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NHL handicapper Jason Yamaguchi breaks down Friday night's matchup between the Ottawa Senators and the Detroit Red Wings.

Ottawa Senators vs. Detroit Red Wings Prediction: Keeping Fading the Wings

The Penguins blew a 3-1 lead in the third period last night, but they managed to pull it out for us in overtime. Moving to Friday, there are seven games on the docket, although most of them are subpar matchups. However, that doesn't mean that there isn't value to be found. Let's take a closer look at a contest between two of the non-playoff teams in the Eastern Conference.

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Ottawa Senators vs. Detroit Red Wings Prediction

The Detroit Red Wings (26-32-9) come into this game having lost four straight and 11 of their last 13, a run that has fully buried them in terms of any playoff hopes. Their last outing, a 5-4 OT loss to the Rangers, may be an encouraging result to some. That being said, don't be fooled—the Rangers were on the second leg of a back-to-back with travel, started their backup, and still managed to dominate essentially all facets of the game. Let's see if Detroit can muster a more encouraging performance to snap their losing streak.

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The Senators (23-37-6) are also in relatively poor form, as they've lost seven of their last nine games. They are second from the bottom of the conference, playing out the final games of a lost season. Star defenseman Thomas Chabot will likely miss the rest of the year with a broken hand, an injury that will only hurt Ottawa's hopes of winning games down the stretch. However, their underlying numbers have been more encouraging as of late; throughout March, they frequently outchanced their opponents in terms of expected goals. As such, I think that they're a bit better than their record suggests.

As a whole, Ottawa has been a slightly better team at even strength than Detroit. The Senators' 5v5 expected goals share of 47.45% ranks 21st in the NHL, edging out the Red Wings' mark of 46.97% (25th). It's also worth noting that Detroit is trending downward in this category, while Ottawa, as previously mentioned, is moving in the opposite direction.

The Senators have a clear-cut edge on special teams. They have the 25th best power play in the NHL (18.5% conversion rate) but also have the 14th best penalty kill (80.1% kill rate). The Red Wings, conversely, have the 26th best power play (18.2%) and the NHL's worst penalty kill (72.1%!). Ottawa's power play has two goals in their last three games, so perhaps the unit is picking up steam. They'll look to continue building momentum against Detroit's 32nd-ranked PK.

In terms of goaltending, the hope is that Anton Forsberg starts for the Senators. He has saved 7.5 goals above expected this season, which is quite solid. He did start in each of their last four games, however, so it's far from a sure thing that he'll get the nod again. On the other side, it will either be Alex Nedeljkovic or Thomas Greiss. The two have allowed 10.5 and 15.8 more goals than expected, respectively, so it looks like Ottawa will have an advantage in goal either way.

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These types of games—those between bad teams late in the year—are ones that bettors often avoid due to heightened variance. I tend to agree with that heuristic, but the value here is just too much to pass up. The Senators should be favored in this spot, so I think that taking them at plus-money is a great opportunity. Bet them down to -110.

Ottawa Senators vs. Detroit Red Wings Pick

Pick: Senators ML (+105) (Bet $100 to Win $105)

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Article Author


Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.


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