NHL weekend best bets: Senators to get back on track

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The (short) Thanksgiving break is over, and the NHL returns to action in full force. There will be a ton of games over the next couple of days, starting with a handful of matinees on Friday.

Let's waste no time and get to our best bets for the weekend ahead.

Flames (-120) @ Capitals (+100)
Nov. 25, 2:00 p.m. EST

The Capitals are off to a miserable start this season, having won just eight of 21 games (38%) thus far.

It's fair to say injuries have played a big part, but unfortunately for Washington, that doesn't matter much. The team has to find a way to get by with what it has, and it is not doing that.

To their credit, the Caps have played teams fairly evenly at five-on-five lately. That's a winning recipe when they have a full arsenal and can outscore expectations. It's simply not enough with the likes of Tom Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom, Connor Brown, and Dmitry Orlov out of the lineup - the squad doesn't have the depth.

Although the Flames have also disappointed, they have played an extremely difficult schedule while a handful of new players try to adjust to key roles.

The numbers suggest Calgary's on the right track, having controlled well over 53% of the expected goal share over the last eight to sit eighth in the league during that span.

With a little more luck - they've scored on just over 6% of their five-on-five shots in that span - the Flames would have garnered an extra win or two and perhaps would be bigger favorites entering this contest.

The power play is where Washington could do some real damage, so if Calgary can stay disciplined in this game and limit the opportunities for Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, and Co., the team should be able to get two points.

Bet: Flames (-120)

Senators (-135) @ Ducks (+115)
Nov. 25, 3:00 p.m. EST

The Senators and Ducks enter this contest with six wins and 13 points each but make no mistake - they are very different teams.

As poorly as things have gone for the Sens, they still appear to be a level or two clear of the Ducks.

If looking at surface-level numbers, Ottawa edges Anaheim in goal differential by 21. The former has lost a lot of close games, while the latter gets blown out frequently.

It is no coincidence that the Ducks took 20 games to get their first regulation win of the campaign. On the year, they have controlled just 40% of the expected goal share - and 39% of the high-danger chances - at five-on-five.

Ottawa sits comfortably above 50% in each category, which isn't all that surprising given its personnel (up front, anyway). Even without Josh Norris, they have plenty of high-quality forwards - Alex DeBrincat, Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle, Claude Giroux, etc. - that can create chances and really threaten.

I think the top half of the Senators' roster will have its way with this Ducks defense. The chances should be there in bulk, and besides the last outing against the Rangers, Anaheim hasn't really had John Gibson steal many games this season.

This is the kind of game where it should prove fruitful for Ottawa to generate a handful more chances than its opponent. Look for them to get back on track with a much-needed win.

Bet: Senators (-130)

Bonus round: Look to back the Colorado Avalanche at home to Dallas on Saturday evening. Despite all the injuries, the Avalanche have posted much better five-on-five numbers of late. Their game Friday night has been postponed, which means they'll be rested and have either netminder available to them against a Stars team that will be playing in the latter half of a back-to-back. The Avalanche should open around -130 favorites and I expect they'll close in the -145 range.

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

NHL weekend best bets: Senators to get back on track
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