NHL Picks: Senators vs. Jets

David Lawrence

Friday, January 18, 2013 8:55 PM GMT

Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 8:55 PM GMT

Can the Jets tuck all of those bad off-season issues away for now, with an opening-day win against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday? Let's try to define who to choose for our hockey picks.

NHL Betting – Senators vs Jets NHL Picks

The Winnipeg Jets have had an interesting offseason where a number of their supposed team leaders – who all are being paid to be franchise cornerstones, I might add – embarrassed the team’s brass. From Ondrej Pavelec and Dustin Byfuglien getting into DUI trouble and Evander Kane Instagramming his lavish life in Las Vegas, the Jets have some questions.

Record: 0-0

The Ottawa Senators can win because…

They’re the better team. Aside from being at a slight disadvantage since they are on the road, which might not be huge considering the Sens were 21-14-6 away from home last season, they’re the better team. But will this be enough to beat the NHL Betting odds that have been set?

It might surprise you but the Sens score a lot of goals – or at least they did last year. They finished fourth in the league with 243 goals and should be even better now that young prospect Jakob Silfverberg is ready to blossom. The team also added Guillaume Latendresse, so they really have a couple of pretty good scoring lines. That could be a problem for the Jets, whose defense is suspect and who tend to give up tons of shots on net.

The Senators won three of the four matchups with Winnipeg last season, collecting both wins in Winnipeg with equal 6-4 margins. If this is a high-scoring affair, the Sens should do just fine. 

The Winnipeg Jets can win because…

They are at home on opening day. That surely counts for plenty.

Home-ice advantage might not mean a lot to many teams in the NHL these days but it sure means quite a bit to the Jets. They were 23-13-5 at home last season compared to 14-22-5 on the road. The biggest difference was the performance of goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, who shaved nearly a full goal off his GAA when playing at home.

In the 2011-12 season, Pavelec was 10-16-5 on the road with a 3.42 GAA and an .895 save percentage. At home, he was 19-12-4 with a 2.47 GAA and a .917 save percentage. That’s a huge difference and should be considered when making an NHL pick on this one..

The Jets are mostly a young team that relies on burgeoning players like Mark Scheifele (19-years-old), Evander Kane (21) and Alex Burmistrov (21). They’re all still a bit green to this league and playing at home helps their confidence. Scheifele doesn’t have much NHL experience but the latter two notched noticeably more points at home than on the road last season.

[gameodds]7/134432/43/us[/gameodds]

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:

I just don’t feel that the Jets are deserved of being a -130 favorite in this spot. Sure, they were noticeably better at home than on the road last year but I don’t think this team is any better than they were a year ago.

Meanwhile, the Senators have a better-than a coin-flip chance to win this game but they’re the underdog. Their young team should be a little bit better this year. They’ll prove last season was no fluke by going to Winnipeg and notching the win.

NHL Picks: Senators +120 at Pinnacle Sports

See my pick on the Penguins vs. Flyers here~

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