NHL Betting Odds & Picks: Coyotes vs. Wild, Blues vs. Avalanche (Wednesday, April 14)

NHL Betting Odds & Picks: Coyotes vs. Wild, Blues vs. Avalanche (Wednesday, April 14) article feature image

Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Valeri Nichushkin, Mikko Rantanen

The West has basically split into two separate divisions. There's the race at the top of the set for the No. 1 seed between Colorado and Vegas, and then there's the scramble for the fourth playoff spot between St. Louis, Arizona, San Jose and Los Angeles. Minnesota, which sits comfortably in third place, is kind of caught in no man's land.

All eight West Division teams are in action on Wednesday, starting with a 2 p.m. ET showdown between the Arizona Coyotes and Minnesota Wild.

Arizona Coyotes vs. Minnesota Wild Odds

Coyotes Odds+165
Wild Odds-200
TimeWednesday, 2 p.m. ET
TVNHL Network
Odds as of Tuesday and via BetMGM

The Minnesota Wild were shot out of a cannon to start the season, catching plenty of people by surprise. Nobody expected the Wild to be bad, but Minnesota's 5-on-5 dominance and offensive pizzazz was certainly unexpected. Most people, myself included, thought the Wild lacked forward depth, but we were proven wrong pretty quickly.

Through the first 20 games of the season, the Wild ranked second in the NHL in both expected goals rate (55.3%) and high-danger chance rate (58.9%) and fourth in goal share (56.2%). While Minnesota's 12-7-1 record was impressive to start the season, you could argue that it actually undersold how well the Wild were playing out of the gates.

The past 20 games have not been so kind to Minnesota. Though they've played to a near-identical record as their first 20 contests, the Wild's 5-on-5 numbers have come back down to earth. Minnesota is middle-of-the-pack with a 48.4% expected goals rate, a 50.5% high-danger chance rate and a 50.3% goal share.

Every team goes through ebbs and flows over an NHL season, but things look like they are heading in the wrong direction for Dean Evanson's side. Minnesota's last 10 games have been especially worrisome as the Wild have skated to a 43.8% expected goal rate and a 45.2% goal share in that span.

The Arizona Coyotes are not a good team, but they seem to be in better form than their opponents coming into Wednesday's game. The Coyotes have basically split the goals (50.2%) and xG (49%) down the middle at 5-on-5 over their last 10 games, and while that's nothing to write home about it's better than what Minnesota has been serving up.

I try not to get wrapped up in handicapping motivation or anything like that, but the Coyotes are already in playoff mode as they try to catch the Blues, while the Wild are basically nailed into the No. 3 seed in the West. It's not a driving force for the bet, but it can't hurt that the Yotes should be up for this one.

At +165, the odds imply Arizona has a 37.7% chance of winning this game. I think that's too low considering the Wild's current form.

Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues Odds

Avalanche Odds-185
Blues Odds+155
TimeWednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Tuesday and via BetMGM

I think it's going to be worthwhile to buy low on the St. Louis Blues. Thanks to a disappointing first half of the season, the Blues find themselves in a real scrap for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division. It's fair to call St. Louis the biggest disappointment in the division this season and the Blues are certainly in the running for that title league-wide, as well.

St. Louis has begun to show a bit of a pulse with a three-game winning streak, but those results came on the heels of a seven-game losing streak that pushed them into this mess to begin with.

While the three-game winning streak is at least encouraging, the 5-on-5 metrics are still pretty ugly. The Blues rank 21st in expected goals rate, 19th in goal share and 27th in high-danger chance rate. The Avalanche, on the other hand, rank first, first and second in those same categories. But we know Colorado is a behemoth. That isn't up for debate. What is worth trying to figure out is whether or not these Blues can find their mojo. Because if they do, they are dangerous.

Fully understanding that St. Louis is not yet out of its season-long funk, I am willing to give the Blues the benefit of the doubt and believe that they are talented to turn this ship around. Colton Parayko, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko are all back in the lineup and their return gives Craig Berube a balanced lineup that has the capability to flip this script.

It's worth remembering that, on paper, these Blues are not all that different from the team that won a Stanley Cup and finished with the best record in the Western Conference in the previous two seasons. I'm not saying that we should expect St. Louis to get back to those heights, but there has to be better things ahead for this team down the stretch.

There's also a chance that the Avalanche play Devan Dubnyk in goal for this game. Philipp Grubauer played on Monday night and the Avs will be looking to keep their Vezina Trophy contender fresh as they head into the playoffs. A Dubnyk start would give St. Louis a decided edge in goal.

As bettors, we are always trying to identify the right time to buy in on a team that has upside, and I think that time is now for the Blues.

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