Senators at Lightning Betting Odds and Preview: Ottawa Is One of the Biggest Underdogs of the Season
Eric Bolte, USA Today Sports. Pictured: JG Pageau
Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Lightning Odds
- Senators odds: +310
- Lightning odds: -400
- Over/Under: 6.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Tuesday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
The Ottawa Senators look like they will close above +300 at most sportsbooks, making them the second team to do so in 2019-20 (they closed at +328 against Boston in November). The Senators are bad, but they’ve also been a pleasant surprise this season. Both of those things can be true.
Going by expected goals, Ottawa is the 11th-best team in the NHL with a 51.6 xG%. Offense is the driving force behind the Senators’ modest success. The Sens are producing 2.47 expected goals for per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, which is the eighth-best mark in the NHL.
The Sens seem to be getting better, too, as they’ve ticked their expected goal share to 54% over their last 15 games.
The defense hasn’t been bad. Ottawa is surrendering 2.32 expected goals against (14th) and 10.52 high-danger chances (21st), but the problem is that the Senators’ style leads to back-and-forth games and they don’t have the talent to keep up with better teams, like Tampa Bay.
The Lightning are several rungs on the ladder above the Senators and, despite some up-and-down results, the Bolts are beginning to round into form.
Through 31 games this season, Tampa has a 53.2% expected goal share (xG%) and is creating 0.3 more expected goals per hour than it is allowing. Those numbers are pretty much on par with where Tampa Bay was in 2018-19 when it finished with a 52.9 xG%.
Tampa Bay’s goaltending has depressed the Lightning’s results this season, but under the surface everything looks to be clicking for the NHL’s deepest team.
Ottawa is playing on a back-to-back after getting trounced, 6-1, by the Panthers on Monday night. It was an ugly game, but those types of efforts have been much more sparse for Ottawa this season.
The reality is that the Senators aren’t as bad as the market is treating them, even if they are at a schedule disadvantage on the road against an elite team.
The listed odds suggest that Tampa Bay wins this game 76.6% of the time. I’m not arguing that the Lightning are very likely to beat Ottawa on Tuesday night, but I do think the price is good enough to have a go on the Senators — despite it being the type of wager that will make you hate yourself.
Ottawa has shown the ability to hang with good teams this season and that’s all you need to start seeing value on a big underdog in a luck-driven sport like hockey. The game is played on ice, after all.
These odds should be wide, but this price has gone a little too far. This is a bet that is very likely to lose, but it isn’t a bad wager. Both of those things can be true.