NHL Betting Guide for January 25th
The NHL took a curious approach to their scheduling this weekend. They scheduled 12 games on Championship Sunday, competing with the NFL schedule, leaving only one game to be played tonight. But even with one game on the docket, that still gives us something to bet on!
Vancouver Canucks vs. Ottawa Senators Moneyline, Total, and Odds
Moneyline: Canucks -154, Senators +130
Spread: Canucks 1.5 (+176), Senators +1.5 (-210)
Total: O6.5 -110
Odds to Win Stanley Cup: Canucks +3500 Senators +10000
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Vancouver Canucks vs. Ottawa Senators News, Analysis, and Picks
The NHL North division’s basement probably isn’t where the Vancouver Canucks pictured themselves at the start of the season. But here they are, seven games into the season, facing off against the Ottawa Senators hoping to avoid that fate.
Vancouver has gotten off to a bad start. They’ve lost five of seven games and have the NHL’s worst goal differential at -13. If you think that’s bad, well, their metrics are even worse. They rank last in the league in every meaningful defensive metric and have the league’s worst expected goals-for. Teams can get by with shaky defense, provided they have a solid goaltender. But Vancouver is also deficient in goaltending metrics. Braden Holtby and Thatcher Demko have posted the 30th-ranked save percentage at 87.1% and the 29th-ranked high-danger save percentage at 70.7%. With defensive metrics like that, no offense can propel the Canucks to more wins.
Structurally, the Sens have been much more defensively sound than the Canucks. They are giving up the 12th-fewest scoring chances and 14th-fewest high-danger opportunities. But they have some concerns between the pipes as well. Matt Murray hasn’t gotten off to a good start as a Sen, posting a 3.79 goals-against average and stopping 88.0% of shots. Marcus Hogberg was given his first start of the season Saturday against the Jets and fared worse, allowing five goals and stopping 32 of 37 shots.
These teams are primed for progression, as evidenced by their deflated PDOs. But with both teams’ offenses operating efficiently, progression is likely to come from a defensive perspective; I am more inclined to trust the team with a better defensive structure than the team that bleeds opportunities against. Sens moneyline +130 is the play. If these teams do progress as anticipated, that leaves value in taking the under 6.5.
Thomas Chabot over 0.5 powerplay points at +390 is one player proper to consider as well. The Canucks have allowed nine powerplay goals through seven games and have the 25th-ranked penalty kill. Chabot led the Sens with 11 such points last season and figures to get the lion’s share of PP time among defencemen.