Read our 2013-14 Stanley Cup Future Odds Update for an early edge in this season's games!
Colorado Avalanche were the worst team in the Western Conference last season as they picked up just 39 points in 48 games. However, their team is chalk-full of quality, young forwards. Let's review boths teams and see where the best betting value might be found.
The Anaheim Ducks can win because…
The Avs haven’t addressed their blue line. NHL betting experts can admit that Colorado has a good rotation of young forwards who will probably score a lot of goals this season. However, the blue line is still highlighted by Erik Johnson, Jan Hejda, Ryan Wilson (he is out) and Cory Sarich. That’s hardly a quality foursome. The Avs gave up 152 goals last season (3.2 per game) and while goaltender Semyon Varlamov gets much of the blame, he doesn’t exactly get much help.
The Ducks enter the 2013-14 season with the slogan “unfinished business”. They know that they had a great regular season but weren’t a factor in the playoffs. Yes, they traded away Bobby Ryan but they are expecting to be more balanced offensively now that they got Dustin Penner and Jacob Silfverberg. If Penner can perform on the top line like he did the last time he was in Edmonton and Silfverberg and some of the other young Ducks can continue to score, this team will be far less reliant on the one line. This is a veteran team who is focused and they won’t stumble in a place like Colorado on Wednesday.
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The Colorado Avalanche can win because…
The Ducks are shorthanded. Anaheim’s blue line was already a question mark to start but they’ll be without Francois Beauchemin and Sheldon Souray to start the season. People making their NHL picks know that that takes a big bite of a unit that wasn’t that strong to begin with.
Colorado has some issues but their offense should be able to exploit the Ducks defense. Matt Duchene, P.A. Parenteau, Ryan O’Reilly, Gabriel Ladeskog, Alex Tanguay and first-round pick Nathan MacKinnon could form a very formidable scoring unit.
While most experts who make their sports betting remember that the Avs were a brutal team overall in the lockout-shortened season, many forget that the Avs were a reasonable 12-9-3 at home. While that’s not a great record, it’s decent considering they were one of the worst teams in the league. Where they really struggled was on the road (4-16-4).
Outlook & Pick
The Ducks are the better team and they have the better goaltending. However, the Avs are entering a new day with Patrick Roy as the bench boss. You can rest assured that they’ll put their best skate forward on Wednesday night.
I see the best play in this game as being the over. The Avs blue line was pretty bad last season and they did nothing to improve it. The Ducks blue line was a weakness last season too and now they have to get by without Beauchemin and Souray. With so many good offensive weapons on either side, I see enough scoring to get this game over the number. While the NHL odds make it a hard choice for the side, take the over in this game.
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