Ducks vs. Avalanche NHL Odds & Pick: How to Back Colorado as Large Favorite (March 5)

Ducks vs. Avalanche NHL Odds & Pick: How to Back Colorado as Large Favorite (March 5) article feature image

Kevin Abele/Getty Images. Pictured: Mikko Rantanen (96) talks with his team.

  • Colorado sits in a playoff position but has failed to live up to preseason Stanley Cup expectations.
  • Anaheim has lost eight in a row and sits in last place in the NHL's West Division.
  • Pete Truszkowski explains how to still make money on the Avs despite being heavily favored.

Ducks vs. Avalanche Odds

Ducks Odds+200
Avalanche Odds-250
Time9 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday night and via BetMGM

It’ll be a tale of two teams in Colorado on Friday when the Avalanche play host to the Anaheim Ducks. Colorado has been unspectacular and somewhat disappointing to begin the season, but they’re still considered to be a Stanley Cup favorite by most. On the other hand, the Anaheim Ducks are amongst the worst teams in the league. 

The line reflects the fact that this is a mismatch, with the Avs being substantial favorites. Do we dare bet the underdog Ducks? Or is there a more cost-effective way to bet the favorite?

Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks enter this game in last place in the NHL’s West Division, posting a record of 6-12-5 through their first 23 games. Anaheim has lost eight straight games as their season has spiraled. At this point, it’s safe to say the damage is irreparable. 

The Ducks have dealt with two main problems to begin this year: a lack of talent and poor goaltending. 

The metrics say the Ducks are a middle-of-the-pack team offensively. Anaheim’s expected goals per hour ranks 18th. They’re also middle of the pack when it comes to high danger chances and shot attempts at 5-on-5. Despite this, the Ducks rank 31st, or dead last, in goals per game, scoring just over two goals a night. 

The main issue is a lack of talent. Max Comtois has been impressive for Anaheim, as the youngster has nine goals and 15 points on the season. However, outside of Comtois, no Ducks player has more than five goals. Ryan Getzlaf, Jakob Silfverberg, and Adam Henrique look to be past their prime, while younger players like Trevor Zegras are not yet performing at a high level. 

Anaheim’s most talented player is their goaltender, John Gibson. However, the American born goaltender has struggled mightily. Gibson has given up at least three goals in seven straight games. He’s barely stopping 90% of the shots he’s facing. His goals saved above expectation is -2.8. 

The Ducks are not good defensively, but Gibson usually bails them out and covers that wart. He hasn’t done that this year. Couple that with their offensive woes, and it’s no surprise to see Anaheim struggling to win games. 

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Colorado Avalanche

It might sound crazy to say a team with a 12-7-1 record that sits in a playoff spot has been a disappointment, but it’s hard to argue the Colorado Avalanche haven’t been. Pegged by many, including oddsmakers, as the favorites to win the Stanley Cup in the pre-season, the Avs have been solid but far from dominant.

The underlying metrics paint a slightly brighter picture for Colorado. They rank first in the league in shot attempt rate while clocking in at third in expected-goal rate. It’s been a team effort too, as the Avs rank sixth in both expected goals scored and expected goals against. 

Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nathan MacKinnon

Despite that balance, it’s actually been the Avalanche's ability to keep the puck out of their net that has sparked their winning. When you look at the talent up front for Colorado, the defense isn’t what you’d expect to lead the team. However, Colorado ranks fifth in the league, allowing under 2.5 goals a night. Unfortunately, they are dealing with some injuries on the back end. Cale Makar will be out for this game, along with Erik Johnson and perhaps Bowen Byram. Even if the defense falters, goaltender Philipp Grubauer has been solid. He ranks top ten in the league in goals saved above expectation. 

Colorado’s offense ranks 14th in terms of goals per game, so it’s hard to be too mad about a team that ranks towards the middle of the league. With that being said, the expectations were for a top-five offense, and that hasn’t been the case. It’s only a matter of time until players like Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri, Gabriel Landeskog and Andre Burakovsky start putting up crooked numbers. 

Ducks vs. Avalanche Best Bet

It’s no surprise to see the Avalanche as huge favorites in this game. They are a very good team that has even higher expectations. Anaheim is one of the worst teams in the league. Colorado is home. It all makes sense. 

It should come as no surprise that we’re avoiding the moneyline in this game. You don’t bet -250 favorites in hockey as there’s too much variance in the game. I would lean towards betting the Ducks at this price if Gibson was his usual self. However, with him struggling, the avenues to an Anaheim victory get harder to find. If I had a higher tolerance for pain, I’d play the Ducks, but I don’t want to begin my weekend that way.

The mismatch between these two teams is wide enough where it makes sense to look towards the puck-line. It’s worth noting that the Ducks are on an eight-game losing streak but Anaheim has lost five straight games by one goal. They aren’t getting blown out. 

However, I think that changes here. Anaheim will struggle to score against this defensive unit. Grubauer has been very good to begin the year. The Ducks rank last in goals per game, and the Avs aren’t the team to play if you want to fix that. The Avs offense should be able to score a few on Gibson.

I think Colorado wins this game handily. 

Pick: Colorado -1.5 (+115)

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