NHL Betting Odds & Pick for Senators vs. Jets: Underdog Ottawa Has Value on Saturday (May 8)
Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images. Pictured: Drake Batherson (left) and Brady Tkachuk (right).
- The Ottawa Senators will look to keep a hot streak going when they play the Winnepeg Jets on Saturday night.
- The Senators have made a month of cashing bets, and Matt Russell is going back to the Ottawa well yet again.
- Check out Russell's full betting preview complete with updated odds and a pick based on his analysis below.
Senators vs. Jets Odds
|Time||Saturday, 7 p.m. ET|
Even though we’re in the growing season of spring with trees reaching full bloom, the Senators have been raining money like a maple tree shedding its leaves to the ground over the last few weeks.
So, it was to my surprise when the Senators' moneyline price opened as high as +180 on Friday.
The Senators have been no stranger to my betting card and an almost mortal lock for me to write about in this space for about three weeks now. It has been as delightful as a casual skate on the Rideau Canal on a not-too-cold winter afternoon.
Coincidentally, we’ve only tripped and fallen face-first on the ice a couple of times, both on Saturdays as high-value underdogs.
Two Saturdays ago, the Senators lost to the Canucks for the only time during their four consecutive matchups on a night when they only allowed Vancouver one single high-danger chance at even strength. They also had to deal with two different goaltenders getting hurt between warmups and the middle of the second period.
A week later, the Senators were +170 and dropped to +130 by puck drop, creating an unusually great amount of closing line value in a hockey game, when they went to Montreal. They scored first, they scored second, but in the third period, they scored never again. The Canadiens stole the game in overtime.
On this Saturday, we’re backing a Senators team that dominated Montreal on Thursday in a rematch without their top defenseman in Thomas Chabot, who was injured in the previous game against the Jets.
It was the Senators' second win over Winnipeg during Ottawa’s 8-3 stretch as it closes the season strong. The Sens are creating enough offense at 1.54 expected goals in 5 vs. 5, but the defense and goaltending are what’s allowed them to win these games — a massive improvement thanks to the emergence of Filip Gustavsson and his 1.87 GAA and .944 save percentage.
Who knows if Gus is the answer for the future of the Senators in the crease, but who cares? We can ride him to the window while he’s hot now.
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 Jets' general setup is a lot different than the Senators at the moment. You could make the case they'd rather not be playing games and could just take some time to catch their breath before the playoffs.
Winnipeg snapped a seven-game losing streak with a win in Calgary over a Flames team that had been eliminated from playoff contention hours earlier.
I’m not sure I’m ready to declare them back just yet, especially since, as a metrics-centric bettor, I’ve never thought they were ever ‘here.’
The Jets have allowed 99 more high-danger chances at even strength than their opponents this season. While 99 is a legendary number in hockey, the only thing exceptional about this is that the Jets will partake in the Stanley Cup Playoffs despite this disparity.
The Jets did manage seven 5 vs. 5 high-danger chances to just three for the Flames, which made for an easier night for Connor Hellebuyck, who bounced back from a rough couple of weeks to get the shutout.
However, there’s a very real chance that the Flames, who haven’t had any fun all season, are looking at their watch waiting for the season to end as Darryl Sutter probably wears them down with no playoff carrot to dangle.
His hard-edged style of coaching is far more palatable when the finish line needs to be crossed before the opposition, but at this point, a Flames team that has shown only flashes of "give-a-bleep" this season is more likely to veer off the track, find a nice meadow, and lie down.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Senators are galloping around gleefully, having a grand time as the season comes to a close. Surpassing expectations as a very young team will do that, as they’re one point away from surpassing their expected season point total despite a nightmarish first two months.
The Jets are staying ahead of the Canadiens for third place in the division almost by default. Playoff positioning hasn’t seemed to spur them on as they’ve played to a 9% below-average rate at even strength in their last eight games, according to my Let’s Do That Hockey model as heard on "The Window: Sports Betting Podcast."
Sadly, this isn’t even that much worse than their season-long rate of 7% below-average.
All of this adds up to this matchup having a true projected moneyline price of WPG -117/OTT +117, according to my model. So, when looking to back the underdog, I’ll need better than a 3% edge, which would be +135.
Since it looks like there’s no problem in getting a better price than that, I’d recommend grabbing the Sens as quickly as possible because if it’s like the last two Saturdays, underdog Ottawa will see enough money to drop the number throughout the day.
Hopefully, the end result will be better than those last two as well.
Pick: Senators ML (+150 or better)