Friday NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks Betting Preview

Friday NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks Betting Preview article feature image

Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Darcy Kuemper.

Avalanche vs. Blackhawks Odds

Avalanche Odds-195
Blackhawks Odds+165
Over/Under6.5 (+100 / -120)
Time8:30 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Following Wednesday night's TNT appearances, the Avalanche and Blackhawks square off Friday in a Central Division matchup. Chicago kicked off Wednesday's "NHL on TNT" with an 8-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings, while the Avalanche capped the night off with a come-from-behind 4-3 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins.

Will both teams replicate those high-scoring affairs, or will tonight's game feature some regression in the scoring department?

Colorado Avalanche

Colorado was able to secure its eighth straight win with a gritty comeback Wednesday night against Boston. The victory brought Colorado's home win streak to 17 games, but the Avalanche were unable to leave the rink without some bad news.

Superstar and Avalanche captain Nathan MacKinnon was on the bad end of a hit from Bruins winger Taylor Hall that forced the Avs centerman to leave the contest. To make matters worse, the word around Colorado is that MacKinnon will not be making the trip to Chicago.

The absence of MacKinnon will not bode well for the Avalanche's offense as he is their third-leading point-scorer and primary facilitator. However, the good news for Colorado is that their defense and goaltending have been great lately.

Colorado ranks second in the league in 5-on-5 Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA). The strong defensive corps is backed by starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who has had a solid season.

Kuemper boasts a respectable 0.913 SV% this year and has been playing his strongest hockey as of late. Colorado's starting goaltender has only allowed more than two goals in just four of his last 12 appearances.

Chicago Blackhawks

Across the rink from Kuemper should be the Blackhawks' starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who finds himself swarmed with trade rumors as the trade deadline is quickly approaching for a struggling Chicago team. Despite the off-ice distractions, Fleury has been a steady goalie for the Blackhawks.

Fleury boasts a solid 0.911 SV% and, like Kuemper, has been playing his strongest hockey as of late. Over his last eight starts, Fleury has only allowed more than two goals just twice.

Chicago's defensive unit has also improved as the season has progressed, as they now find themselves ranked 11th in the league in 5-on-5 Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA). But as their defense has gotten better, their offense has plummeted toward the bottom of the league.

The Blackhawks rank 29th in the league in 5-on-5 Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF) and dead-last in 5-on-5 Shots on Net percentage. The Blackhawks had a massive outlier game Wednesday night as they posted eight goals against the Red Wings and should be due for some regression tonight.

Avalanche vs. Blackhawks Pick

I believe we are getting an inflated number on the total in this matchup due to Wednesday's games. If you take recent performance as a whole, both teams trend toward the under.

The total has gone under 6.5 in five of Colorado's last seven games, and it has also gone under that same figure in seven of Chicago's last nine games. No MacKinnon for Colorado could slow their offensive pace down, and Chicago's offense is definitely due for some regression following their eight-goal night.

Both teams have tremendous defenses and good goaltenders, so I think the total at 6.5 is just too high.

Pick: Under 6.5 (-110) | Play up to (-120)

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