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NHL Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks: Our 4 Best Bets for Edmonton Oilers vs. Colorado Avalanche, Including Plays on Nazem Kadri, Mike Smith (May 31)

NHL Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks: Our 4 Best Bets for Edmonton Oilers vs. Colorado Avalanche, Including Plays on Nazem Kadri, Mike Smith (May 31) article feature image
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André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nathan MacKinnon.

NHL betting analyst Nicholas Martin breaks down his four favorite plays ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals showdown between the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche.

Let’s take a look to see where he’s landed ahead of this huge series opener.

Valeri Nichushkin — Over 0.5 Points (-130)

The series between Calgary and Edmonton was great to us when it comes to player props, due to the high event style of hockey that produced a wealth of offensive production.

One narrative in particular that held strong value was backing the Flames’ second trio to generate offense and a lot of attempts on goal in that series.

It’s quite likely we could see a similar narrative here. If the Oilers try to play Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci against the Nathan MacKinnon unit, the Avalanche will skate a lot of minutes against some soft defenders.

Colorado’s second line will likely remain the same as we saw the last couple of games against St. Louis, meaning it will be Valeri Nichushkin and Mikko Rantanen on Nazem Kadri’s wings, which is an absurd comment to how stacked this Colorado team really is overall.

Nichushkin has produced at least one point in six of Colorado’s 10 playoff games so far, so I believe this is a good matchup for him to produce at a similar rate in what should be a high scoring series.

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Nazem Kadri — Anytime Goalscorer (+195)

As outlined, I expect Colorado’s second line to be a difference maker and we should see that unit generate offense at an effective clip.

Kadri had a fantastic series against St. Louis, which is far from surprising considering how tremendous his play has been all season long.  Kadri averaged 3.5 shots on goal per game against the Blues, which came from an average of 7.16 attempts on goal.

Therefore, I feel another good way to target this matchup is backing Kadri to score at anytime at +185 odds. Kadri has managed five goals this postseason, which hasn’t been surprising based off the amount of attempts he’s managing on goal.

Mike Smith — Over 32.5 Saves (-110)

Smith has cashed this number in six of the Oilers’ 11 playoff games so far. However, that came against Los Angeles and Calgary, and it’s very reasonable to think Colorado will generate an even greater shots-on-goal output.

Edmonton has allowed 37.2 shots against per 60 minutes this postseason, while Colorado has generated an 39.6 shots on goal per game.

Smith’s play has been quite steady, and in a worst-case scenario, he should receive a long leash if he has a poor start to the game before being pulled.

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Series Leading Goalscorers — Nathan MacKinnon (+500) | Mikko Rantanen (+750) | Andre Burakovsky (+4000)

There are three Colorado targets I see who hold some value in a series where it’s reasonably likely the team should score a fair amount more goals than Edmonton. Therefore, getting these long numbers based upon McDavid and Draisaitl’s perceived likelihood to be in the mix of leaders holds value.

I think splitting a unit between Rantanen and MacKinnon for a potential solid profit holds strong value. These two have been the Colorado’s most consistent goa lscorers over the previous three seasons, which makes me believe they’re the clear-cut lowest odds among the team’s players.

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Rantanen has had a slow start to the postseason, but has the ability to score in bunches. And he has scored 66 goals in his last 127 regular season games, while MacKinnon has registered 52 in his last 113 contests overall.

Rantanen hasn’t simply been a no-show in the playoffs, so I think based upon the play we have seen it’s likely the dominant Finn starts to find more goals. He will again feature on the second unit, which I believe could have a big series. Ratanen is also on Colorado top power-play line.

As for MacKinnon, he doesn’t need an explanation.

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