Red Wings at Senators Betting Picks & Odds: Is the Wrong Team Favored in Ottawa?

Red Wings at Senators Betting Picks & Odds: Is the Wrong Team Favored in Ottawa? article feature image
Credit:

Jerome Miron, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Anders Nilsson

Red Wings at Senators Odds

  • Red Wings odds: +105
  • Senators odds: -125
  • Over/Under: 6
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

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We’ve got a doozy of a matchup on Wednesday Night Hockey, tonight. Two of the best teams of this generation, the Penguins and Lightning, will meet on national TV. It’s a game that features last season’s MVP (Nikita Kucherov), Vezina Trophy winner (Andrei Vasilevskiy) and Sidney Crosby.

If Penguins at Lightning is a game made for the spotlight, Red Wings at Senators is a game made for the closet. Guess which game I’m itching to bet tonight.

It may be a little jarring to see the Senators listed as favorites. Per Bet Labs, the Senators have only been favored in five games over the past two seasons. I won’t go into their record in those games because it’s irrelevant to their value tonight, but I will mention that the only other team that has been listed as the favorite fewer than 10 times during that span is Detroit.

Going by season point totals, the Senators (68.5) and Red Wings (74.5) were expected to be the two worst teams in the NHL this season. Detroit is definitely less bad, but are these odds overestimating the gulf between these two tankers?

On the surface you may think that the market is suggesting that the Senators are the better team. They are the favorites, after all. But Ottawa is at home and in an advantageous rest situation, as the Red Wings are playing on the second night of a back-to-back.

These odds, when taken at face value, suggest that Ottawa has approximately a 53.3% chance of winning tonight’s game. When you adjust those numbers for home-ice advantage and rest, these odds flip and then some.

That means that finding value on this game boils down to this question: “Does Detroit beat Ottawa 55 times out of 100, all things being equal?”

Let’s see if we can find an answer.

Ottawa’s biggest issue to start this season has been its leaky defense. Only the Rangers have allowed more expected goals (xG) per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 than the Sens. Luckily, the Red Wings aren’t the type of team that will feast on that type of defensive ineptitude, as Detroit is averaging just 7.11 high-danger chances per 60 minutes this season.

red wings vs senators-betting odds-picks-preview
Heatmap via HockeyViz.com

The Senators should also have the slight edge in goal as Anders Nilsson has been in good form to start the season. The Big Swede has a +2.91 Goals Saved Above Average at all situations in three games this season and his .932 save percentage is 2.19 basis points higher than his expected save percentage.

Nilsson will likely go up against Jonathan Bernier as Jimmy Howard got the nod in Detroit’s 5-2 loss to the Canucks last night. Like any goalie, Bernier can steal a game on his own, but his -16.1 GSAA since 2017-18 suggests the odds of that happening aren’t all that likely.

Given their reputation, I don’t expect many people to be backing Ottawa as a favorite, so I’m hoping this line dips closer to -120. If it gets below -125, I’ll be firing away.

In a vacuum, the Red Wings are the better team. But this game isn’t played in a vacuum, it’s played on ice.

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