Ottawa Senators vs. Vancouver Canucks Predictions

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I hate to be harsh, but if I had to use one word to describe the Vancouver Canucks it would be “mess.”

3, 5, 3, 5, 6, 7, 5. No this isn’t some type of riddle or code, it’s the amount of goals the Canucks have given up in each game they’ve played this season. 34 goals against in seven games is a goals against average near five goals a game.

It’s not just luck either. Vancouver is the worst team in the league defensively. They allow the most shot attempts, shots, goals, scoring chances and expected goals per 60 minutes at 5v5. They are the second worst team in the league in terms of high danger chances against.

The Canucks defense is allowing their opponents quality chances left and right, and their goaltending has not been up to the challenge. Thatcher Demko has a -4.36 goals saved above expectation through 3 starts while Braden Holtby’s mark of -2.24 is better, but still bad.

Holtby has a goals against average of 3.70 and a save percentage of .888 while Demko has been even worse with a 5.47 goals against average and an .866 save percentage. For reference, an average NHL goalie’s goals against average is near 2.65 and an average save percentage is near .910. The Canucks goaltenders are a long way from average, let alone good.

One benefit to come out of Vancouver’s last game was the fact that Elias Pettersson scored his first goal of the season. The Swedish youngster was getting preseason hype as a potential MVP candidate but he struggled to begin the season. He finally got the monkey off of his back in game seven and hopefully this gets him going.

Click to view the latest NHL odds.

Vancouver has a good amount of talent with players like Pettersson as well as Brock Boeser, Quinn Hughes, Bo Horvat, and JT Miller. Nils Hoglander has also gotten off to a decent start in his first few NHL games. With the way this team is playing defensively, they’ll be leaning on their offensive top guns to outscore their woes.

On the other side of the ice, the Ottawa Senators are somewhat similar. Their defense has been subpar to begin the year as well. While they aren’t the worst in the league like Vancouver, they find themselves in the bottom five of a lot of the defensive metrics.

Goaltending has also not been a strong point for the Senators as newly acquired Matt Murray finds himself in the bottom-six of the league in terms of goals saved above expectation. Murray struggled his last few seasons in Pittsburgh which might lead people to believe we’ve already seen the best of Matt Murray as an NHL goalie. Ottawa surely hopes that’s not the case, but early results are not encouraging.

Ottawa does not have as much talent as Vancouver up front, but they still have a nice group of forwards which includes Brady Tkachuk, Evgeni Dadonov and Connor Brown. The team is hoping for increased productions from youngsters like Josh Norris and Drake Batherson who have shown glimpses of their potential. The team also did a good job adding players like Derek Stepan and Alex Galchenyuk who give their line-up some much needed depth.

Both of these teams are in the bottom ten of the league when it comes to defensive metrics, while both teams have offensive metrics in the top half of the league. There is plenty of talent on both of these rosters. Both of these teams have had poor goaltending to open the season.

Until Vancouver figures out their defensive issues, I have to keep betting the overs in their games. Hopefully we see goals in this one.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets

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Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

There’s no team with more drama surrounding them right now than the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Pierre-Luc Dubois signed an extension this past offseason and immediately made it known he wanted to be traded. Coach John Tortorella has now benched the Blue Jacket’s best offensive player in two straight games. Tortorella and Dubois both didn’t want to talk about the benching after Thursday’s game.

Now, trade rumors are picking up steam surrounding Dubois. The team has announced he will not play in Saturday’s game if he isn’t traded by then.

Columbus is already a team that struggles to score goals, and now it seems like they’ll be missing their number one center and best offensive weapon. Obviously, a center is responsible for making his whole line better so the Jackets top line wingers will also suffer in his absence.

Columbus is a bottom five team on the season in terms of expected goals scored per 60 minutes at 5v5. They were a bottom ten team in the same metric last season. This season the Blue Jackets are averaging only 7.26 high danger chances per 60 minutes, once again finding themselves in the bottom third of the league.

The Blue Jackets’ saving grace is the fact that they do a good job of controlling possession and limiting the quality of chances of their opponent. While they might be able to play that way against the majority of teams in the league, the Tampa Bay Lightning is one team that’ll get what they want.

The defending Stanley Cup Champions are obviously one of the best teams in the league when it comes to controlling the puck and generating scoring chances. Even if Columbus plays their best game defensively, there’s enough talent on the Lightning roster to hurt them.

With names like Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point, people immediately think offense when they consider the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, that’s a great disrespect to their defense and goaltending.

What many people don’t realize about the Lightning is that they are one of the better teams in the league defensively. Last season, the Lightning were the 4th best team in the league when it came to expected goals against and high danger chances against.

Andrei Vasilevskiy plays almost every night for the Lightning, and he’s one of the best goalies in the league. He has been nominated for the Vezina trophy in three straight seasons, winning one of them.

Combine the absence of Dubois with the daunting opponent, and I think Columbus will struggle to score.

The Bet: Columbus Team Total Under 2.5 Goals (-112)

What Happened the First Time McGregor Fought Poirier at UFC 178?

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What Happened the First Time Conor McGregor Fought Dustin Poirier at UFC 178?

This weekend, all eyes will be on UFC 257 as the company’s biggest name, Conor McGregor, makes his return to the octagon after more than a year away from the sport of mixed martial arts.

In his return, he’ll be facing off against one of the best lightweights in the world in Dustin Poirier. Poirier is the No. 2 contender in the lightweight division and the No. 7 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the entire company.

McGregor is ranked fourth in the weight class and 13th in the pound-for-pound rankings, but still comes into Saturday night’s UFC 257 main event as a sizeable favorite. Why is that? At least part of the reason is the fact that McGregor has already beaten Poirier, in a first-round TKO back in 2014. But what exactly happened the first time Conor McGregor fought Dustin Poirier at UFC 178? Let’s take a look.

Poirier vs. McGregor – UFC 178

Almost everything was different the first time these two fought. The first bout was fought at featherweight, featured a McGregor that opened as an underdog and trotted out two fighters that had yet to ascend to superstardom.

McGregor opened as a +190 underdog prior to the fight getting underway, but, due to a large number of bets coming in on the Irishman, his odds were slashed all the way down to -276 by the time he stepped in the cage.

From the very start of the fight, McGregor looked to be the aggressor. He started out with a flurry of spinning back kicks, an attempted hook kick and combinations that landed flush. Eventually, just 1:46 into the first round, a left hook caught Poirier behind the ear, sending him to the mat and allowing McGregor to finish the fight while raining down strikes.

At -276, oddsmakers were implying a 73.4% chance McGregor would win, which he did in less than two minutes. Poirier opened at -225 but went off at +159, odds that imply just a 38.6% shot at victory.

Want more action on the fight? Check out our picks for Saturday from our expert UFC analyst, who’s made profit on 11 straight UFC events!

There will be no massive odds shift for this Saturday’s fight, as McGregor has been the overwhelming favorite since the fight was announced. McGregor is currently a -300 favorite over Poirier, whose best odds sit at +250 just a few days away from UFC 257.

Fighter UFC 178 Odds UFC 257 Odds (Click to Bet) Conor McGregor -276 -300 Dustin Poirier +159 +250

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