NHL Betting Guide: Monday 3/22/21

The Senators have held the upper hand against the Flames this season, winning three of five games. Can they make it four of six tonight in Ottawa?

It's hard to believe, but we are already past the halfway point of the season which means it won't be long until we get into the playoff push. Games will start to take on a new meaning as teams try and hang on to valuable points in the condensed schedule and move their way up the standings. The season has been a blast so far and it's about to get even better.

Here are a few plays from our daily projections!

Ottawa Senators vs. Calgary Flames

Senators moneyline (+148): 3-Star Rating Out of 5
Senators +1.5 (-166): 5-Star Rating Out of 5
Under 6.5 (-120): 3-Star Rating Out of 5

The matchup between the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames is shaping up to be a good spot for bettors.

Ottawa is settling in at home having played three of their six-game homestand. If the Sens can navigate around some of their goaltending concerns, then their metrics imply that more wins are on the horizon.

Joey Daccord went down with an injury seven starts into his NHL career and he's expected to be out "long term". Matt Murray has also been shelved for the last week as he deals with an upper-body injury. Those absences are in addition to Marcus Hogberg, who went down with an injury a little over a month ago. That means that the oft-traveled Anton Forsberg, who is already on his fourth team this season, is the presumptive starter.

Thankfully for Forsberg, the Sens are doing well to limit opponents' chances on home ice. Opponents have managed 26 or fewer scoring chances in eight of the last nine home games in Ottawa. On average, teams are managing 23.6 scoring chances during that span. High-danger chances are equally hard to come by with opponents managing an average of 8.4 per game. It's also worth noting that the Sens have equaled or out-chanced their opponents in high-danger chances in all nine games.

The Flames stumble into Ottawa having been outplayed in three of their last four games. Their last two games against the Toronto Maple Leafs were of particular concern as they posted expected goals-for percentages of 30.2% and 36.1%. The Flames were absolutely stymied, posting a cumulative 34 scoring chances and 10 high-danger opportunities, that didn't even match the Leafs' production from one of those games.

The games against Toronto notwithstanding, the Flames have actually improved their defensive metrics under Darryl Sutter. There's no better team to get back on track against than the Senators.

According to our projections, there are three wagers that present significant value in the betting market. Defense should reign supreme in this one as the Sens look to protect their fourth-string goaltender and the Flames get back to Sutter's defensive-first system. That leaves an edge in taking the under 6.5, which we rate as a three-star play.

The Sens are the right side to be on in this one. They are a much-improved team on home ice and get the Flames off a deflating loss. That means there is value in taking the Sens to cover +1.5, which is rated as a five-star play, and taking them outright on the moneyline, which is a three-star play.

Minnesota Wild vs. Anaheim Ducks

Wild moneyline (-240): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

We're going a little chalky with our second game in the betting guide, but for good reason. The Minnesota Wild host the Anaheim Ducks in what is one of the biggest mismatches on the Monday slate.

From an advanced perspective, the Wild have been an elite team this season and the Ducks have been the opposite. Minny ranks eighth in the league in expected goals-for percentage compared to the Ducks' 27th ranking.

Making things worse, Anaheim is coming into tonight's contest in terrible form. The Ducks have posted four consecutive expected goals-for percentages below 50.0% and are allowing opponents to dominate possession metrics. Cumulatively, the Ducks have been out-chanced in high-danger opportunities 52 to 35 and in scoring chances 116 to 89 over their last four games. They've also out-possessed just one of their opponents and these metrics are with three of four games coming on home ice.

The Wild are coming off two tough losses to the Colorado Avalanche but should benefit from a drop in class against the Ducks. Over their last seven games, the Wild have limited five of those opponents to seven or fewer high-danger chances. Minnesota has also been effective at limiting scoring chances, as opponents have attempted 25 or fewer in five of seven. That defensive efficiency should continue against a Ducks team that struggles offensively.

Minnesota is 10-3-0 on home ice and the Ducks have only 4 wins in 13 road games. Our projections give the Wild a 75.1% chance of winning tonight, and that advantage is not yet reflected in the betting market. Wild moneyline is a two-star play.