NHL Odds & Pick for Oilers vs. Canadiens: Bet Against McDavid and Edmonton? (Monday, May 10)
Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Allen
- Fresh off passing the 100-point plateau, Connor McDavid will now lead his Edmonton Oilers in a playoff tune-up game against the Montreal Canadiens.
- The Oilers may have very little to play for on Monday night, but the Habs will be a motivated bunch.
- Matt Russell sizes up the odds and makes a pick for Monday night's game below.
Oilers vs. Canadiens Odds
|Over/Under||6 (-104 / -118)|
|Time||Monday, 7 p.m. ET|
It’s a longer column and a bigger debate, but I firmly believe that Connor McDavid is the best hockey player of all time. Maybe I’ve come to that conclusion with a tinge of bias because of the cash machine that he’s been the last couple of weeks. You can find my column on his value in the prop market from well over a week ago here.
Since that column was published he’s hit the over on his 1.5 point prop every single game, going 5-0. As the Oilers visit the Habs on Monday, like every other Oilers game, their success will likely be tied to that of McDavid.
The Oilers did it, and it took all of two periods on Saturday night. They accomplished what was clearly a team-wide goal to help McDavid hit the 100-point plateau in this shortened, 56-game season. You could see the collective joy in their eyes as McDavid bagged his fourth point of the night in a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
As the Oilers sit firmly in second place in the North Division with nowhere to go, what’s left to accomplish this season, 108 points in 56 games doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Playing four games in a row against the exasperated Canucks certainly helped expedite the process towards McDavid’s 100 points. Vancouver’s return from their near month-long Covid hiatus has gone about as you would expect for a team without anything to play for, and without their star, Elias Pettersson. Even including their two wins over the Leafs, the Canucks have been getting dominated at even-strength.
So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that McDavid would make it 21 points in nine games over the Canucks, thanks to 13 points in those four games.
Now the Oilers have a different challenge. They are tasked with getting up for a meaningless road game against a team that doesn’t think it’s so meaningless. On top of that, for all the pitfalls the Habs have fallen into this year, one of their successes is how they’ve handled McDavid.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
The Montreal Canadiens have been piecing a lineup together down the stretch with multiple key figures missing. A schedule that hasn’t given them two days off in a row has contributed to their rating plummeting in my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model, as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast. Nevertheless, they clinched a playoff spot, and actually have the opportunity to avoid the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, thanks to the Jets even more aggressive plummet sparking the league’s least inspiring battle for playoff positioning.
Given the Canadiens’ struggles with Toronto this season, and the Leafs pair of convincing wins this past weekend over them, there’s plenty of motivation left for the Habs in the season’s final games.
While the Habs have just 46.72% of the Expected Goals at even-strength in games with the Leafs, they have 56.75% of the Expected Goals at even-strength in game with the Oilers. So it’s not just that they rather not face Toronto, but they’re seemingly pretty comfortable with the Oilers. In fact, they’ve only allowed McDavid to tally eight points in their seven games.
While a point per game is something any other player in the league would take, it’s not what the Oilers have been treated to this season with McDavid. Not coincidentally, the Oilers have won just two of those seven games against Montreal.
Since the Canadiens fired Head Coach Claude Julien, their play at even-strength has deteriorated to near league-average, after starting the season so stingy. Before the exodus of Julien the Habs were allowing just 6.44 High-Danger Chances at even-strength. Since his ouster, they have given up 8.52 HDC per game.
Overall my model believes the Canadiens are just 1.3% above-average in their current state. However, even with all the trepidation surrounding the Canadiens the last couple of months they’re still rated almost equal to the Oilers.
Canadiens-Oilers Best Bet
Even with McDavid’s magic, and in many ways only because of it, the Oilers rate as a completely average team at even-strength. Essentially, both teams have about a 50% chance of beating an average team, because they themselves are average. Thanks to a small consideration for home-ice advantage, the model gives the Canadiens a 53% chance to win this game. Probably thanks to the perception of the Oilers recent success, the Habs can be had for +100.
Given how well the season has gone, it’s tempting to cash out and walk away from the regular season. The remaining games don’t have much left in terms of juice, with not much up for grabs, but the money all pays the same if there’s an angle, so I’ll be backing the Habs at plus-money on Monday night.
Pick: Canadiens (+100 or better)