NHL Odds & Pick for Ottawa Senators vs. Winnipeg Jets: Ottawa Provides Good Value as Underdog
Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Galchenyuk.
- The Winnipeg Jets host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
- The Senators have been struggling, but have gotten better goaltending of late.
- The home Jets are understandably favored, but the road underdogs provide good value.
Senators vs. Jets Odds
|Time | TV||Thursday, 8 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday night and via FanDuel.|
I graduated from Brock University in Canada’s Niagara region. With near access to Lake Ontario, my Badgers held the illustrious title of the best rowing program in Canada, winning three national championships during my time there.
The Badgers were really good at rowing in-sync, and the Ottawa Senators could use some advice in that regard, as the metaphorical oars steering their season are rarely in-sync. Getting the offensive pressure going while the goaltending holds up has been a challenge that hasn’t been overcome. As a result, the Sens have won just two games all season. They’re try for No. 3 on Thursday night against the Jets.
The importance of getting any type of professional goaltending was never more evident than it was in Ottawa on Tuesday night. Matt Murray had found his game over the previous three games. Those included misdemeanor win theft in Montreal, keeping the Sens in the rematch back in Ottawa, and holding up against an onslaught from the Oilers when his team didn’t show up in front of him on Monday night.
All in all, he stopped 98 of 104 shots, allowing the Habs (twice) and the Oilers to score on just 3 of 35 high-danger chances (HDC). All on his way to digging himself out of dead last in goals saved above average (GSAA). Unfortunately, the gentleman replacing him at the bottom of the league is his backup, Marcus Hogberg, with a -9.15 GSAA. So with that, a conundrum struck the Senators decision-makers for the rematch with the Oilers on Tuesday. Do you start Murray in the second game of a back-to-back? Or go to the backup to give Murray a breather?
To make matters worse, the Senators’ skaters mustered just 1.2 expected goals for (XGF) in the first game, which waisted Murray’s strong performance. Sens brass had to know the “other 18” would bring their best effort the next night, but putting in Hogberg might waste that team effort. Sure enough, they did just that, and he did just THAT, in giving up three goals on 12 shots, none of which were high-danger chances. As a result, the Senators were beaten 3-2 despite turning around the expected goal ratio, with 2.72 XGF to the Oilers’ 1.38.
Murray will be back between the pipes when the Senators make a return trip to Winnipeg on Thursday (and Saturday). The Jets are waiting with fond memories of the last time Ottawa came to MTS Centre, as they took advantage of Hogberg, with five goals in a 6-3 win. That concluded a three-game sweep of the Sens, where the Jets pulled the first game out of the fire, and the Senators got progressively less competitive as the set went on.
Since then, the Jets have been wildly inconsistent, with three wins and four losses, beating their opponent in expected goal share just twice in those seven games. On Tuesday, they mustered one high-danger chance in Calgary at even-strength. One. Giving up 12 HDCs on the defensive end to the Flames only brings more attention to the Jets being out-chanced in high-danger areas, 79-46 in the last seven games.
The three wins the Jets have managed to accumulate, and their knack for playing close games has probably shielded them from some criticism, as my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast has them rated 7.8% below league average while at even strength.
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Betting Analysis & Pick
The Senators are still rated better than their record would indicate, as I’ve got them at almost 10% below average. Given that’s around 2% below the Jets, you can imagine that we’ll be backing the Senators at a big price here. Knowing that we’re getting Murray back in the crease, we can hope to get professional-level netminding from our big underdog. As for the Jets, early this season there has been much difference in there goaltending duo, as Connor Hellebuyck and Laurent Broissant have very similar advanced stats.
My true moneyline for this game is -120/+120 in favor of the Jets, so getting the Sens at anything better than +150 is a good value play for a team that’s still pulling in one direction, even if they’re having trouble rowing in sync.
Pick: Senators (+150 or better)