Free NHL Picks: Blue Jackets at Canadiens Odds
by George Monroy - 10/16/2013
The Montreal Canadiens will open up a five-game homestand inside the Bell Centre when the team faces the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. The Canadeins are riding a three-game winning streak and have held their opponents to only two goals during that time. Montreal’s goaltender, Carey Price, has been fantastic in that span and earned his 20th-career shutout against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night. Prices’ production at the net has masked the Canadiens’ lack of puck control as of late.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are coming off of back-to-back losses against two very good teams in the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings. The Blue Jackets, in general, have faced a tougher-than-average slate of opponents to begin the year and have only played one sub-.500 club in the team’s first five games. However, Columbus still has not managed to perform up to par in those matchups and has not scored multiple goals in a game since they played the hapless Buffalo Sabres a week ago. Let’s take closer look at Thursday night’s Blue Jackets versus Canadiens matchup and go over which side of the wager holds the most value for bettors.
Blue Jackets at Canadiens Betting Story Lines
Montreal has outscored its opponents 11-2 over its last three games, which include two 4-1 victories over the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks and a 3-0 shutout against the Winnipeg Jets. Carey Price, Montreal’s goalie, has been a bright spot for the team early in the year, and the sixth-year player has already saved a ridiculous 153 shots in only five games. The Canadiens are giving up 31 shot attempts per game and have kept their young goalie extremely active in the early part of the season. Price currently has a .944 save percentage, which is one of the highest in the entire NHL.
The Blue Jackets have struggled on offense to start the year, and on top of only being able to score one goal in each of its last two games, the team averages only 2.2 goals per game, which ranks them 22nd in the league. Despite Columbus’ less-than-stellar start, the Blue Jackets have still managed to play solid defense and hold their opponents to only 2.4 goals per game on 31 shot attempts, which is ranked ninth in the league. Columbus’ offense has been so poor to start the season that the team has only seven players on its entire roster that has scored a goal this season. To contrast, the Canadiens, who are not a great offensive squad by any means, already have 11 players who have scored goals this year.
Montreal will be entering Thursday’s game having played four straight roads games and should be relieved to have escaped with a 3-1 record. The team will have the comfort of playing five-straight home games over the next nine games. Montreal has played only two home games this season and split those games with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers and 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Blue Jackets have played solid on the road and have a 2-1 record outside of Nationwide Arena. The team has also outscored its opponents on the road, 8-5.
Blue Jackets at Canadiens NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Canadiens opened as a -160 moneyline favorite over the underdog Blue Jackets, who are receiving +135 odds, according to BookMaker. The total was set at five goals, with the “over” being the favorite at -125 odds. The “under” is 5-1-1 during the last seven meetings between those two teams in Montreal. The Blue Jackets have won four of the last five matchups against the Canadiens and are 10-4 in their last 14 overall games. Montreal is 7-2 during their last nine Thursday games and 3-7 during their last 10 games after a win. The Canadiens have also gone under in each of their last five games.
Free NHL Picks: Blue Jackets at Canadiens Betting Predictions
The under on this matchup is the first wager that comes to mind. Both teams have very good goalies that have already managed to deal with stopping a high volume of shots. Neither team has gone over five goals over the last six games combined. The under is a solid bet here and is the best bet to make on this matchup, especially since it is receiving a positive payout of +105. As for the game itself, the Canadiens have been on an excellent defensive streak and have made a conscious effort to not give their opponents easy shot opportunities. The most impressive part about of Montreal’s solid defensive play has been that it came on a four-game road trip. Now that the team is in the comfort of its home arena, expect that trend to continue. The Blue Jackets will probably continue to struggle during Thursday’s matchup. The Canadiens are a solid moneyline bet of -160. Montreal and the under are both getting excellent prices and are the best plays to make on this matchup.
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