Chicago Is Our NHL Pick As Avalanche Won't Survive Blackhawks Attack

Dana Lane

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 3:08 PM GMT

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 3:08 PM GMT

The NHL odds show the Chicago Blackhawks as road favorites in tonight's clash against hosts Colorado Avalanche. Don't miss our betting preview & get the best NHL picks.

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Free NHL Pick: Chicago  -130
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

 

In the second game that features big names serving one game suspensions, the Chicago Blackhawks will be without Jonathan Toews facing the red hot Colorado Avalanche who have won five of their last six games. 

 

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Colorado Avalanche Overview
The break couldn't have come soon enough for the Blackhawks, who seem to be on cruise control since their 12 game winning streak ended. They are looking to break a three game road losing streak that included two shutouts. Despite the recent losses, Chicago is still an impressive 20-7 over their last 27 games and have won six straight vs. the Western Conference.

Despite their first half success, Chicago, who are ranked forth in my power rankings, should have a bittersweet taste in their mouth after three uninspired road efforts. Admittingly, I'm not crazy with Artem Anisimov centering the Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin line, but I think this game will be a low scoring affair, so I'll stick with Corey Crawford, Duncan Keith and Brett Seabrook to pull this grinder out. 

Calvin Pickard, who has given up seven goals in his last two starts, will make another start for the Colorado because starter, Semyon Varlamov, will be out again as he is continuing to deal with a civil suit involving an ex-girlfriend. That should be resolved soon. I feel more comfortable with Corey Crawford in this scenario. If you take out Crawford's last uncharacteristic start, he owned a 1.40 GA in the month of January. 

The Blackhawks second line appears to be heating up with the emergence of Marion Hossa. Not only has he increased his point output from month to month but he is only six goals shy of being the 49th player in league to record 500 goals. 

A key statistic when determining whether a team is Stanley Cup ready is how good are the stars +/- rating. In the case of Colorado, we see Jerome Iginla with an eye opening -17 while first liner Gabriel Landeskog and Defensmen Tuson Barrie are -4. You would expect that out of your defensemen, but you can't have two major parts of your offense not playing defense. I also want the team I'm financially backing to be faster and with the ability to create quality scoring chances, which is Chicago. In their last four meetings each team has two victories, but in each of those games Chicago outplayed Colorado. 

 

Betting Analysis
From a betting perspective, we talked about playing good teams on the puck line because it offers plus money at -1.5. The books have made of mint this season with people who feel the same. My advice is to stay away from the puck line because you're laying too much to get +1.5 and not enough upper echelon teams who have a positive return against the spread.

I bring this up because the Blackhawks are getting pounded early, as they are certainly one of those teams that you would feel that you could lay the puck line with reasonable confidence and find success. The public has been all over the Hawks at -1.5 +230 on the NHL odds boards, but I'm going to be patient and lay the small price for my NHL picks, especially with a Hawks team that is only 25-28 ATS this year including a 9-17 road mark. The road team in this series has won six of the last eight meetings.

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