Ducks vs. Avalanche Odds, Pick, Prediction: Why Anaheim Has Value as Big Underdog (November 24)

Ducks vs. Avalanche Odds, Pick, Prediction: Why Anaheim Has Value as Big Underdog (November 24) article feature image

Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: John Gibson.

  • The Ducks are big underdogs against the Avalanche on Wednesday night.
  • Anaheim has thrived this season but face a big test against the preseason Cup favorite.
  • Carol Schram breaks down the matchup and makes her betting pick below.

Ducks vs. Avalanche Odds

Ducks Odds+190
Avalanche Odds-235
Time9 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Heading into the Thanksgiving break, two of the hottest teams in the NHL will square off on Wednesday night, when the Colorado Avalanche host the Anaheim Ducks.

Despite the absence of injured Nathan MacKinnon, the offense has powered the Avs through their current five-game winning streak with three seven-goal outings and 31 goals in total. Meanwhile, the Ducks saw their eight-game winning streak end against Carolina last Thursday, while Troy Terry's 16-game point streak was snapped in the Ducks' 3-2 loss to Nashville on Monday.

Colorado has been dominating opponents of late. But as big underdogs, there's value in backing the Ducks, whose defensive strengths could put up a roadblock against the high-flying home squad.

Surprising Ducks Face Tough Challenge

With very few offseason changes, the Ducks have transformed themselves from one of the worst teams in the NHL last year into, now, one of the best. Their recent winning streak propelled them to the top of the Pacific Division. Solid numbers across the board are highlighted by a fifth-ranked power play (25.9%).

Special-teams strengths help make up for some underlying 5-on-5 numbers that are just-okay. The Ducks rank just 23rd in expected goals at 48.55%, but they are 12th in high-danger scoring chances (52.08%).

In net, John Gibson has been a workhorse — second in the league in minutes played, behind Tristan Jarry of Pittsburgh. His record (9-4-2) and his personal numbers (2.36 goals-against average and .925 save percentage) are excellent. But with just 0.8 goals saved above expected, his defensive environment is part of what's breeding his success.

The Ducks are relatively healthy, with just Max Jones and Max Comtois on the injured list. Rickard Rakell scored his third goal of the season when he returned to the lineup on Tuesday after missing 10 games with an upper-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche

When the Avalanche started the season 1-3-0, they sent shivers through the sports betting community, which had anointed them preseason favorites to win the Stanley Cup. But the Cup isn't awarded in October, and the Avs have rounded nicely into form. They head into Wednesdays' game with a 9-5-1 record, but still have some work to do as they sit fifth in the tough Central Division.

If you're a Colorado fan, recent games have been a ton of fun to watch with goals galore. With five goals in his last three games, Cale Makar is asserting himself once again as one of the NHL's premier offensive defensemen. And Nazem Kadri has stepped up his game while helping to fill in for MacKinnon. The center has collected 19 points during a nine-game point streak, including four points in Colorado's 7-5 come-from-behind win over Ottawa on Monday.

With all those goals, Colorado players are prime targets for individual props right now. And with a 9-for-21 record with the man advantage over the last five games, power-play points carry an even loftier potential payback.

But when you're scoring more goals than any other team in the league, it's easy to overlook some less-than-stellar goaltending. Colorado is 27th in goals against at 3.27, and Darcy Kuemper has a not-great minus-3.8 goals saved above expected at 5-on-5 to go along with his .907 save percentage and 2.79 GAA. Those numbers are both worse than the current NHL averages (.912 and 2.72), yet Kuemper's 9-4-0 record this season is almost identical to Gibson's.

As well as the Avalanche have been playing, the team has injuries beyond MacKinnon which are worth noting. Forward J.T. Compher is also on injured reserve, while defenseman Bowen Byram is day-to-day with a concussion.

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Ducks vs. Avalanche Pick

The Ducks have been on a tremendous run, and recent one-goal losses to Carolina and Nashville suggest that their puck luck may now be running out. Even special teams have cooled. Anaheim has now gone three games without scoring a power-play goal, and gave up its first goal in nine games while shorthanded on Monday in Nashville.

But the Avs got into a track meet on Monday, and needed to come from behind twice before squeaking out a win over Ottawa. The Ducks play a much tighter defensive game than the Sens, and they can score.

Anaheim's the type of team that could exploit Colorado's weaknesses, skating out of Denver with a road win that will pay well for bold backers.

This bet comes down to value. Appreciate Anaheim as the heavy underdog in this setting.

Pick: Ducks +190 (play to +160)

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