NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Bruins vs. Avalanche (Jan. 26)
BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 18: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period and wears a ceremonial patch in honor of former Boston Bruins player Willie O’Ree, as he has his No. 22 jersey retired prior to the game at the TD Garden on January 18, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Hurricanes won 7-1. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** David Pastrnak
- The Colorado Avalanche are big favorites over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.
- Colorado has won seven in a row and 16 on the spin at home.
- That doesn't mean the Bruins don't have value as an underdog at Ball Arena, according to Jonny Lazarus.
Bruins vs. Avalanche Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
This will be the first of two meetings in the next month between the Colorado Avalanche and the Boston Bruins. Both teams are led by dynamic top lines, but as the odds suggest, Colorado’s depth puts it in a different tier compared to the Bruins right now.
Colorado comes into this game in terrific form. The Avs have won seven in a row overall and are in the middle of a 16-game home winning streak that dates back to Nov. 11.
Is now the time to sell high on the Avs?
Don’t Overlook the Bruins
The Bruins are coming into Colorado off a surprising loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Boston was a big favorite in that game but was undone by some shaky goaltending from Tuukka Rask. Anaheim ended up winning the expected goals battle, 2.61 to 2.14, but the B’s got the better of play at 5-on-5. Still, you’d expect Boston to handle Anaheim on most nights.
But that’s kind of been how this season has gone for Boston. The Bruins show signs of their dominant days of yore, and then are pulled back to earth.
Despite the loss to the Ducks, the Bruins are still the NHL’s xG kings. Boston paces the circuit with a 56.8% expected goals rate and a 57% high-danger chance rate. The B’s defense does a lot of the heavy lifting and leads the NHL in expected goals and high-danger chances allowed (5-on-5), but the offense is generating enough looks to rank No. 10 in expected goals for per 60 minutes at even strength.
The process for the Bruins is strong and their structure is still terrific, but the team has a couple of flaws that need fixing if they want to make a run in the springtime.
First and foremost, the team needs consistent goaltending. Linus Ullmark and Tuukka Rask are the team’s current tandem, but it will take some time for the latter to get in NHL game-shape. With Rask still working into form, Ullmark may need to carry these tougher games. Ullmark has a 14-5-0 and a .915 save percentage on the season, but his -1.9 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) suggests there’s room for improvement.
Can Anyone Slow Down the Avs?
Colorado’s seven-game streak is impressive, but it’s also interesting. The Avalanche have scored just 22 goals over that span, which is not what you’d expect from this prolific offense.
Despite that slight downtick in form, the Avs still boast the best offense in the NHL with an average of 4.1 goals per game. Colorado’s talented enough that it doesn’t need to generate a ton of scoring chances and that’s held true to some extent as the Avs rank close to the middle of the pack in terms of high-danger chances created and expected goals.
Colorado’s go-go style gets tongues waggin’ about its offense, but the team’s defense deserves a lot of credit. The Avs rank fourth in expected goals allowed and ninth in high-danger chances conceded on the season.
The Avs haven’t named a goaltender yet, but both Darcy Kuemper and Pavel Francouz are in good for right now. After an inconsistent start to the season, Kuemper now sits at 19-5-1 with a .913 save percentage and a +5.9 GSAx on the season. Francouz, who was hurt for a large chunk of time, is 6-1-0 with a +3.4 GSAx and a .932 save percentage.
Bruins vs. Avalanche Pick
Even though the odds indicate the Avalanche win this game nearly 66% of the time, I think most hockey fans and bettors will agree it should be quite the contest.
And it isn’t every day you get this type of number to back a team as strong as the Bruins.
The Avalanche come into this game on a seven-game winning streak, but they haven’t really faced a tough schedule during this run. Boston’s ability to drive play and suppress scoring chances make it a tough opponent for anybody and this game should be closer than the odds suggest.
Boston looks undervalued to me in this spot.
Pick: Boston Bruins +150 or better