Predators Are Favorites in NHL Betting Lines in Game 1 vs. Avalanche
The Nashville Predators were the last team in the NHL playoffs last season and all they did was pull off a historic first-round sweep of the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks. Now, Nashville is the West’s No. 1 seed as it opens the playoffs Thursday as the NHL betting lines favorites against the Colorado Avalanche.
How to Bet Avalanche at Predators NHL Hockey Odds & TV Info
When: Thursday, 9:30 PM ET
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: 850AM (Colorad0) / 102.5 FM (Nashville)
Opening NHL Betting Lines: Predators -300, Avalanche +240 (5.5)
The Predators won all four games against the Avalanche this season and enjoy perhaps the best home-ice advantage in the league.
The last meeting was a 4-2 Nashville win on March 16 in Denver. Colton Sissons and Filip Forsberg each scored twice, backup goaltender Juuse Saros stopped 33 shots and the Predators secured their postseason berth. Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog had the goals for Colorado. Semyon Varlamov turned back 24 shots.
Why Bet on Colorado?
The Avs got the West’s final playoff spot with a 5-2 home win over St. Louis on Saturday to end a three-game skid — the Blues finished just one point back. Nathan MacKinnon scored his first goal in 10 games, and Jonathan Bernier stopped 32 shots. Defensemen Samuel Girard and Tyson Barrie scored, while Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Nieto added empty-netters for the Avalanche, who won the West’s second wild card and head to the postseason for the first time since 2013-14.
Not bad for a team that had an NHL-worst 48 points last year. Colorado was a big underdog story this season and MacKinnon played a big role in getting them into the postseason with his breakout performance. He finished the campaign with 39 goals and 97 points in 74 contests. He’s a contender for the Hart Trophy given that the Avalanche have made the playoffs.
Semyon Varlamov (knee) will not be available to play in Round 1 of the postseason. Coach Jared Bednar has announced that Varlamov won’t be ready to play in Colorado’s series versus Nashville. He suffered a knee injury on March 30 against Chicago and hasn’t played since. Bernier will go into the opening round as the No. 1 goalie for the Avalanche. Bernier finished the season with a 19-13-3 record, a 2.85 goals-against-average and a .913 save percentage. Andrew Hammond, who was acquired in the Matt Duchene trade, will serve as the backup.
In addition, top defenseman Erik Johnson is out with a fractured bone in his knee. He might get back sometime in Round 2 if the Avs pull the upset.
The Avalanche have one of the best power plays in the league (ranking seventh, at 21.9 percent). It will match up with the Predators’ penalty kill (sixth in the league, at 81.9 percent). The Avalanche have been even better at killing off penalties though, ranking third in the league, at 83.3 percent.
Why Bet on Nashville?
Pekka Rinne has been sensational; he’s the Vezina Trophy front-runner and looks to build off last year’s postseason run. The 35-year-old has put together strong stretches throughout his career, but he has looked as locked in as ever for the entire season (.927 save percentage, 2.32 GAA). Posting a .939 even-strength save percentage and an .833 high-danger save percentage (eighth in the NHL, via Corsica Hockey), Rinne is the cream of the crop when it comes to goaltending this season.
The Preds ranked No. 2 in goals-allowed this season. They certainly have two of the overall best defensemen in Roman Josi and P.K. Subban. Subban’s outstanding skating and offensive skill combined with Ekholm’s length, smarts and sound defensive play create huge challenges for opponents,
Nashville didn’t have any 30-goal scorers this season but is deep at forward. When the Preds acquired Kyle Turris early this season, they solidified a center position that was lacking in depth. He fit in brilliantly with the veteran Craig Smith and 21-year-old Fiala, who scored 23 goals. Nashville’s 1B line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson produced a plus-18 goal differential in 518 minutes.
Center Calle Jarnkrok (upper body) wore a white non-contact jersey at Monday’s practice. Jarnkrok skated on Nashville’s fifth line alongside Scott Hartnell and Eeli Tolvanen during the session. He is close to a return, but it’s unclear if that will happen for Game 1.
Fellow center Mike Fisher registered an assist in the Predators’ season finale on Saturday. Fisher came out of retirement and made his season debut on March 2. He’s recorded two goals and four points in 16 games while averaging a bit over 12 minutes per contest. He’s added to the Predators’ already impressive depth and is providing them with a key veteran presence
Latest NHL Betting Trends
- Colorado is 44-39 ATS in all games this season
- Colorado is 25-20 ATS second half of the season this season
- Avalanche are 26-23 ATS revenging a loss versus opponent this season
- Nashville is 53-30 ATS in all games this season
- Nashville is 18-8 ATS vs. division opponents this season
- Predators are 31-14 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record this season
Expert NHL Betting Prediction
Nashville has won 10 straight vs. Colorado and will make it 11 on Thursday by a score of 4-2.