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Golden Knights vs. Avalanche Game 5 Odds, Picks & Preview: Is Colorado in Trouble? (Tuesday, June 8)

Golden Knights vs. Avalanche Game 5 Odds, Picks & Preview: Is Colorado in Trouble? (Tuesday, June 8) article feature image

David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Alec Martinez.

  • The series moves back to Denver for a crucial Game 5 on Tuesday between the Golden Knights and Avalanche.
  • Vegas has won two straight after a pair of underwhelming defeats to start the series, leaving everyone wondering if Colorado was overhyped before this best-of-seven set.
  • Michael Leboff breaks down the matchup and delivers his best bets, a moneyline pick and player prop, for this matchup.

Golden Knights vs. Avalanche Odds

Golden Knights Odds +127
Avalanche Odds -148
Over/Under 5.5
Time Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET
Odds as of Monday and via DraftKings

What a difference a few days can make.

Coming into the West Division Final, the general consensus around the Hockey Universe were a train that could not be stopped. It was hard to argue against that sentiment since the Avs were the league’s best team in the regular season by basically every metric and then stomped all over the Blues in Round 1 in one of the most lopsided four-game sweeps you’ll ever see.

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The other West Division semifinal was not as straightforward, as the Golden Knights fell behind the Minnesota Wild, 1-0, then blew a 3-1 lead to land in a Game 7 at home. Vegas would ultimately prevail, but the reward was a showdown with the juggernaut Avs less than 48 hours later.

That game was ugly. Colorado blew the doors off of Vegas, 7-1, and dominated the expected goals battle, 4.17-1.64, in all situations. It looked like the Avs were on their way to justifying their -200 series moneyline.

After closing as -175 favorites for Game 1, Colorado went off at -195 in Game 2. While the Avs would win that contest, too, they were the second-best team by basically every metric, including losing the expected goals battle, 2.82 to 0.69, at 5-on-5. Vegas would carry that form into Games 3 and 4, outscoring Colorado 8-3 overall and 7-2 at even strength en route to back-to-back wins.

With the series knotted up and the Avs looking vulnerable for the first time all season, the betting market has cooled on the Colorado love. Oddsmakers have the Avs tabbed as a -148 favorite for Game 5. The Avalanche haven’t closed that low at home since they went off at -131 against the Knights on Feb. 21 (per Action Labs).

Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.

Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.

xG numbers and advanced stats cited from Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and Natural Stat Trick.

Golden Knights vs. Avalanche Game 5 Best Bets

While it is prudent not to overreact to a three-game sample, I do think that the betting market (and basically the entire hockey-watching world) was too high on Colorado coming into the series. The Avs have been the Stanley Cup favorite the entire season, won the Presidents’ Trophy and led the circuit in basically every predictive stat you could find.

Colorado posted the best 5-on-5 goal differential, expected goals rate and high-danger chance rate. And that was just the offense. The Avs also led the league in expected goals against and finished second in high-danger chances against.

The Avalanche are a prolific favorite, but the Golden Knights are not your run-of-the-mill underdog. In fact, the Knights finished with the same record as the Avs, allowed fewer goals and had a better actual goal differential. Colorado had a ton of momentum coming into Round 2, but to expect that this wasn’t going to be a heavyweight battle was a little naive and you could argue that the Avs are pretty lucky not be down 3-1 considering that Vegas has attempted 67 more shots and has more than doubled up the Avs by expected goals, 9.7-4.47.

So now bettors are pressed with a conundrum: Do you buy low on the Avalanche at -148 after they were -195 in their last home game? Or do you trust that the Knights are this good and can carry that form en route to a road win in Denver?

Personally, I would be pretty surprised if this number doesn’t move towards the Avs as we get closer to puck drop. A 50-cent swing likely won’t go unnoticed by bettors and you have to imagine that this number will tick up closer to -160. If that movement does come, I’d look to buy in on the Knights at the high-water mark, with +140 or better being a good number to target.

If you’re not terribly interested in backing a side but want to enjoy a fun little sweat, I’d direct you to the first goal-scorer (FGS) prop, which I find to be one of the most entertaining bets in sports.

While I acknowledge that FGS bets are a total crapshoot, I do tend to have a few different strategies. I like to target defensemen who run power-play units, big-bodied forwards who make their living in front of the net or the third-wheel on a team’s best line.

Chandler Stephenson fits that third category as he centers Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty. That line is thriving at the moment and while Pacioretty (+1050) and Stone (+1300) are a little too short for my liking, Stephenson feels like a nice price at 19/1.

Pick: Vegas +140 or better | Chandler Stephenson First Goal Scorer (+1900)

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