Free NHL Picks: Bet 'Under' In 1st Period Of Blues vs. Avalanche

Dana Lane

Sunday, April 3, 2016 4:40 PM GMT

The Blues need this game to stay within their striking distance of the Central Division lead. Find our NHL pick, statistics, and projections of the game. 

This won't be an easy task if the Colorado Avalanche are to make the playoffs this season as their last remaining games come against teams that have already punched their postseason ticket. Colorado is five points behind the Minnesota Wild for the last playoff spot and despite having a game in hand the Avalanche must sweep their remaining games to get in. Even with a win the Avalanche still must go through Nashville, Dallas and Anaheim to finish. 

 

Colorado Avalanche
Colorado hasn't exactly proven to be playoff worthy as of late losing four of their last five games including a 3-1 loss to the St.Louis Blues on Tuesday after winning the previous three games. They have now dropped three straight games at the Pepsi Arena and four of their last five while scoring only five times in those four losses.

On Friday against Washington, Patrick Roy's team came out lethargic which is why I'm leaning towards the first period 'under'. It's easy to spot teams that are not prepared to play by the way they pass the puck. Typically you want to consistently see three tape to tape passes wirth the first being from the defensemen out from the defensive zone to start a rush. This was a rare occurrence against the Caps.

With Nathan MacKinnon still out and Matt Duchene playing in just his second game after a knee injury the Av's are having trouble accessing the offensive zone and when they do maintaining the puck continues to be a problem. You'd like to see a Jerome Iginla step up but he has just one goal in his last 13 games while failing to score in six straight against the Blues. Duchene has 29 goals this season, a career high, but only 10 of them have come at home. 

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St. Louis Blues
Both teams have not been great offensively this season with the Blues averaging 2.64 goals per game while the Avalanche are even worse at 2.60. Neither team ranks in the upper half of the league nor the NHL picks

Expect the Blues to start resting some players that are nursing injuries. Ken Hitchcock will rest Robby Fabri (Lower Body), Jay Bouwmeester (upper body) and Carl Gunnarsson (lower body). All of them put in a full practice yesterday so they would all probably play if this was a more important regular season game. 

Recent history suggest that an 1st period 'under' is the side. I wanted to see how the Blues bounce back after a poor defensive outing like they had against the Bruins allowing six goals. In their last 20 games after allowing five goals or more the following game has hit the 'under' 12 times with three pushes. 

 

Final Analysis
It seems the Av's prefer a slower pace against their Western Conference foes as the 'under' has cashed in 7 of their last 9 games in the NHL odds boards with the 'under' cashing 14 of the last 21 meetings with 4 pushes. We are backing the first period 'under' 1.5 in this one.

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Free NHL Pick: 'under' 1.5 (-131) 1st period
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle