Remember all of that relocation talk about the Arizona Coyotes? I’m starting to wonder if that actually happened. Yeah, there’s still a NHL team playing in Arizona these days, but it looks nothing like the miserable outfit that patrolled the desert ice over the past decade. It’s as if NHL commissioner Gary Bettman swooped in one night, took the old roster out of town and dressed up a bunch of new players in Coyotes jerseys.

Granted, the Coyotes are just 5-5 on the year and sit second-last in the Pacific Division. But even being .500 at this point in the campaign represents a huge improvement on what we’ve seen from the Yotes in years past. To put things in perspective, Saturday’s 7-1 rout of the Tampa Bay Lightning was the fourth time Arizona has won in regulation time this season. The Coyotes’ fourth regulation-time victory last year didn’t take place until after Christmas.

It looks like Arizona has a great chance to keep rolling tonight when it hosts the Ottawa Senators, a team most pundits picked to finish at or near the bottom of the Eastern Conference this year. Are the Coyotes worth a wager to pick up their fourth straight victory, is there value on Ottawa as the road underdog here, or is there a better way to bet this game? Allow me to break it down in this edition of our NHL pick of the week as we look to improve to 3-1 on the year in this weekly series.

Ottawa Senators vs. Arizona Coyotes Betting Odds

If you’re going to back the Coyotes right now, oddsmakers are going to make you pay a much heavier price than we’re accustomed to seeing in Arizona games. The Yotes were -185 favorites on the moneyline at the time of writing, and you’d even have to lay some juice (-115) if you laid half a puck with Arizona in regulation time. (If you’re not familiar with that wager, it’s when you require your team to win the game in the first 60 minutes. It’s a great way to get better odds on a team you like, but you run the risk of losing your wager if the game goes to overtime or a shootout.)

The other side of the equation is the potential for a big payday with the Senators. Ottawa pays a tempting +166 on the moneyline, and an even more attractive +240 to win the game in regulation time. Both teams have been scoring goals with regularity lately, so the Over 5.5 might be worth a serious look as well. Oddsmakers seem to be thinking that way, shading the Over at -110 odds as of the time of writing. Anyone brave enough to back the Under here can be rewarded with a shot at even-money payback at +100 odds.

All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from at 1 p.m eastern on October 30, 2018. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.

Senators Leaky on the Road

No one could accuse the Senators of playing stellar defense anywhere this season. But the Sens have been particularly inept in that department on the road, where they’ve been carved for 19 goals against in just four games as the visitor. A couple of nights ago in Vegas, they let several leads slip away in a 4-3 OT loss. The game before that, Craig Anderson and company allowed the Avalanche to put up a 6-spot. In fact, a 5-3 win at Toronto in the opening week is the only time this season that the Sens haven’t given up at least 4 goals on the highway.

Penalty-killing has been a huge issue for Ottawa so far. The Senators have given at least 1 power play goal in 8 of their last 9 games, and their PK ranks third-worst in the entire league with a success rate of only 69.4%.

The good news for Ottawa fans, at least early in the season, was that the offense was putting up enough numbers to offset that poor defensive play. But after lighting the lamp 28 times in their first 7 games, the Sens have been limited to just 7 goals in their last 3 games.

Coyotes Playing With Tons of Confidence

At the start of the year, it looked like Arizona fans were in for another miserable campaign. The Coyotes were shut out in three of their first five games, bringing back memories of last year’s team that started the season 0-10-1 and finished second-last in the league with just 208 goals scored.

But things have started to click in a big way for the Coyotes since. Arizona has scored at least 3 goals in 5 straight games, and it’s not as if the Yotes are just picking on defensive weaklings. Tampa Bay had been one of the league’s best defensive teams until getting lit up for 7 goals Saturday in Phoenix, and the Coyotes also managed to score 3 goals against a stingy Jets team in Winnipeg.

Offense can be contagious, and it’s clear that Arizona players are expecting good things to happen right now when they take the ice. Best of all, the scoring has been balanced, with none of Arizona’s players having more than 7 points and 8 players having produced at least 4 points apiece. “The puck’s going in for a lot of guys right now and it makes it a lot easier,” forward Michael Grabner told reporters.

Want one more reason to think the Coyotes’ scoring streak is sustainable, at least for now? They’re producing most of that offense at even strength (or even short-handed, having scored 4 goals over their last 2 games while playing a man down). Once Arizona’s 31st-ranked power play starts clicking (something it’s got strong potential to do against Ottawa’s woeful penalty killing), the Coyotes’ attack should get even better.

One other positive in the desert right now is that all of these goals haven’t come at the expense of playing quality defense. Arizona has allowed 1 goal in each of its last 3 games and 4 of the last 5, and the Yotes have given up more than 3 on just one occasion this season. That suggests this team is playing strong hockey at both ends of the ice right now, and exactly the type of squad I’m interested in backing.

Ottawa Senators vs. Arizona Coyotes Betting Pick

Like I mentioned when talking about the betting odds on this game, the cat’s out of the bag when it comes to Arizona’s recent success. Oddsmakers are hardly asleep at the switch, pricing the Coyotes as near -200 favorites for the second time in their last three games.

However, I still think there’s value on Arizona, as steep as those prices are. People are already reluctant to bet on the Coyotes in this price range because of their reputation, so juicing the Yotes any higher would only lead to way more money on Ottawa. Fortunately, there’s another way to play this game without risking nearly $2 for every $1 you want to win — taking the Coyotes to get the job done in regulation time instead.

Ottawa’s playing its final game of a 3-game road trip in which the Senators have fought hard, holding leads in games at Colorado and Vegas. But falling apart late in games and losing takes its toll on a team, and I’m not sure we get a spirited effort from the Senators once again here. Meanwhile, the Coyotes will take to the ice with unprecedented confidence as they look for their fifth win over Ottawa in the last seven meetings.

Barring a letdown from Arizona after its dominant win over Tampa Bay, I think the Coyotes win this game with relative ease. For my NHL bet of the week, I’m taking Arizona on the 3-way moneyline (must win in regulation time) at -115 odds.

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