NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Avalanche vs. Flames (March 29)
Gerry Thomas/Getty Images. Pictured: Jacob Markstrom.
- The Flames host the Avalanche on Tuesday night on ESPN+.
- The Avalanche are rare road underdogs, but is there value in buying them at plus money?
- Tony Sartori breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Avalanche vs. Flames Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
We have a possible Western Conference Finals preview as the Central Division’s first-place Colorado Avalanche travel to Calgary to take on the Pacific Division’s first-place Flames. This is the third meeting between these two teams not only this season but also this month.
With each team taking a win in the first two matchups, which club will win the third meeting?
Avalanche Priced as a Rare Underdog
The Colorado Avalanche will look to bounce back following Sunday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild. The Avalanche find themselves priced as an underdog in this matchup, a rare spot for one of the league’s best teams.
This season, Colorado has been priced as an underdog just three times and has lost two of those games. Darcy Kuemper is the projected starting goaltender in this matchup and has not been as strong on the road as eight of his 12 losses have come away from home.
While Colorado has a disadvantage of going on the road, they also have the disadvantage of playing one of the only two teams in hockey that is better than them in both primary analytical categories. Currently, the Avalanche rank below Calgary in both five-on-five Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF) and five-on-five Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA).
Colorado’s offense has looked a little flat as well since Gabriel Landeskog’s injury. Over their last eight games, the Avalanche are averaging just 2.88 goals scored per game, a mark that is low for their standards.
Flames Have Been Dominant at Home
The Calgary Flames enter this contest following Saturday’s 9-5 beatdown of the Edmonton Oilers. While the Oilers had been surging prior to that contest, they were no match to Calgary’s powerhouse offense.
Calgary now ranks fourth in the league in five-on-five Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF) and is averaging 4.5 goals scored per game over the last six contests. Not only do the Flames possess one of the best offenses in the league this season, but they also have one of the best goaltenders in Jacob Markstrom.
Markstrom is the projected starting goaltender in this matchup and excels at home, a place where he is 20-11 on the season with a 0.924 Save Percentage. Calgary has been especially hot at home recently, and I expect that to continue even against a very capable Colorado team.
Over the last 22 home games, Calgary is a remarkable 18-4, with wins over other elite teams including Florida, Toronto, and Tampa Bay. I expect Calgary’s stellar defense to keep Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Nazem Kadri in check while the offense should have no problem doing what they do best.
Avalanche vs. Flames Pick
In this heavyweight fight, I like the home team to take care of business. The Western Conference is incredibly tough and features, in my opinion, the two best teams in the league in Colorado and Calgary.
However, I think Calgary has the edge over Colorado in pretty much every single aspect which is why I think Calgary will be lifting the cup when it is all said and done. While these are slight edges, I view Calgary as having a deeper forward group, a better blue line, and better goaltending.
Pick: Calgary Flames ML (-120) | Play up to (-135)