NHL Betting Guide: Saturday 4/3/21

There's always been something special about hockey on a Saturday, and today is no different. We've got an 11-game slate ahead of us. Games start at 1 p.m. EST and go all day, with the latest puck drop at 10 p.m. EST. There's something for everyone as all four divisions have games scheduled throughout the day.

Here are the plays we're looking at from our daily projections!

Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens

Senators +1.5 (-122): -Star Rating Out of 5
Under 5.5 (+112): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

Upon closer inspection of the metrics, Saturday night's game between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens should be a defensive struggle.

Over the last three games, the Habs have been playing suffocating defense. Their opponents have been limited to a cumulative 16 high-danger chances and 46 scoring opportunities in that time, which works out to an average of 5.3 and 16.7 per game, respectively. As a result, Carey Price and Jake Allen have combined to stop 53 of 58 shot attempts, including 39 of the last 40.

The Sens have been ebbing and flowing all season, but their metrics have been slightly more exaggerated, which is to be expected with a young team. Ottawa had gone three games without allowing more than 24 scoring chances and nine high-danger opportunities, but that number has ballooned over the last couple of games. The Sens' last two opponents have combined for 71 scoring chances, 42 of which came from high-danger areas. The Senators are better than their recent performances show, and they will likely start working their way back down towards average.

Aiding the low-scoring cause in this game is the return of Matt Murray. Ottawa activated their primary goalie off the injured reserve, and he should be in line to get the start on Saturday night. Although it's been a hot-and-cold season for Murray, he stabilizes the Senators' backend and is slowly increasing his metrics.

Five of the six meetings between these two have stayed under the total this season, and there have been 22 or fewer high-danger chances in all six meetings.

Based on our projections, there's an advantage in backing the Sens on the puckline tonight. Defense will be the first priority for both teams, and goalies should limit the few opportunities that do arise. On that basis, taking Ottawa +1.5 is a three-star play, and the under 5.5 is a two-star play.

Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues

Avalanche moneyline (-280): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The St. Louis Blues may have misplayed their hand, and it looks like it's going to cost them Saturday night. After electing to start Jordan Binnington on the first day of the back-to-back, they now will likely have to send Ville Husso out to try to quell a red-hot Colorado Avalanche offense.

The Avs' offense continued their barrage last night, posting 39 shots, 30 scoring chances, and 14 high-danger chances. It was their 10th straight game with at least 30 scoring chances, seventh straight game with double-digit high-danger chances and their 18th time in 19 games attempting at least 30 shots.

That's going to make things challenging for the Blues, who will either have to go with Husso and his 88.5% save percentage or ride Binnington again and hope he isn't as tired as everyone else.

St. Louis has had a mixed bag of results on the second night of a back-to-back, going 3-3-1 in the split, but their metrics on the second night are somewhat more concerning. Opponents are attempting more scoring chances in five of seven contests and more high-danger attempts in four of seven. Finding a way to decrease the Avs' production metrics appears to be a task too tall to handle today for the Blues.

Colorado is priced as steep favorites and rightfully so. But based on our projections, they have an even better chance of winning than the betting market implies. We think the Avalanche win 74.9% of the time, which comes out to a line of -298. It's on that basis that the Avs moneyline is a one-star play.