NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Avalanche vs. Predators (Jan. 11)
Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nicolas Aube-Kubel celebrates with the Avalanche bench.
Avalanche vs. Predators Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
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Colorado will head in to Nashville on Tuesday looking to gain ground on the Central Division-leading Predators fresh off a 4-3 home win against the Kraken on Monday.
Nashville has been in an utterly unreal 11-1-1 run of play over the last month, including a 5-2 victory at home over the Avs on December 16th.
However that contest came with the Avalanche skating without most of their top skates due to COVID protocols. Will they be able to avenge that loss here with close to a full roster?
Nashville Has Impressed Offensively During Surge
The Predators continue to be one of the season’s biggest surprises, as a recent 11-1-1 surge has catapulted them to the top of the Western Conference standings.
What may be more surprising is the amount of offense the Preds have generated, as they are averaging 3.69 goals for per game over their 13-game tear with an 11th-ranked xGF/60 of 2.60. So it hasn’t simply been a matter of them winning a ton of close games by a single goal with excellent goaltending from Juuse Saros, like we saw during their excellent stretch run to qualify for the postseason last year.
Filip Forsberg has found his way into COVID-19 protocol, and behind him the Predators have a lot of players posting some great offensive numbers this season.
Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund have all had excellent bounce-back seasons, hovering around a point per game, while captain Roman Josi’s tremendous two-way play from the back end has him again among the Norris Trophy candidates.
Long-term, this Preds team definitely figures to be led with their back-end strength, but they have generated some strong offensive results of late with some well-balanced production, and a date with the Avalanche sets up better for this to continue than one might think upon first glance.
Saros should draw the start for Nashville, and he’s been brilliant yet again this season with a +16.6 goals saved above expected rating and a .928 save % throughout 29 games.
Avalanche Win With Offense
It certainly was again a far-from-flawless showing Monday against Seattle, but the Avalanche’s ability to completely tilt the ice and generate chances when trailing has kept them in every contest of late. While it may not be the ideal way to win games, it has quietly helped the Avs push to the league’s fourth-best winning percentage.
That’s a scary notion considering the team has regularly missed some very strong pieces, and definitely have some areas of the game they could clean up.
The offensive talent on hand has been as expected, which is to say entirely ridiculous — possibly even more so with Nazem Kadri taking things to a level many didn’t anticipate.
Nathan Mackinnon has been in MVP form yet again when in the lineup, still holding the top points per game in the league, and Cale Makar no doubt has to be the top offensive defenseman in the game right now.
The result has been the league’s top offensive output at 4.31 goals for per game, and I wouldn’t expect them to slow down anytime soon.
However, similar to Florida, the Avs are still somewhat gettable at the other end, with some less-than-ideal depth defenders such as Jack Johnson still being exposed at times, as well as some very average goaltending combining to leave the Avs with a 21st-ranked goals against per game of 3.25.
Darcy Kuemper rested Monday to allow their top piece to start for the tougher and more important contest against the division-leading Preds, and will be ready to go here.
Kuemper has posted a -1.1 goals saved above expected rating with a .908 save % throughout 23 games played this season.
Avalanche vs. Predators Pick
The Avalanche continue to skate through some less-than-stellar defensive play at 5-on-5, some average goaltending and shaky penalty killing, but are fighting through those issues with the league’s highest offensive output per game in what has still been a winning style of hockey.
Surely the Predators will look to not get into a shootout here, but I still feel that it’s always more likely this current Avalanche makeup creates high scoring games, whether the opposition wants to or not.
Over their last 24 games the Avs have seen combined game totals average 8.00 goals, and tacking a goal or half goal on their totals simply hasn’t acclimated for their ridiculously high totals. Their overs have been very profitable, with 21 of those 24 games at least getting to 6, Tuesday’s mark for a push. I definitely feel all Avs games should open at 6.5 and in turn we are getting some value with that key number.
Opposed to their traditional style, the Predators have played some sneakily high scoring contests of late, and are skating a surprisingly potent offensive unit this season.
Surely I can see the logic for how this one could stay lower, with a strong defensive team in Nashville wanting to batten down the hatches and play a tighter contest against a lethal division rival. But I just think it’s more likely we see it open up based on the Avs’ deficiencies and ridiculous ability to generate in the offensive zone.
As strong as the Preds have been, I like the Avalanche’s chances to come in and claim two points here, and I am going to look towards them to do so in regulation at +100. What I like more, however, is over 6 at -110 and that’s my betting recommendation.
Pick: Over 6