Avalanche vs. Blue Jackets NHL Odds, Pick, Betting Preview (November 6)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Elvis Merzlikins.
- The Avalanche looks to avenge a loss last week to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
- Colorado has stumbled out of the gates this season and faces a red-hot goaltender in Elvis Merzlikins.
- Greg Liodice breaks down the matchup and delivers his betting pick below.
Avalanche vs. Blue Jackets Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||+125|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
On Saturday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets host the star-studded Colorado Avalanche at Nationwide Arena. This past Wednesday, these two teams already faced off against each other in Denver, where Columbus won in overtime 5-4. Now the Jackets look to sweep the season series.
The Blue Jackets are coming off two thrilling victories, beating the Devils in a shootout before taking down Colorado. The Jackets look to continue their ascent in the Metropolitan standings, holding a 6-3 record.
Colorado has had a different kind of story so far this season. The Avs currently hold a 4-4-1 record, and last month they couldn’t seem to sustain any consistent success. It will be interesting to see how they respond on Saturday to get revenge on the Jackets.
Jackets Riding NHL’s Best Goaltender
What a first month it has been for Columbus. Entering every season, the Jackets seem to always be written off by fans and pundits but manage to always be involved in the playoff race.
This season hasn’t been any different. Top players like Oliver Bjorkstrand, Patrik Laine (now injured for 4-6 weeks) and Zach Werenski have done their part to help the team win, while goalie Elvis Merzlikins continues to play as a top goalie in the league.
Despite a solid record, the Blue Jackets have not been the best in driving play. They currently rank in the bottom five in expected goals with a 46.13 xGF%, and generating only 61 high-danger chances. What has been helping them has been their power play where they score at a 25% rate, good for ninth in the NHL.
Elvis Merzlikins has a point to prove. After signing a big contract extension, and playing for his best friend who passed away, he claims that this is his “most important season.” Merzlikins is certainly backing up his statements with exceptional play with the fifth-best save percentage (SV%) in the league at .939, and the sixth-best Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) with a 5.0 rating.
It’s hard to ignore what he’s been able to do, and Merzlikins is quickly solidifying himself as one of the best goalies in the League.
Things haven’t been as smooth for Colorado as they have been over the past couple years, with injuries overwhelming this team.
Stars Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog have all played well, with goaltending proving to be their biggest issue. One positive is that defenseman Devon Toews is making his season debut on Saturday, which is a big bonus for the Avs heading into this matchup.
Offense has not been an issue for the Avs. They may not generate as many high-danger chances as they’d like, but they’re a top-10 team in expected goals with a 53 xGF%. Colorado’s power play has been abysmal, which is a shock considering their firepower, but it only scores at a 11.8% rate, which is bottom five in the league.
As mentioned before, but goaltending has been the biggest black eye for the Avs. They lost Vezina finalist Philipp Grubauer, and hoped that Darcy Kuemper would pick up the load, but that has not happened.
Kuemper currently is at a .907 SV% and a -4.3 GSAx, which is fourth-worst among goalies. It’s certainly been a struggle for Kuemper, who came into this season trying to secure a spot on Team Canada, only to stumble out the gate.
Blue Jackets vs. Avalanche Pick:
I can see this matchup going one of two ways. Colorado comes in guns blazing to get its revenge from Wednesday night’s matchup, or Merzlikins steals this game from the Avs.
Ultimately, I’m going with the ladder.
I just think Merzlikins is riding a wave that is almost unstoppable, no matter how much firepower Colorado has.
Pick: Blue Jackets (+125)