NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Avalanche vs. Canucks
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Colorado Avalanche player Cale Makar
- The Avalanche, who have won three straight, travel to Vancouver to face the Canucks on Friday.
- Vancouver has struggled of late and although this game looks like a mismatch on paper, our analyst is targeting the total instead of a side.
- Ryan Dadoun offers up his best bet below.
Avalanche vs. Canucks Odds
|10 p.m. ET
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.
Cale Makar is central to Colorado's success, so naturally you'd think the Avalanche would flounder without him. However, Colorado earned a 4-1 victory over Calgary on Wednesday while Makar was unavailable because of an undisclosed injury. So should the Avalanche still be viewed as the favorite Thursday against the struggling Canucks? Even if Makar's status is still in question?
Let's look at the odds and try to answer those questions with a betting prediction.
The Avalanche's Wednesday victory extended a three-game winning streak where they've outscored the competition 17-4. So, to say Colorado is hot right now would be an understatement.
It helps that the Avalanche's top forwards have been firing on all cylinders. In Colorado's past three games, Nathan MacKinnon has two goals and eight points, Artturi Lehkonen has five goals and six points and Mikko Rantanen has four markers and five points. The Avalanche are in a three-way tie for 20th offensively this season with 3.07 goals per game, so they haven't exactly excelled overall, but at the moment, they're showing shades of their 2021-22 selves.
Speaking of bouncing back, Alexandar Georgiev saved 34 of 35 shots Wednesday after posting a 1-5-1 record, 4.10 GAA and .877 save percentage in his previous seven contests. He's had a good campaign overall with a 17-11-3 record, 2.69 GAA and .916 save percentage. So now that he's shaken off his recent slump, Georgiev is well positioned to handle the Canucks.
However, Makar's potential absence is still the big x-factor. Just because Colorado managed to do fine Wednesday doesn't mean it can survive without Makar for the long-term. There's a strong case to be made that Makar is the Avalanche's most important player, and if he can't play Thursday, Colorado will be far worse off for it.
Still, it's not as if the Avalanche will be facing the cream of the crop …
Vancouver's season could be best described as a roller coaster. After opening the campaign with a 0-5-2 run, the Canucks were able to slowly battle back to 16-15-3 before dropping eight of their past 10 games.
At this point, the focus in Vancouver seems to be shifting to the future while everyone from Luke Schenn to captain Bo Horvat is potentially on the trading block. The number of untouchables the Canucks have could easily be counted on one hand.
As a result, these guys likely aren't in the best of spirits. Even still, the Canucks can't be completely dismissed. With 3.36 goals per game, Vancouver has the ninth-ranked offense this season. The Canucks have four players with at least 40 points in Elias Pettersson (52), Horvat (49), J.T. Miller (40) and Quinn Hughes (40). Andrei Kuzmenko is also on the brink of reaching that milestone with the Canucks after scoring 18 goals and tallying 39 points through 43 contests.
What's held the Canucks back this season has been their goaltending. Vancouver has the 31st-ranked defense and is allowing 3.95 goals per game. Spencer Martin has been horrible lately, posting an 0-6-0 record, 5.13 GAA and a .843 save percentage in his past six contests. Collin Delia has only been moderately better with a 3.80 GAA and .872 save percentage in his past four games.
Avalanche vs. Canucks Pick
Colorado is understandably being treated as the favorite with -160 odds versus Vancouver's +132 moneyline price at FanDuel. If you want to go with the puck line, where the spread is 1.5 goals in favor of Vancouver, then FanDuel's offerings are +142 for the Avalanche and -176 for the Canucks.
I think there's merit to taking Colorado on the puck line given that Vancouver is in a freefall, especially if Makar can play. At the same time, it is worth noting that for as much as the Canucks have struggled this season, they actually are 2-0-0 against Colorado and beat the Avalanche as recently as Jan. 5. Granted, Colorado has been playing far better recently, but Vancouver has too much star power to simply be written off.
Instead, I think I'll take the over of 6.5 goals. With the Avalanche's offense on fire and Vancouver's goaltending doing terribly, this seems like as good a time as any for that bet.
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