Bruins vs. Canadiens prediction: how we’re betting this mismatched matchup

Boston hunts for 6th straight win vs. tanking Montreal

Bruins vs Canadiens predictions
Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) gloves the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in Newark, N.J. The Associated Press

Our Bruins vs. Canadiens prediction will come during the most lopsided game of the NHL season. 

The Bruins have built a 12-point advantage over the rest of the NHL and they’re on a five-game winning streak. The Bruins are also 9-1 over their past 10 games.

Meanwhile, the Canadiens are second to last in the Eastern Conference. They’ve just beaten the Toronto Maple Leafs at home, so they are primed for a letdown game against a stacked opponent. 

Therefore, the Bruins are four-to-one favorites on the ML at many sportsbooks, including Caesars. 

How do we find value in a matchup like this? 

Bruins Canadiens odds

Moneyline: Bruins (-420) vs. Canadiens (+320)

Spread: Bruins -1.5 (-155) vs. Canadiens +1.5 (+130)

Total: Over 6 (-110) | Under 6 (-110)

Bruins Canadiens prediction

Under 6 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

It’s impossible to find value on a side here. Everything points toward a dominant Bruins victory, but there’s no value with a -400 ML favorite.

However, we can likely bank on a letdown game for both teams. 

Let’s start with Montreal. 

As mentioned, the Canadiens are coming off a monster upset victory over rival Toronto, so they’re already primed for a classic letdown game. But things get worse when you consider the state of the roster. 

Per Josh Inglis of Covers, Canadiens skaters Cole Caufield, Juraj Slafkovsky, Brendan Gallagher, Jake Evans, Sean Monahan, Jonathan Drouin, Joel Armia and Paul Byron are all out. Montreal will be severely shorthanded.

For Boston, the reasons are more subtle. 

Boston has won five straight and is staring down a five-game road trip, with this trip to Montreal kicking it off. Over the next week, the Bruins will play in Tampa Bay, Miami, Raleigh and Toronto. 

It’s a sandwich spot for the Bruins, who likely will sleepwalk through the Bell Centre against a Montreal team actively tanking. Coach Jim Montgomery wants to get in and get out with an ugly win so he can focus on the rest of the road trip. 

Put both sides together, and I expect to see plenty of lackadaisical, lousy hockey — especially from the top lines (if Montreal even has one right now). 

However, I don’t expect goaltending to be an issue on either side.

Per Money Puck, Montreal is starting goaltender Sam Montembeault, who, despite playing seven fewer games than fellow goalie Jake Allen, has accumulated the most Goals Saved Above Expected for the team (12.5). Montembeault is the best goalie the Canadiens have.

Meanwhile, the Bruins will trot out Linus Ullmark or backup Jeremy Swayman. Ullmark is the likely Vezina winner, while Swayman has a .967 save percentage over his past five starts. 

Ultimately, I expect a very low-scoring game from two half-dead hockey teams against two top-tier goalies, so I’ll happily bet the under 6 (-110) available at Caesars Sportsbook.

The Action Network App has tracked sharp and smart money on the under, and the Bruins are 7-3 to the under over the past 10 games. So, I feel confident my prediction is the best bet for this matchup.

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Vegas Insider

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