NHL Picks: Avalanche vs. Wild

David Lawrence

Saturday, January 19, 2013 3:18 PM GMT

Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 3:18 PM GMT

The Wild had quite the offseason as they took home the two biggest prize free agents. They signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to equal 13-year, $98 million contracts. Does this change our NHL Picks?

NHL Betting – Avalanche vs Wild NHL Picks 

This bolstered a lineup that desperately needed help. Now they’ll host the Colorado Avalanche on opening day and hope to prove to their fans that they are in fact a team on the rise in the West – just as they were at the beginning of last season.

Record: 0-0

The Colorado Avalanche can win because…

The Wild have a ton of pressure on them. Many people forget that the Avs were an effective team in the second half of the season. Sure, they weren’t a playoff team but goaltender Semyon Varlamov exceeded expectations, as did the team, helping them to cover betting odds.

The Avs are no longer a doormat in the Western Confernece as they have quality netminding, good offense and reliable defense. They are more than capable of heading to Minnesota – a team with all of the pressure on them – and escaping with a win.

The Avs frontlines are particularly good and should be better with one more year of seasoning. Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, David Jones and Gabriel Landeskog are all a year older and they should all prove to be one more year better.

As far as the home-ice advantage for Minnesota, the Avs finished with a record above .500 on the road last season and they won’t be intimidated by the moment. They finished better than Minnesota in the standings last year and are more than capable of taking this game.

The Minnesota Wild can win because…

They’ve re-tooled and are ready to continue what was previously an ascent up the Western Conference standings. While the Wild had one of the worst second halves of any team in the NHL season, many people forget that this team started 20-7-3. Sure, they hit a wall because of injuries and malfunctions, but if they can regain that confidence and add Parise and Suter to the mix, they’re going to be in great shape.

The Wild are deeper than people think. With Parise manning the top line and Mikko Koivu on the second line, the Wild should have two good anchors on their two top lines. Throw in Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, and the Wild’s feeble scoring offense should be much improved.

Meanwhile, the Wild have always been solid on defense but they struggled last season after trading away top-notch blue liner Brent Burns. Well, now they have a premier defenseman in Ryan Suter and things should fall back in order.

After a big offseason, the Wild will be looking to make a good impression to start the season. Look for them to put forth an inspired effort here.

[gameodds]7/218107/43/us[/gameodds]

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:

This is a very important game for Minnesota and it’s hard to see them faltering. They made big moves in the offseason to prove to their fan base that they are committed to winning, and those moves should pay off immediately. The Wild started hot last season and should do the same this year. Look for them to take care of business against Colorado for your hockey picks.

NHL Picks: Wild -140 at Bwin

Meanwhile, out West. The Kings will take on the Blackhawks~

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