It’s a short schedule today with just five NHL games to bet on and just four evening games as we have an early start between the Oilers and Senators in Ottawa. However, one of the evening games features the Avalanche and Wild as coupe of West Division teams get together tonight in Minnesota!
Moneyline Betting Odds
Colorado Avalanche (-190)
Minnesota Wild (+165)
Puck Line Betting Odds
Colorado Avalanche -1.5 (+135)
Minnesota Wild +1.5 (-155)
Over/Under Betting Odds
Over 5.5 (-105)
Under 5.5 (-115)
Avalanche vs Wild NHL Pick Breakdown
Looking at the Colorado Avalanche
Look out, because the pre-season Stanley Cup champions are rolling downhill and destroying anything that’s been in its path of late. That’s right, the Avs are winners of eight of their last 10, but they are also 13-0-2 over a 15-game point streak that they’ll bring into this one while they’ve outscored their opponents by a 38-goal differential during that time.
Their team stats are just littering the NHL’s leaderboards at this point. Speaking to their offense, the Avs rank first in the NHL with 3.61 goals per game on the season and that’s even with a power play that sits 10th with a solid 23.6% clip.
The advanced metrics are right there backing them up as the Avs rank first in scoring chances for/60, sixth in high-danger chances for/60 and first once again in expected goals for/60 at 5v5, according to Natural Stat Trick. Given the tear they’ve been on of late, their 3.08 goals for/60 at 5v5 this season is well above their 2.59 expected mark, however we can all agree that this is indeed perhaps the most potent offense in the NHL.
Over their last 10 games, the Avalanche hav averaged a cool 4.60 goals per game and have fared quite well against the Wild of late, scoring 11 goals over their last two games against this Minnesota club.
Not Just Offense
Not only do the Avs score with the best of em’, they’ve also defended as well as anyone in the NHL. The Avs enter this one ranked second with just 2.26 goals against per game, behind only the Vegas Golden Knights who sit first with 2.24 goals against per game on the season. They’ve also been elite on the penalty kill, ranking second in that department as well with an 86.1% mark that’s bested by only the Boston Bruins and their 88.7% mark.
Not only have they dominated on the penalty kill, but they’ve been an elite 5v5 defense as well. At 5v5 this season, the Avs’ defense ranks first in scoring chances against/60, third in high-danger chances against/60 and first again in expected goals against/60. The Avs actually yielded four goals to this Wild club in the first game of this two-game set on Monday, snapping a six-game stretch of allowing no more than three goals in a game.
Over their last 10, the Avs have allowed just 2.20 goals against per game, but also just 2.00 regulation goals against per game as they’ve lost in overtime and shootout during that stretch. The club remains without Erik Johnson and Bowen Byram at the moment, but it hasn’t mattered who is healthy and who isn’t of late as this defense is playing with excellent structure night in and night out.
Of course, you don’t rank near the top of the league in overall defense without great goaltending and that’s precisely what the Avalanche have gotten out of Philipp Grubauer who continues to keep his name in the Vezina Trophy conversation.
Grubauer will enter this one sporting a stout 1.83 GAA and .926 Sv% on the season, going 24-7-1 in the process. He’s collected five shutouts in that time, although he hasn’t been as sharp of late. Grubauer surrendered four goals to the Wild on Monday and while he allowed just one the game prior, he owns an .899 Sv% over his last four outings.
Nonetheless, he’s been a stalwart for the first-place Avs this season, and it’s a good thing as backup Pavel Francouz has been out for the entire season so far with a lower-body injury. It doesn’t appear he’s close to returning at all with zero updates on his status, so look for Grubauer to continue to carry the load as the Avs try and stave off the Vegas Golden Knights for top spot in the West.
In the top-heavy West Division, the Wild had an opportunity to make some noise this season and they’ve done just that as they has surpassed the St. Louis Blues and Arizona Coyotes, now sitting rather comfortably at third in the division, just four points behind Vegas and five up on Arizona with two games in hand. To be honest, they should have been a normal, 16-team playoff team last season had it not been for some of the worst goaltending in the NHL.
Nonetheless, the Wild are getting it done this year in most facets, especially on defense, just as they did a season ago. A 29th-ranked save percentage destroyed their league-best underlying defensive metrics last season, but that hasn’t been the case this time around. Overall, the Wild are tied for eighth with 2.51 goals against per game on the season and sit just one spot behind the Avs are third with their 85.7% penalty kill on the campaign.
Their underlying metrics aren’t as good as last season, and while they rank 19th in scoring chances against/60, they also rank sixth in high-danger chances against/60 and 18th in expected goals against/60. Those numbers have slipped as the season has moved along since an elite start to the season, but they’re still preventing goals at a top-10 rate.
Power (Play) Outage
As expected, the Wild’s offense hasn’t been great nor poor as they sit 15th with 2.89 goals per game on the season, but a 30th-ranked 12% power-play clip has destroyed their chances of getting into the league’s top 10 offenses.
Their underlying offensive metrics have been good as they rank eight in high-danger chances for/60 and 10th in expected goals for/60 at 5v5 this season, and their 2.69 goals/60 at 5v5 is above their 2.29 expected mark. Nonetheless, while they’ve been able to generate opportunities at 5v5, their power play has killed this offense’s ceiling this season.
The key to the offseason was stabilizing the goaltending position, and they did just that when they signed Cam Talbot to a three-year deal in the offseason. Rookie Kaapo Kahkonen was surprisingly thrust into starting duty for a long stretch earlier in the season, and while he’s been fantastic himself, it’s Talbot who will get the nod in this one tonight opposite Grubauer.
Coming off a major resurgence with the Flames last season, Talbot has been everything the Wild could have hoped for this season as he’ll carry a 2.41 GAA and .924 Sv% into action tonight with a pair of shutouts across 20 starts, going 11-6-2 in the process. The funny thing is that he has been absolutely torched by the Avs, but has been elite again pretty much everyone else.
Over his last 10 starts, Talbot has allowed two goals or fewer seven times, and one goal or less five times. He’s only allowed more than three goals twice in that span, both against the Avs as he’s allowed 10 goals over his last two games against them. Now, it’s hardly his fault. The Avs peppered Talbot with a whopping 91 shots in those two games, and he did fairly well to post an .890 Sv% in that time. Not a bad mark considering the workload. Nonetheless we’ll see if the veteran puckstopper can bounce back and silence the white-hot Avs in this one.
Avalanche vs Wild NHL Pick
The Wild mounted a furious third-period comeback attempt against the Avs on Monday, but couldn’t catch up from a 4-1 deficit after two despite scoring three third-period tallies in that one. But you know what? I’m on the Wild tonight.
Call it moneyline suicide, but I will bet the Avalanche lose another game this season. They’re not running the table across their final 18 games of the season, regardless of how hot they might be at the moment. The metrics have regressed, but the Wild are a very good defensive team with a great penalty kill, just like Colorado. Are the Avalanche the superior team? Absolutely. Are they due to lose? Absolutely.
This Wild team is the perfect club to give them a run for their money during this 15-game point streak Colorado has going, and with the way Talbot has generally played of late compared to how Grubauer has somewhat scuffled of late, I like this spot. Add in the big value at +165 on the moneyline betting option and I’ll take the huge home dogs tonight.
As a recent addition to the GamblingSites.org team, James Peralta has been covering everything about casinos, sports, and laws that are specific to online gambling in Canada. James started writing about sports in 2007 during his first year at U of T Mississauga. ...
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