Take Avalanche +115 With Your NHL Picks vs. Predators

Swinging Johnson

Friday, January 8, 2016 6:31 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 6:31 PM UTC

Central division rivals Nashville and Colorado take the ice at the Pepsi Center in Denver as we analyze this matchup with a view towards cashing in our NHL picks tonight.

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NHL Pick: Play Colorado +115
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


Nashville Predators (19-21, -10.6 Units)
The Predators have dropped three of their last four with the latest setback coming courtesy of the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night. Despite peppering Jets’ rookie netminder Connor Hellebuyck with 44 shots, Colin Wilson was the only member of the Predators that could crack the code scoring midway through the third period to cut the lead to 3-1. Ultimately the Jets won the game 4-1, with the final goal being an empty netter, despite putting only 17 shots on Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.

Nashville has had a difficult time putting the puck in the net as they rank 18th in goals scored averaging only 2.6 goals per game. In order to boost their scoring punch the Predators made a deal on Wednesday to acquire the Blue Jackets’ Ryan Johansen and in exchange they sent defenseman Seth Jones to Columbus. The center iceman had 26 goals and 45 assists last season for Columbus and has registered 26 points this season. The Preds are hoping this move will make them more potent offensively but it will all be for naught if they continue to outshoot opponents at a greater than two-to-one margin and still come up empty as they did in their last game against Winnipeg.


Colorado Avalanche (20-21, +1.2 Units)
The Avs are fresh off a 4-3 overtime victory over the St. Louis Blues as Gabriel Landeskog notched the game winner at 4:44 into the extra frame. Yet Colorado would never have gotten to overtime had Nathan MacKinnon not lit the lamp with less than two minutes remaining in the third period with his goalie pulled.

Colorado is currently 5th in scoring averaging 2.9 goals per game but their defense has left something to be desired as they are ranked 23rd in the league allowing 2.8 goals per game. Center Matt Duchene leads the Avalanche with 19 goals and tied as the team point’s leader with 34 on the season. Semyon Varlamov has gotten the lion’s share of the goaltending duties for Colorado this season and was solid again stopping 35 of 38 shots against the Blues on Wednesday night. The 27-year-old Russian goalie has been better than good this season but a lackluster penalty killing unit has tarnished his overall stats. Varlamov checks in with a 2.67 goals against average and a .914 save percentage entering tonight’s action.

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Betting Analysis
The only time these teams met this season was back on December 12th when the Avalanche captured a 3-2 decision in Nashville. The venue has shifted to Denver for this one but the teams remain the same. The addition of Ryan Johansen will be a positive for the Preds but that must be tempered with the loss of a solid blueliner in Seth Jones. Colorado has handled Nashville with aplomb over the last four meetings recording a 3-1 ATS record and cashing for those who have included them in their NHL picks.

Tonight should be more of the same. The Predators are 1-6 in their last seven versus Western Conference opponents while the Avs are 5-1 ATS over their last six games against Central division opponents. The NHL odds makers are curiously making the visitors a slight favorite in this one despite the fact that the Predators are just 2-5 in their last seven visits to the Mile High City. Let’s not overthink this one. We have two similar teams with one holding the home ice advantage and coming out on the winning end on the vast majority of the teams’ get-togethers over the past two seasons.Colorado +115.

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