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Montreal Canadiens (-1.5)
I’ve picked against the Habs enough in these last few weeks that I’m finally going to start believing in them.
After the 5-1 thumping of the Jets in Game 3, you’d think Montreal have taken the will out of their Western Canadian foes. Climbing out of a 3-0 hole is bad enough for Winnipeg, but having to do it on the road makes it seem a heck of a lot harder.
I’ve been stunned by the precision that Montreal has played with throughout the series. I’ve also been shocked by how lost Winnipeg looks when it comes to generating offense. Losing Mark Scheifele was always going to negatively impact the team, but to see them look completely inept when it comes to finding goals is especially jarring.
With Winnipeg’s backs against the wall, they basically have two choices: Fight or roll over. Their best, however, has not been good enough yet in this series and they still won’t have Scheifele for Game 4 as he still has two games left on his suspension.
On top of that, Carey Price has been on his game, playing at a level that no one looks capable of breaking through. His comfort in the crease has to be jarring for the opposition because he doesn’t even look like he’s breaking a sweat in these games.
Meanwhile, Montreal’s offense has been on fire, putting up five goals in two of the three games so far. That’s why I’m looking at the Habs to close this series out in emphatic fashion, with a multi-goal victory. You’d have to figure the Jets in desperation mode will have their goalie out early if they face a deficit and that could give the Habs ample opportunity to extend their lead and close out the series.
Under 5.5 total goals
Game 3 just barely nipped the over, but I don’t see the Jets simply going quietly into the night here. I think they’ll do their best to push back and get some decent goaltending from Connor Hellebuyck. Good enough to keep the score line relatively low.
I still think the Habs are going to be pumping a few in, though, as they look to end this series and get themselves some rest before having to face either the Colorado Avalanche or Vegas Golden Knights, who will be the best team they face no matter what.
I think Price and Hellebuyck are going to do enough to keep the goals down.
Nick Suzuki to score anytime
I have just loved the way Nick Suzuki has played in these playoffs. He had another goal in Game 3, his fourth of the postseason. He’s also put up points in five of his last six games and always seems to be around the net.
He’s a young player that plays so far beyond his age, making an impact on the game in so many ways. He’s been a top goalscorer for Montreal in the postseason so far and if they’re going to eliminate the Jets, I think he’s going to have something to do with it.
Suzuki has also taken 20 shots on goal through this postseason, averaging two per game. It’s not a huge number, but the way he’s been going of late, you have to think he’s going to factor in some way.
Cole Caufield to score 1+ points
I like the value here, especially since I thought Caufield was one of Montreal’s best forwards in Game 3. He’s making the most of the experience he is gaining and has been closer and closer to getting that first playoff goal. He assisted on Suzuki’s goal on Sunday night and things just seem to be clicking for him.
Caufield is averaging about 15 minutes of ice time each game, has three assists so far in the postseason and just seems to be getting better every game. He gave the Winnipeg defense fits in Game 3 and I think that will continue in Game 4 as his youthful energy will override any lingering fatigue from playing back-to-backs.
BOOSTED DOUBLE: Montreal to win & under 5.5 goals
BOOSTED DOUBLE: Nick Suzuki & Cole Caufield both to score 1+ points
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