Blues vs. Avalanche NHL Odds & Pick: Colorado Should Roll Over St. Louis (April 3)
Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Cale Makar of the Avalanche and Jake Walman of the Blues.
- Colorado is the cream of the crop and hasn't been beaten in 13 games.
- Meanwhile, St. Louis looks nothing like it did in 2019 as it tries to squeeze into the playoffs.
- Pete Truszkowski explains why he likes the Avs to make it 14 in a row.
Blues vs. Avalanche Odds
|Time||9:00 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday night and via BetMGM.|
Coming into the season, the Colorado Avalanche were the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup. It started a bit slowly, but at this point it’s crystal clear that the Avalanche are the team to beat.
The St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup in 2019, but currently they’re fighting for their playoff lives in this shortened season. What can we expect as these teams meet for the second time in two nights?
St. Louis Blues
After their triumph in 2019, many considered the St. Louis Blues amongst the elite teams in the league. Most prognosticators had them penciled into the top three of the NHL’s West Division and comfortably in a playoff spot. However, the Blues have won just two of their last 12 games and find themselves holding onto the final playoff spot by the skin of their teeth.
Despite their extended losing ways, the Blues still sit above .500, but they’ve given up more goals than they’ve scored which suggests they’ve been lucky in close games.
Under the hood, it’s not great for St. Louis. Their 49.1% expected goal rate is below average and ranks them near the bottom third of the league. The Blues are also below league average in both shot attempt rate and high danger chance percentage. Their even strength save percentage is bottom five in the league. They rank 25th in expected goals scored per hour and are around league average defensively.
David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly lead the Blues’ offensive attack, and both are contributing near a point per game on the season. Vladimir Tarasenko has just two goals in 11 games since returning from injury, and players like Brayden Schenn and Jordan Kyrou have slowed their offensive production over the past month.
With Jordan Binnington playing on Friday night, it’s likely we see Ville Husso in between the pipes for the Blues on Saturday. Husso is stopping just 88.5% of the shots he’s faced in 11 appearances this season. His -8.1 goals saved above expectation (GSAx) mark ranks near the bottom amongst qualifying goaltenders.
The Colorado Avalanche have now gone 13 games without losing in regulation. They show no signs of slowing down either.
Colorado currently leads the league in goals per game as well as goals against per game. They have the best goal differential in the league. It might have taken a few weeks for this team to start firing on all cylinders, but they are certainly there now.
Under the hood, things might look even better for Colorado. They lead the league with an expected goal rate near 61%. They also have the highest shot attempt share in hockey while being in the top three when it comes to high danger chance percentage. Colorado leads the NHL in both expected goals scored and expected goals against per hour at 5-on-5. Dominant is an understatement.
Offensively, the team is led by Nathan MacKinnon who most consider a top-three player in the sport. Mikko Rantanen is his linemate and is also producing at a high rate. Gabriel Landeskog, Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky highlight the rest of the dangerous forward group. Colorado also gets contributions from the back-end from defensemen like Cale Makar, Samuel Girard and Devon Toews.
Backup goaltender Jonas Johansson got the nod for the Avs on Friday, which means we should see starter Philipp Grubauer on Saturday. Grubauer is stopping nearly 93% of the shots he’s seen and ranks eighth best in GSAx.
Blues vs. Avalanche Best Bet
This is a matchup between an elite team firing on all cylinders and a faltering team, and that’s obvious when looking at the odds. In most cases, I’d look towards the Blues at such high plus-money odds, but stepping in front of this Colorado wagon is not my idea of fun on a Saturday night.
While these teams aren’t even remotely even with both teams playing the optimal line-up, the goaltending matchup in this one makes things worse for the Blues. St. Louis gave Jordan Binnington the nod on Friday, which means they’ll likely turn to their back-up on Saturday. Husso has not been good this year and inspires little confidence. On the flip-side, Colorado played their back-up in the opener, so we should see Grubauer on Saturday.
Colorado has been the most dominant team in the league over the past few weeks, and betting on that to change seems foolish. Laying -250 in a regular season NHL game is a recipe for disaster, so that’s out of the question.
With the discrepancy between these teams, I’d look towards betting Colorado on the puck-line. The Avs have scored 53 goals in their last 10 games so their offense is red-hot. Husso isn’t the goalie I’d back to slow down this attack.
Pick: Colorado -1.5 (+115)