Predators to Close Series vs. Avs with Strong 'Under' Effort Friday

Thursday, April 19, 2018 4:59 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 19, 2018 4:59 PM UTC

The "under" is 7-2-1 in Nashville’s last 10 games when its opponent scores two goals or less in the previous game. That trend should continue Friday with a series clincher against Colorado.

NHL Friday: Avalanche vs. PredatorsFree NHL Pick: 'Under' 6Best Line Offered: Betmania

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Back to "Smashville" we go, with the Nashville Predators in position to make quick work of pesky Colorado Avalanche. Splitting two games in Denver allowed the Predators to take a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference first-round matchup. In Wednesday's 3-2 win, Pekka Rinne made 31 saves and Nashville won 61 percent of the faceoffs. Game 5 is Friday night (9:30 ET; NBC Sports Network).

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OK, Colton! #StandWithUs | #NSHvsCOL

— p-Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) April 19, 2018

The opening number on the NHL odds board leaves little doubt that oddsmakers anticipate that this series will end Friday with a Nashville win. The Predators opened as -320 favorites but that hasn’t scared bettors away, with the number rising to -344 at Skybook. The Avalanche have not named a goaltender for Game 5 but it doesn’t appear to matter to both public and "sharp" wagers. Personally, I won’t be involved with this side because unless you’re a big player, I’m not sure what you’re getting out of a small wager at -344. The Avalanche are now 20-41 against the Predators in their last 61 meetings and 7-22 in their last 29 visits to Bridgestone Arena.

In our NHL picks we will look at the "total," which opened at 6 / -111 (over). In most spots, early wagers agree with my position that this game is going "under," but now we’re required to lay -105, although with a little shopping we can still find "even" money (5Dimes). Either way, it’s a good number, one that’s more reasonable to get involved with than -344.

Colorado is getting seasoned before they really start cooking. They might not win this series but they are being given the blueprint by the Predators as to what you have to be to find postseason success. The best part about Jared Bednar’s team is that they don’t quit, a trait that allowed them to stay in Game 4.

The Predators know how it feels to be the 16th seed in the postseason; just a year ago they opened the playoffs with a sweep of Chicago as a 16th seed. Of course, they eventually found themselves in the Stanley Cup Final against Pittsburgh. With that experience you can bet there won’t be a letdown in this series.

The biggest advantage for the Preds is clearly in goal, where Rinne’s play has allowed Nashville to activate their defensemen at will. Rinne had 42 regular-season wins to go with his top-six goals-against average and eight shutouts. With Semyon Varlamov not available for the Avalanche, this is the area with the biggest mismatch. I anticipate the Avalanche going down in this one as the Predators continue to get better on the defensive end.

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