NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Avalanche vs. Flames (October 13)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Colorado Avalanche player Cale Makar
- The Flames host the Avalanche in their home opener.
- The Avalanche will be playing the second half of a back-to-back, but that doesn't concern our analyst.
- Tony Sartori breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Avalanche vs. Flames Odds
|Time||9:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
We have a clash between two Western Conference favorites as the Pacific Division's Calgary Flames host the Central Division's Colorado Avalanche. Last season, Colorado won two of the three matchups between these two teams.
Will the Avalanche take care of business once again, or can the Flames grab a victory as a short home favorite?
We are getting a generous line on Colorado for numerous reasons in this contest. First of all, they are on the road on the second half of a back-to-back.
However, on the second half of a back-to-back last season, the Avalanche went 8-2-1 and one of those losses was in the last game of the season when they benched their starters. Secondly, it is Calgary's home opener.
That being said, the Flames lost their home opener to Anaheim last season, so that aspect doesn't concern me. The fact of the matter is, we are getting the better team in this game at plus money.
The defending champions are the betting favorites to repeat and for good reason. While they lost a few pieces over the offseason, the core is still intact.
Goaltending is the most noticeable difference between this year and last, though I grade it out as a wash. In a vacuum, Darcy Kuemper is better than Alexandar Georgiev and Pavel Francouz, but frankly it doesn't matter who is in net for Colorado because the Avalanche have one of the best defenses in the league.
That was proven last season when Philipp Grubauer went to Seattle and posted the worst numbers of any starting goaltender. At 5v5 last season, the Avalanche ranked fourth in expected goals against (xGA).
Calgary is one of the Stanley Cup favorites and I would argue the Flames got better over the offseason, despite losing Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau. While none of the players they acquired are individually better than either of those two, the transition from Tkachuk/Gaudreau to Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri and MacKenzie Weegar is a good one.
Calgary should be a deeper and more well-rounded team this season. While the roster change could be a beneficial one, it likely won't appear so right away.
The Flames ran through those two guys for each of the past few seasons and chemistry will need to be reestablished with this new-look roster. We shouldn't be surprised at all if Calgary starts this season slower than usual before finding its groove.
Additionally, starting goaltender Jacob Markstrom did not skate on Wednesday due to an illness. While the market indicates that books expect him to play Thursday, we will get some great CLV if he is ruled out.
Avalanche vs. Flames Pick
I am handicapping this game as if Markstrom is playing and I think he will. Regardless, Colorado at plus money is too good to pass up.
It is early in the season so I do not care about the back-to-back. Calgary is playing in front of its home crowd to start the season, but this new-look lineup may take some time to gel.
Colorado is 6-0 in its past six games as an underdog against the Flames.
Pick:Colorado Avalanche ML (+100) | Play up to (-120)