Avalanche vs. Lightning NHL Odds, Pick, Preview: How to Bet Over/Under (October 23)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Brayden Point.
- Colorado visits Tampa Bay on Saturday for a battle between to expected NHL powers.
- Both the Avalanche and Lightning, however, are still looking for their top form, combining for three regulation wins.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Avalanche at Lightning Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Colorado heads to Tampa Bay for a meeting between the odds-on Stanley Cup favorites Saturday. You might not know that watching the two club’s play in the early-going this season, however, as both have been porous defensively en route to awful goals-against totals.
Defensive Woes for Avalanche Pile On
It might be a little early to read much into it, but the Avalanche have been one of the league’s worst clubs defensively, allowing 17 goals against across four games and an xGA/60 mark of 3.86.
The Avalanche’s defensive core is currently markedly different than what they exhibited most of last season, so there is possibly some legitimate causation for the time being which has helped create the struggles.
Colorado is short one of the league’s better defensemen with Devon Toews on the injured reserve, as well as the loss of Ryan Graves who was quietly excellent for the Avs last season.
Jack Johnson has slid into one of those vacated spots, and the Avs have been badly out-chanced while he is on the ice, with an xGF% of 36.6.
Erik Johnson has been elevated to the second defense pairing for the time being and has seen similarly poor results, with the Avs skating to an xGF% of just 35.3 during his minutes of play.
So while we probably shouldn’t expect the Avs to continue this poor of defensive play, there may be some real concern for the time being, at least until Devon Toews is able to return to the lineup.
Equally concerning for the Avs has been the play of newcomer Darcy Kuemper in goal, who has posted a porous .890 save percentage and -4.0 goals saved above expected so far this season.
The talent is obviously there for this Avalanche team, and to expect similarly dreadful results for long would be foolish. But the early defensive and goaltending concerns will certainly be given a very firm test against Tampa Bay.
Will Lightning Shake Off Cup Haze?
It’s fair to expect some lackadaisical nights from the back-to-back Cup champions this year, as they may have a hard time matching their opposition’s intensity at times, with the rest of the league keen to gun down the defending champs and the regular-season grind justifiably seeming mundane to the Bolts.
That has showed to an extent in the early going, as the Lightning hold just two wins through four games. Realistically they are lucky to even have those, as both overtime wins against Detroit and Washington came in contests where the Bolts clearly didn’t deserve two points.
That “eye test” has come in line with the Lightning’s play driving numbers, including an xGF% of 44.93.
More important than the current mediocre record, is the loss of Nikita Kucherov for a meaningful period of time. As we saw last season, however, this group is more than capable of managing in the regular season short an MVP winner in Kucherov. The team is still very deep up front and possesses the league’s top netminder in Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Lightning will have an excellent chance to round their game into form tomorrow night and will likely be excited for the challenge of facing one of the league’s top teams in the Avs.
Avalanche vs. Lightning Pick
My first advice here is recommending to be very careful backing these teams over the next couple weeks and to be mindful of not getting into the mentality that either club is “due” for wins early in the long season simply because of who they are. Both club’s will remain priced as massive favorites consistently, whether they start to show better or not.
Tampa coasted for much of last year’s regular season, and I just feel like this team could go without being truly engaged again until a little later on this season and could be hard to read on a night-in-night-out basis.
For this contest I see the most value with the over 6 at -125 and would play it to -145.
Sometimes these high-profile games can certainly lead to more structured efforts, with higher attention to detail leading to less defensive breakdowns and easy chances.
With both teams possessing so much offensive firepower and having shown such poor defensive play in the early going, however, it’s hard for me to see the goal total staying too low in this one.
Colorado will have its top line intact again, and I certainly wouldn’t rule out an offensive bounce-back. However, it will still be skating Erik Johnson on the second pairing, as well as Jack Johnson still filling a defensive spot, and the potential for shaky play from Darcy Kuemper.
Altogether for this contest I see the most value with the over 6 at -115 and would play it to -135.
Pick: Over 6 (-115) | Play to -135