NHL Best Bets for Avalanche vs Stars Tonight

NHL Best Bets for Avalanche vs Stars Tonight article feature image

Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Cale Makar #8 of the Colorado Avalanche

Check out Nicholas Martin's NHL best bets tonight for Avalanche vs. Stars tonight.

While the Stars are a worthy favorite to win the Stanley Cup Playoff at +240 odds, their dominant Game 4 victory clearly revolved around far more than their strong play.

The Avalanche found out hours before puck drop that Valeri Nichushkin would be suspended for six months and placed in stage 3 of the league’s player assistance program. In interviews, Avs' skaters made it clear that the situation had taken its toll on the group, and their poor performance likely came down to more than simply not having a superstar in the lineup.

On top of the Nichushkin news, the Avalanche played Game 4 without Devon Toews, who is among the more important skaters in the entire league. He forms one-half of the best defense pairing in hockey alongside Cale Makar. He's considered a game-time decision for Avalanche vs. Stars tonight.

Now the Avalanche will look to bounce back with their season on the line, and I think we can count on some resilient play from a couple of the game's best players.

The Stars ran into some bad luck of their own. Top center Roope Hintz was injured in Game 4 and will be out of the lineup for this matchup. His absence will offer slightly more favorable matchups to the Avs' top skaters, and it'll force the breakout player from this postseason into a heightened role.

Here are my best bets for this critical Avalanche vs. Stars Game 5.

(Hockey fans: Maximize your Stanley Cup Playoffs action with our FanDuel promo code tonight!)

NHL Best Bets Tonight

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our NHL betting staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

GameTime (ET)Pick
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NHL Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Avalanche vs. Stars

Wednesday, May 15
8 p.m. ET
Wyatt Johnston Over 2.5 SOG in Regulation (-165)

With Roope Hintz sidelined, we should count on an elevated role for Wyatt Johnston in Game 5 considering the way he has played in this series.

Wyatt Johnston Game 4 pic.twitter.com/RDQ92ljGYr

— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) May 14, 2024

Johnston put up two goals, one assist, and eight shots in Game 4. He was rightfully named the game's first star, and he's now down to only +1200 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.

With Johnston on the ice, Dallas generated 3.88 xGF and out-chanced the Avalanche 20-9.

Whether he remains at even strength with Jamie Benn and Joe Pavelski on that effective line, or whether he bumps up to the top unit, we should expect him to play a greater role. Hintz also leaves a vacated spot on the Stars' top power-play unit, and Johnston is likely to fill that role.

At -165, there's value betting on Johnston to record Over 2.5 shots on goal inside of regulation (in the first 60 minutes) at FanDuel.

Pick: Wyatt Johnston Over 2.5 SOG in Regulation (-165 at FanDuel) | Play to -165

Avalanche vs. Stars

Wednesday, May 15
8 p.m. ET
Cale Makar Over 2.5 SOG in Regulation (-154)

Cale Makar was among the list of Avalanche skaters who did not play well in Game 4. He was a -3 in 26:24 of time on ice.

Playing without his regular partner Toews certainly hurt, as did the fact that Makar played the most minutes on a team that seemed likely to wear a bad loss no matter what.

With the season on the line Wednesday, I'll bet we see Makar bounce back with a far sharper showing. I'd also be willing to day there's a good chance he even pushes past the lofty 26 minutes he played in Game 4 in most game scripts.

Makar is consistently on the ice with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, which leads to a ton of offensive zone time. One of the plays that is most consistently available in playoff hockey is a pass to the point after a controlled zone entry from the forward. The Avs do this better than anyone, and it has been a key reason for Makar's 19.67 shot attempts per 60 this postseason.

Pick: Cale Makar Over 2.5 SOG in Regulation (-154 at FanDuel) | Play to -160

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