NHL Predictions: Blues at Senators Odds and Picks
by George Monroy - 12/16/2013
What a different world it must be to a St. Louis Blues fan this season. The team lost three of four games to end November, and to begin December and fans were already wondering aloud “what was wrong with the Blues?”. St. Louis dispelled any fears that it might be heading for its first real slump of the year by winning three-games in a row, which included a dominant victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. St. Louis is still on the Chicago Blackhawks’ heels for the Central Division lead and is one of the few teams in the entire NHL with 22 wins on the season.
The Ottawa Senators are in an extremely home-friendly portion of their schedule and are in the middle of a 14-game stretch that will include only three road games in a four-week span. Ottawa needs to begin taking advantage of that favorable schedule, because the team has already lost three of the first five games in that stretch. The only silver lining for the Senators is that they play in the Eastern Conference, where making the postseason will be much less difficult than in the West. Let’s take a closer look at tonight’s Blues versus Senators matchup and figure out which side of the wager has the most value to bet on.
Blues at Senators Betting Story Lines
St. Louis has been dominant all season. However, the team is still sitting in the third seed of the playoff standings and trails the Chicago Blackhawks by six points for the conference lead. The West is simply stacked with talented teams this year, and the Blues, no matter how much they keep winning, cannot rest on their past accomplishments.
The team has won four of its last five games, with its lone loss coming against a very good Anaheim Ducks squad. St. Louis has scored 12 goals in its last three games while also receiving excellent production in front of the net. Goaltenders Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak have allowed only 12 regulation goals over the team’s last five games, and both are averaging over a .910 save percentage on the year.
Over the course of the season Ottawa has been able to score goals, and the team ranks ninth in the league with 2.8 per game. However, during December Ottawa’s offensive production has dipped, and the squad has not been nearly as productive during the first eight games of the month. The Senators have only three wins during that span, and they needed overtime and shootouts to win one of them.
Ottawa’s main problem, though, has been on the defensive end and in front of the net. The team has given up an average of 3.12 goals this month and gives up 3.10 goals on average for the season, which is ranked 27th in the league. Craig Anderson, the Senators starting goaltender, played only four minutes in his last start versus the Los Angeles Kings and was pulled after allowing two goals on four shots during his time on the ice.
Blues at Senators NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
St. Louis opened as a -131 moneyline favorite over the +119 underdog Senators at BetOnline. The total was set at 5.5 goals, with both the “over” and “under” set at -105. St. Louis is 22-6 over its last 28 games against the Atlantic Division and 7-0 during its last seven road games against teams with a below-.400 home-winning percentage. The team has gone over in each of its last four games played on one day of rest and hit the over in five of its last seven overall games.
Ottawa is 5-2 over its last seven Monday games but only 2-6 during its last eight home games. The team is 0-4 over its last four matchups versus the Central Division and has gone over in each of its last six games against the Western Conference. Head-to-head, the home team is 8-3-1 the last 12 meetings between the teams, while the Blues have lost five of the last six games in Ottawa.
NHL Predictions: Blues at Senators Betting Picks
The Blues are streaking and looking to close the gap in the Central Division with a few timely wins to close out the year. There is definite value in wagering on a Western Conference powerhouse at only -131, even if it is on the road. However, the best play on Monday night’s matchup is taking the over on 5.5 goals at only a -105 vig. Ottawa can score goals, but the team is still struggling on defense and gives up goals in return. Expect a high-scoring matchup. I recommend taking both the Blues on the moneyline and the over, but if you have to choose one, take the over.
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