NHL Odds, Picks: Avalanche vs. Canadiens Betting Preview & Predictions (March 13)
Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Cale Makar.
Avalanche vs. Canadiens Odds
|Over/Under||6.5 (-102 / -120)|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Montreal has lost six consecutive contests and is a heavy home underdog on Monday night against the defending-champion Avalanche.
The Canadiens have lost by more than one goal only a single time throughout their losing skid, putting up a good fight on a nightly basis despite a laundry list of injuries.
Colorado enters in need of two points since it’s currently in line for a difficult playoff matchup against the Vegas Golden Knights.
In March, Colorado has stumbled to a record of just 2-3-1. The Avs are allowing four goals against per game, which is their biggest concern. The 3.06 expected goals against (xGA) over 60 minutes during that span, which suggests some bad puck luck, though, and it’s reasonable to think that Colorado will stabilize itself defensively moving forward.
This plethora of losses and goals against have coincided with the return of top defender Cale Makar, who was outspoken in saying he was the common denominator in the Avalanche’s losses. While Makar may not have returned from his concussion in top form, he’s obviously a huge upgrade and makes Colorado better when he’s on the ice.
Over the last three games, Makar has returned to the incredible level we’ve come to expect with two goals and six points. He has peppered the opposition goal with 12 shots from a total of 24 shot attempts. Of those 24 shot attempts, 68% were expected to reach the goal, so 12 actually is a low-end number in terms of the volume he’s creating.
Makar should get an elite matchup against the Canadiens, allowing him to keep firing toward goal on the road tonight. The Habs allow a wealth of shot volume to defenders and have also taken the league’s sixth most penalties.
The Canadiens’ laundry list of injuries has been a large causation of the team’s struggles all season long and has certainly played into their most recent woes.
Over the last 10 games, Montreal owns a 45.03 expected goals for percentage (xGF%), and has allowed 32.03 shots against per 60 minutes of action.
All things considered, Martin St. Louis’ young group has certainly been competitive, but the lack of true NHL talent is a tough problem to overcome. The Canadiens aren’t going to ever be likely to own much time in the offensive zone with this roster.
Both Jake Allen and Sam Montembeault have been notably strong in goal. Allen is likely to start tonight. He has played to a +7.8 goals saved above expected rating (GSAx) and .899 save percentage in 38 games this season.
Avalanche vs. Canadiens Pick
Montreal has been just scrappy enough over its losing skid that betting the Avs to cover -1.5 at -105 is a bit tricky for me. It’d still be my first look if I had to pick a side, though.
What we have seen more consistently than the Habs being blown out, is that its opponents are generating a wealth of attempts on goal, and that seems likely to continue here. Colorado’s superstars will be in an excellent sport to do some damage Monday night, when we should see the likes of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Makar able to generate a wealth of opportunities on goal.
Ideally, Montreal can keep this close enough that Colorado will be forced into playing Makar, my target tonight, some big minutes.
Makar has been trending into better form since calling himself out last week. He seems to really be finding his game now that he’s skated in five games since suffering a second concussion of the season.
We’re getting +100 for Makar to record at least four shots on goal in an elite matchup is a price. That’s a price I really like, and I would bet this down to -115.
Pick: Cale Makar 4+ Shots on Goal (+100)
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