NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Jets vs. Avalanche (Jan. 6)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Jets vs. Avalanche (Jan. 6) article feature image

Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Connor.

  • The Avalanche are favored at home on Thursday against the visiting Jets.
  • Both teams have struggled defensively of late, although both teams have plenty of offensive firepower.
  • Grant White breaks down the game and delivers his pick for bettors below.

Jets vs. Avalanche Odds

Jets Odds+185
Avalanche Odds-220
Time9 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Like all Canadian teams, the Winnipeg Jets will be spending most of their time south of the border over the coming weeks, as health restrictions prevent teams from full attendance.

That puts the Jets at an even bigger deficit tonight when they take on the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.

Jets Defense Holding Them Back

The Jets have been plagued by questionable defensive metrics all season. That has been even more evident on the road and is also reflected in their recent sample. Winnipeg has given up at least 11 high-danger chances in four of their past six contests, with a running average of 12.5 over that span. The only time the Jets have allowed fewer than 11 was on home ice, where they benefited from having the last change.

Those recent performances are slightly inflated relative to their season-long average, as the Jets have given up an average of 10.2 quality opportunities per game as the visitors this season. But it also doesn't tell the full story.

Winnipeg's metrics look even worse when we consider them across all strengths. The Jets are allowing an average of 12.6 high-danger chances on the road this season, jumping up to 14.7 over their six-game stretch.

Although its defensive metrics are terrible, Winnipeg can skate with the best of them offensively. Across all strengths, the Jets have attempted 40 or more scoring chances in five of their past six games and at least 14 quality chances in six straight. That has resulted in impressive game scores, with the Jets posting an expected goals-for rating above 50.0% in five of their past six games, of which they've won three.

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Colorado Avalanche

Over the past few seasons, the Avs remain one of the best teams analytically in the NHL this season. They have the eighth-best expected goals-for percentage at 5-on-5, with all of their relative metrics sitting in the league's upper-echelon. Still, that assertiveness has been lacking since they returned to action, putting the Avs at risk of getting outplayed for the third straight game.

At 5-on-5, the Avs have posted expected goals-for percentages of 47.6% and 46.9% in their two games back. That is the first time they have posted below-average ratings in consecutive games since the end of November and only the third time this season. Despite getting outplayed, Colorado secured victory in both games thanks to timely scoring.

The Avs have struck an unsustainable balance and are due for regression. Poor defensive zone coverage has impacted their ability to compete. Colorado has been out-chanced in quality chances in four of its past five while giving up at least 12 opportunities in six of their past seven. That is contributing to below-average expected goals-for ratings in four of their past five games, a span in which they are 4-1-0.

Jets vs. Avalanche Pick

Both teams have suspect defensive metrics over their recent samples and offenses that can capitalize on additional opportunities. We've highlighted the Avs as regression candidates, whereas the Jets are due for more victories than they have over their recent stretch.

On that basis, we're recommending plays on the Jets and the over in what should be an entertaining affair.

Pick: Jets +185 | Over 6

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