NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Avalanche vs. Wild (October 17)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Avalanche vs. Wild (October 17) article feature image

David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Kirill Kaprizov.

  • The Avalanche are short road favorites against the Wild on Monday night.
  • With both defenses struggling to start the season, what's the best way to bet this matchup?
  • Tony Sartori breaks down the game and shares his best bet below.

Avalanche vs. Wild Odds

Avalanche Odds-125
Wild Odds+105
Over/Under6.5 (-110/-110)
Time8 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The NHL features a Central Division tilt on Monday night with the Minnesota Wild hosting the Colorado Avalanche. The home team won all four of the meetings between these two clubs last season.

Will the Wild take care of business on their home ice, or can the Avalanche come into town and grab a victory as short road favorites?

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Avalanche Need Goaltenders to Step Up

After the defending Cup Champions opened the season with a 5-2 home victory over the lowly Chicago Blackhawks, they were humbled up a bit with a 5-3 road loss to the Calgary Flames. High-scoring games have been an early trend this season for Colorado, which should also be the case in this game.

The offense has gotten off to a slower start, particularly at 5v5, than we are accustomed to from this squad, but positive regression should set in quickly. At 5v5, the Avs finished last season ranked sixth in the league in Goals For (GF) and 13th in xGF.

However, goaltending could be an issue this season due to the departure of Darcy Kuemper. Colorado brought in Alexandar Georgiev from the Rangers to form a tandem with last year's backup, Pavel Francouz.

Neither of those guys has looked sharp to start the year, including tonight's projected starter. In the season debut against Chicago, Georgiev allowed two goals on 17 shots for a .882 SV%.

While allowing two goals is typically a not problem, they came on just 17 shots against a very poor Chicago offense. Among goaltenders this season, Georgiev ranks 20th in 5v5 Goals Saved Above Expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60).

His start to the year is a continuation of a very poor season in New York, where he posted a mere .898 SV% and 2.92 GAA over 33 appearances. To be fair, he was in a difficult backup role where he usually only played on back-to-backs or when Igor Shesterkin needed a rest, but he was still unimpressive when given chances.

This below-average play should continue against Minnesota, a team he has struggled against in his career. Through three starts against the Wild, Georgiev is 1-2 with a .868 SV% and 3.91 GAA.

Can Kaprizov Carry the Wild to Victory?

The chatter around this Minnesota Wild team through the first two games of the season has been their terrible defense and goaltending. After allowing seven goals in each of the first two games of the year, players have already voiced their frustration with how the team is playing in the back end.

I believe the defense and goaltending will straighten out once the season progresses further, but for now, the offense has needed to step up to compensate. The main players to do so have been Matthew Boldy, Mats Zuccarello, and superstar Kirill Kaprizov.

For this game, we are going to focus on the Russian winger. Through the first two games of the season, Kaprizov has already logged two assists and a goal.

This strong start was a continuation of a dominating preseason where he collected three goals and three assists over three games. As one of just a handful of Hart Trophy favorites to begin the year (including mine), Kaprizov has opened the season just as we should have expected.

Out of necessity while the defense figures itself out, Kaprizov will need to keep scoring to keep the team in games, which should be the case on Monday against Colorado. Through his last five games against the Avs, Kaprizov has registered six goals, two assists, and 16 Shots on Goal.

Avalanche vs. Wild Pick

It is no secret that the Wild's offense runs through Kaprizov. Their entire rush is structured around Kaprizov, who typically finds the middle of the ice and carries the zone to create/set up the offense.

The rush will be a key element of this game for the Wild because the Avalanche usually don't allow opponents to set up in the offensive zone because (1) they are too good and (2) they try to turn every game into a track race. With this in mind, Kaprizov's number will be called upon a lot in this contest.

I do not trust Georgiev in net for the Avs, and the Wild will likely need a good amount of scoring to stay in this game. Consequently, Kaprizov should find the back of the net at least once.

Pick: Kirill Kaprizov Anytime Goal Scorer (+140) | Play down to (+125)

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