The Colorado Avalanche took advantage of a quirky schedule that saw them play 16 of 18 games on home ice. In the process, the Avalanche went 14-1-3 and have tallied points in 14 consecutive games. But tonight they start a grueling trek that will have 14 of their last 19 games on the road, and the stretch begins with a tough opponent.
Let’s take a look at this West Division clash, the seventh of eight meetings between the two teams this season, from a betting perspective in our Avalanche vs. Wild betting preview with odds, picks and predictions.
The Minnesota Wild were in last place in the West Division entering play on Feb. 18. Since then, they’ve gone 17-5-2 for the third best mark in the NHL over that span (behind Colorado and Washington) and can pass both teams with a win tonight.
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Avalanche vs. Wild Betting Pick
Colorado vaulted itself into first place in the West Division with their red hot run over the past 30 days. They now have a four-point edge on Vegas and a six-point lead on Minnesota, although both teams have a game in hand.
The Avalanche have had success against the Wild this season so far, going 4-1-1 in the six contests, including a pair of blowouts a couple weeks ago in Denver, winning both games by a combined score of 11-1.
Meanwhile, Minnesota has clawed its way back into the race for the Division crown, and if you take out the two beatdowns at the hands of the Avalanche, have dusted their opponents by a composite score of 78-44, a +34 goal differential in 22 games.
In those 22 games, the Wild have held their opponents to one goal or fewer 11 times, including four shutouts. But Colorado is a different animal, and the Wild are going to have to be at their very best if they want to slow down the high-powered Avalanche.
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Avalanche vs. Wild Odds
Here are the lines for Avalanche vs. Wild at DraftKings Sportsbook:
Spread: Avalanche (-1.5 +148); Wild (+1.5 -177)
Moneyline: Avalanche (-175); Wild (+148)
Over/Under: Over 5.5 (-108)/Under 5.5 (-113)
Bets We Like With a Avalanche Win
Nathan MacKinnon to score 2+ points (+145, DraftKings) and Miko Rantanen to score 2+ points (+150, DraftKings)
There’s actually a lot of ways to go with player props if you believe the Avalanche will keep on rolling.
In six games against Minnesota this season, Colorado has five players averaging at least one point per game. So you can even consider players like Cale Makar (2-4-6), Joonas Donskoi (3-3-6) or Gabriel Landeskog (2-6-8).
But, MacKinnon and Rantanen have been unstoppable against Minnesota. Mackinnon has 10 points (one goal, nine assists) against the Wild and Rantanen has eight total points, including a team-best four goals.
In fact, MacKinnon and Rantanen have registered a point on the same goal five times this season against Minnesota.
Also, Rantanen leads the Avalanche in scoring in road games with 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points in 14 games. Either, or both of these bets have value tonight.
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Bets We Like With a Wild Win
Minnesota to score first AND win the match (including OT or shootout) (+235, DraftKings)
The Wild have not lost a home game since Jan. 30 (vs. Colorado). Since then, they are 11-0-0 and have outscored their opponents 40-14 at Xcel Energy Center. And although Colorado seemingly ranks first in the NHL offensive category, the Wild play a much more concerted defensive game on home ice, where coach Dean Evason gets the last line change and is able to get the matchups he likes.
If the Wild are going to pull this upset, they’re going to have to play like they’ve been playing on home ice, and that would mean getting a lead and protecting it. In those 11 straight wins, the Wild scored first eight times. So if you believe the Wild can win this one, there is great value here.
Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
UNDER 5.5 goals (-113, DraftKings)
Quite simply, these are two good defensive teams with two good goalies in a game where the Wild are going to be looking to avenge those two blowout losses – really their only black eye on an otherwise stellar seven-week run of good hockey. Philipp Grubauer will be in net for the Avalanche and he leads the NHL is goals against average (1.76) while also checking in at second in save percentage (.929).
Meanwhile, Cam Talbot has been excellent in his own right, ranking sixth in goals against among goalies with at least 15 starts (2.26) and is tied for fourth in save percentage (.928).
If special teams comes into play, while Colorado has a solid power play (23.4%), Minnesota does not (10.8%) and both teams rank in the top five in the NHL at killing penalties. Regardless of who wins, this should be a close, low-scoring battle in the State of Hockey.
Avalanche vs. Wild Prediction
Minnesota made a statement sweeping two games from the Golden Knights last week out in Las Vegas. They aren’t just happy to be in the playoffs – they want to be among the Cup contenders, and they are playing like one now.
They also have revenge on their minds from the two game debacle in Denver, plus the Avalanche were the last road team to win in Minnesota. And really, how long can a point streak go on for the Avalanche anyway?
Call it a hunch, or just knowing how these things often play out in the NHL, but the Wild seem poised to pull off the upset. Probably not both games this week against Colorado, but definitely catching them a little off guard in this one, as Colorado gets back to the grind of playing on the road. The Wild are a great value play at +148.
If you want to get crazy and bet them AND the under? That pays out at +330 on DraftKings. Yet again, good value.
Make it Wild 3, Avalanche 2.
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