NHL Odds and Prediction: Avalanche vs. Oilers (April 22)
Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid.
- The Oilers are a slight, slight favorite against the Avalanche on Friday night.
- Colorado's only motivation is the Presidents' Trophy and it enters this game having lost two in a row.
- Carol Schram breaks down the matchup and makes her betting pick below.
Avalanche vs. Oilers Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Colorado Avalanche will be looking to snap a rare losing streak when they visit the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Friday night.
With top spot in the Western Conference secured, the Avs are in the midst of a three-game road trip. They land in Edmonton after dropping a pair of 3-2 decisions — at home to Washington on Monday, then in Seattle on Wednesday.
For their part, the Oilers are wrapping up a three-game homestand. They’ve all-but guaranteed second place in the Pacific Division, and are 9-1-1 in their last 11 games.
Here’s the latest on both teams, and your best bet for the game.
Comfortably locked into first place in both their division and their conference, the Avalanche could be running on cruise control as they play out the late stages of their season. The only thing left to play for is the Presidents’ Trophy, for which they’re battling with the Florida Panthers.
So, the Avs’ current losing streak shouldn’t be any significant cause for concern. They’ve only lost back-to-back games in regulation three times all season, and their worst losing streak was just three games, when they were navigating their way through some early-season injury issues back in October.
All told, Colorado is 8-2-0 over the last 10 games, and the basic team stats look just fine. But those numbers have been juiced by a couple of blowout wins — 9-3 over Los Angeles and 7-4 over Carolina — and if you look under the hood, the Avs’ possession numbers through that stretch aren’t as impressive as you might expect. Their Corsi for percentage and expected goals percentage both rank 18th overall, right around 50%, and that number drops even lower in high-danger situations, to a 23rd-ranked 46.79%.
Motivation may be part of the issue. Injuries are certainly messing with team chemistry. Nazem Kadri and Sam Girard are now back after missing some time, but Gabriel Landeskog remains on the sidelines, key defensemen Devon Toews and Erik Johnson are out, and Mikko Rantanen also missed Wednesday’s game in Seattle due to illness.
In net, starter Darcy Kuemper has leveled off a bit following a hot stretch around the All-Star break. He’s 5-1-0 in the month of April, with a .927 save percentage and 2.68 goals-against average. Not bad numbers, but below his season-long averages of .932 and 2.10.
Pavel Francouz took the loss in Seattle on Wednesday, so it should be Kuemper’s turn on Friday in Edmonton.
Over in Edmonton, the Oilers seem like they’re peaking at just the right time.
They’re riding a three-game winning streak where they’ve outscored their opponents 13-2 in total, and ageless wonder Mike Smith is in fine form in net. He’s 7-0-0 in April with a .952 save percentage, 1.52 goals-against average, two shutouts and 3.15 goals saved above expected.
With their roster now basically healthy, Edmonton’s puck-possession game has moved into the league’s top tier — ranked seventh in Corsi for percentage over the last 10 games, fourth in high-danger chances, and 11th in expected goals percentage.
The power play has been a little chilly lately, with just three goals in their last seven games. But Edmonton’s penalty kill is now riding a six-game stretch without allowing a goal.
The Oilers are often accused of being a two-man offense. But while Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are still perched in the upper rungs of the NHL’s scoring race, they’ve been getting some run support. Evander Kane has nine points in nine games during the month of April, while Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Darnell Nurse and Tyson Barrie each have six.
Avalanche vs. Oilers Pick
Friday’s meeting will be the third in just over a month between these two teams. Darcy Kuemper was the winning goaltender and Nathan MacKinnon scored the winning goal both times, in a pair of tight affairs — a 3-2 home overtime win for Colorado on March 21 and a 2-1 shootout victory in Edmonton on April 9.
That shootout win marks the only recent blemish on the Oilers’ home record. They’re 11-0-1 since March 7, so they’ll be eyeing revenge.
The Oilers seem due for a win in this series. And analytically speaking, they’re the better team right now.
In what should be another tight-checking, playoff-style affair, the under looks like a solid bet at close to even money. But Edmonton should prevail on Friday night.
After opening at +110, the Oilers’ moneyline has shifted down to -105 as of Thursday night. That’s still decent value, but exercise caution if it moves as low as -115.
Pick: Oilers -105 (play down to -115)
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