and energy of late, and have been rewarded with a 5-2-0 stretch coming against competition averaging 10.8th place in the league, with a +10 goal differential, including two convincing wins over Tampa Bay and Florida.

The Senators’ promising young forward group, led by Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stuetzle and Josh Norris, has finally clicked i to gear. They’ve done that alongside Drake Batherson, who has quietly lit the league on fire with 28 points in 22 games.

Tim Stuetzle, the third overall pick, has posted six points over the last six contests, while captain Brady Tkachuk has posted seven goals and 11 points over his last eight contests, and top center Josh Norris has posted 10 points over his last nine games.

It’s reasonable this Ottawa group can continue to produce above-average offensive play going forward this season, and I do think it has some upside if those strong young talents can hold the form seen of late, and a 2.63 xGF per 60 minutes over their recent run of success suggests they can continue to fill the cage at a solid clip.

The question will be can they learn to defend a little more effectively in front of goal, as it’s no secret they hold a lesser back end, a questionable goaltending duo, and that some of those young forwards are fighting through some growing pains with regards to their defensive play.

Goaltender Anton Forsberg has stabilized as of late in goal and should draw the start. Forsberg owns a .909 save percentage this season with a +2.9 goals saved above expected rating (GSAx) throughout 12 games.

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Philadelphia Flyers

Much of Philadelphia’s awful 11-game losing streak came in part due to its roster shortages and the high quality of competition faced. Under head coach Mike Yeo, the team has fared better with a 3-2-0 record. However, the shaky play of a number of key defenders like Rasmus Ristolainen still has been exposed at times and it’s hard to feel the team can trend upward too greatly.

Although they scraped out a point after being considerably dominated in Montreal on Thursday, it certainly opened my eyes as to where this team might still be at. Montreal’s speed was a notable advantage, clearly causing issues for a number of Flyers defenders, and Montreal created 4.8 expected goals to the Flyers’ 1.93 in the contest.

Over the entirety of Yeo’s reign, the team holds just a 46.47 xGF%, still allowing a notably 2.68 xGA/60, which certainly ran along with the “eye-test” in Thursday’s contest.

Carter Hart was sharp yet again in that game, stopping 38 of 40 shots, and should go again. Hart has bounced back well this season posting a .918 save percentage and a +8.5 GSAx rating throughout 19 games played.

Senators vs. Flyers Pick

Philadelphia has had somewhat of an upswing of under head coach Mike Yeo, but I still think we can expect the team to be among the league’s weaker defensive clubs as the season moves along. And I believe there’s a good chance we see Ottawa continue its recent run of offensive success in a considerably easier matchup than much of what they have seen of late.

The Senators have looked fast, sharp and aggressive in recent outings. And as outlined, they have beaten some high-quality competition while scoring some good totals and seeing some key pieces find better form.

This game looks much closer to a Pick’em the line suggests and I see the value being with Ottawa as a considerable underdog at +135 odds. I’m going to put a full unit there and a half unit on the Senators paired with the total over 5.5 goals at +380 odds at DraftKings, but should be findable at similar numbers with most books.

Pick: Ottawa (+135) | Parlay — Ottawa ML & Total Over 5.5 (+380)

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