NHL Odds, Picks: Expert’s Best Bets for Senators vs. Blue Jackets

NHL Odds, Picks: Expert’s Best Bets for Senators vs. Blue Jackets article feature image

Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tim Stutzle of the Ottawa Senators.

  • Saturday's NHL slate features plenty of action, but Nick Martin has singled out one game for his best bets.
  • Martin sees value on a puck-line play and a player prop in Senators vs. Blue Jackets.
  • Check out Martin's best bets for Senators vs. Blue Jackets below.

The NHL's 12-game Saturday slate features a ton of excellent matchups as teams jockey for playoff position heading into the season's final quarter.

However, I'm focusing on Senators vs. Blue Jackets, so let's dive into my two favorite widely-available plays in my NHL best bets for Saturday.

Ottawa Senators -1.5 vs. Blue Jackets

Ottawa shocked the hockey world by attaining one of the top trade targets Thursday in blue-liner Jakob Chychrun for a very reasonable price.

It then followed that up with an impressive come-from-behind victory over the Rangers at MSG that evening, which moves Ottawa within four points of the Islanders for the last playoff spot in the East with three games in hand.

Thursday's win was the Senators' fourth straight, and each of those wins has come in convincing fashion, as all ended regulation by two goals or more.

The addition of Chychrun greatly raises the floor for Ottawa, as its depth on the blue line was the team's greatest concern by a pretty wide margin.

Offensively, the Senators own a very dangerous top six that has started to click at even strength the way most pundits predicted in the offseason. The power play has been incredible, working at the fifth-best mark of 25.1%. It now has an amazing matchup against a Columbus side that has killed off just 17% of penalties.

Goaltender Cam Talbot was excellent in the win over New York and has been very stable since returning from injury.

All the Senators should need here is a steady performance, and their offense should do the rest.

It might be fair to say that Columbus is currently playing some more respectable hockey, but this sets up as an extremely tough spot playing a back-to-back against a red-hot offense.

Plus, the Blue Jackets will likely trot out journeyman netminder Michael Hutchinson likely to start. Hutchinson has played to a sub .900 save percentage in back-to-back seasons at the AHL level and won't make it any easier for the Blue Jackets to hang around Saturday.

This looks like a great spot for the Sens to keep rolling, and I believe -115 is a good price to back Ottawa to cover -1.5.

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Tim Stutzle Anytime Goal Scorer (+154)

A large key to Ottawa's recent success has been the play of Tim Stutzle, who has been on fire over the last five contests on a line with captain Brady Tkachuk and Claude Giroux.

The trio surely has found greater success due to the poor quality of opponents: Detroit twice, Montreal and a depleted Rangers defense. But tonight's matchup is arguably still better than any of those.

Stützle, Giroux and Tkachuk have posted a 4.01 goals per 60 rating in 329.1 minutes together at even strength, which is the sixth-highest mark in the league among lines that have played over 200 minutes together.

Stutzle also does a lot of damage on the power play and finds himself in a tremendous matchup against Columbus to continue that. Stutzle has scored nine goals over the last 12 games and has seen an uptick in shot production, averaging 3.66 shots on goal during that span.

From a DFS perspective, I believe that Ottawa's top unit is the top option on tonight's slate — without analyzing potential leverage.

Betting-wise, I believe a case could be made for an over for any member of Stutzle's line, whether it be points, power-play points, shots on goal or anytime goalscorer props.

Stutzle to score at +154 is my favorite widely-available price of the bunch, and I see value with that play down to +140.

Pick: Tim Stutzle Anytime Goal Scorer (+154)

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