NHL Picks: Confident Predators to Terrorize Striving Avalanche

Bruce Webster

Sunday, December 13, 2015 2:09 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015 2:09 PM UTC

The Colorado Avalanche visit the Nashville Predators tonight at Bridgestone Arena and we get together to break down the NHL odds and choose the best team to side with.

Colorado Avalanche (12-16-1-0 SU, 16-13 PL, 15-13-1 OU) vs. Nashville Predators (15-9-4-1 SU, 13-16 PL, 11-13-5 OU)
Nashville -183/ Colorado +165
?Total: 5.5
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Free NHL Pick: Nashville wins
Best Odds Offered By Heritage


The Colorado Avalanche come in off a tough 4-2 home loss to Pittsburgh and are currently in last place in the Central Division with just 25 points, while the Nashville Predators come in off an easy 5-1 home win over Chicago. The Preds have still won just four of their last 12 games. The home team has won the last four in the series.


Avs Are Searching for Their Offense
The Colorado Avalanche have been a top 10 offensive team this year, but of late they are looking more like the Flyers offense. The Avs check in at 9th in the league in scoring, putting up 2.7 gpg, but in their last five games they have failed to top two goals and have scored just a total of eight goals over that stretch. At home they have averaged 3.3 gpg coming into their last two here and yet could put up just two goals each in games vs Minnesota & Pittsburgh. One player that has remained hot for the Avs is Matt Duchene, who has scored three of Colorado’s last eight goals. He leads the team in both goals (15) and points (26).

Now the good news for Colorado, despite the fact that they are struggling to score; they have still gone 3-2 in their last five games and that is because they have locked it down on the other end of the ice. They did allow four goals to Pittsburgh, but still they have allowed a total of ten goals in their last five games, which is nearly a goal less per game than their season average of 2.9 gpg allowed. Not sure who will get the start here, but should it be Semyon Varlamov then he is 8-5 with a 2.96 GAA vs the Preds, while Reto Berra is 1-0 with a 1.07 GAA vs them in his career.

Must Read: Saturday's Savvy NHL Picks

James Neal Nets Two In Rout Of Blackhawks
On Thursday night, the Nashville Predators played the 2nd of a home-and-home with Chicago and after falling by a score of 4-1 in game one, they got revenge with a 5-1 win in game two. James Neal leads the way for the Preds with two goals, including the one that got them going in just 6:54 into the first period. The Preds were hoping for a fast start in the game and got it with the 3-0 lead after one. From there they just coasted. Neal now has 12 goals on the year, which leads the team. Nashville has been a decent offensive squad this year as they rank 14th in scoring (2.6 gpg) and 5th in power play conversions (21.6%).

Pekka Rinne had been struggling as he came into the game having lost seven of his previous eight games, but he clearly had his best game over that stretch vs Chicago on Thursday night as he stopped 35 shots to grab the win. Rinne is now 12-12 with a 2.40 GAA on the year and he is also 13-7 with a 2.07 GAA in his career vs the Avalanche. This has not been a great defensive team this year as they check in at 16th in goals allowed (2.6), despite the fact that they are 2nd in shots allowed. They have also struggled on the penalty kill, where they are 28th in the league.


Trends for Colorado:
6-16 in their last 22 road games vs. a team with a home winning percentage of greater than .600
1-5 in their last six when their opponent scores five goals or more in their previous game


Trends for Nashville:
43-19 in their last 62 home games
53-23 in their last 76 home games vs. a team with a losing road record


Betting Analysis
The Preds have been very inconsistent of late and so has Pekka Rinne, but I feel that they are still the NHL pick here vs a Colorado team that can’t score right now. The Preds have had their issues scoring of late, but do come in off a confidence building 5-1 win over the Blackhawks, in which their offense woke up. The Preds really beat up on bad teams at home and that will continue here and the NHL odds suggest as much.

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