NHL weekend best bets: Avalanche to rebound vs. Oilers

Thursday was another good night on the ice as, between best bets and player props, we swept the board at 5-0.

We’ll aim to keep the ball rolling puck moving with a pair of sides for the weekend ahead.

Predators (+135) @ Capitals (-155)
Jan. 6, 7:00 pm ET

We successfully backed the Capitals to take care of business Thursday night, and we’re going right back to them.

The Capitals are on an 8-1-2 run and playing as well as almost any team in hockey right now. They are rolling teams at five-on-five, their power play is dangerous, and they are getting good goaltending.

Many teams really suffer when their starter needs a night off. Washington isn’t one of them. While Darcy Kuemper is having a really solid year, Charlie Lindgren is right there with him.

Lindgren owns a .914 save percentage – well above the league average of .900 – and actually slots ahead of Kuemper in terms of goals saved above expected on a per-start basis. He should be able to hold his own against the Predatorswho ranks 27th in goals per game.

I think Nashville will be more impacted by not having their starter available. With Juuse Saros having faced 67 shots, there’s no way the Predators should even consider going back to him Friday. That means Kevin Lankinen will get the nod in goal.

He started the year very well but has struggled of late, allowing five goals in three of his past five starts. The two exceptions came against the Islanders and Red Wings – mediocre offensive teams that are outside of the playoff picture.

Lankinen has really struggled of late when facing quality teams, and the Capitals certainly qualify.

I think they’re the better team, employ the most in-form goaltender, and have home ice in their back pocket. Look for the Caps to convert that into another two points.

bet: Capitals in regulation (-115)

Avalanche (TBD) @ Oilers (TBD)
Jan. 7, 10:00 pm ET

The Avalanche have dropped five consecutive games and find themselves outside of a playoff spot as a result. Don’t let that fool you; they are still a very good team, and their form is not nearly as bad as it appears on the surface.

At five-on-five, the Avs rank top 10 in expected goal share and high-danger chance share over the last 10 games. Put another way, they’re getting more than their fair share of looks at full strength.

The biggest issue has been converting those looks into goals. The Avalanche have finished just over 5% of their five-on-five shots during this spell, which ranks them near the bottom of the NHL.

Despite missing several key players, the Avalanche have far too much talent to score at such a low clip over a large body of work. Nathan MacKinnon‘s recent return should spark the offense. There’s a real shot Evan Rodrigues – who has 16 points through 26 games – is able to return to the lineup Saturday as well.

Even if Rodrigues does miss another game, I still see value on the Avalanche. Their five-on-five process is strong, the power play remains dangerous, and the Oilers‘goaltending situation might just be the elixir to their problems.

Jack Campbell has conceded two goals in two straight starts and won his last game, which means he will probably get the nod against Colorado. That would be a welcome sight for the Avs.

Among 42 goaltenders to play in at least 15 games this season, Campbell ranks 40th in goals saved above expected (-12).

If Campbell gets the start because he stopped 20 of 22 against the mediocre Islanders, Colorado will surely make Edmonton pay.

I expect the Avalanche to come out with purpose and, perhaps aided by reinforcements, enjoy some of that positive shooting regression against an exploitable Oilers team.

bet: Avalanche (projected range: -120)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

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