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Avalanche warning in Chicago, and the NHL best bets you need to make this week

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The Colorado Avalanche take their high-scoring forwards on a road trip to the the Midwest while the struggling Nashville Predators play back to back games in New York.

We break down the odds for those games and much more as we bring you the best hockey betting notes, trends and predictions so you can make some bucks on the pucks.

STRUGGLING ALL-STAR

The Nashville Predators and, more specifically, goaltender Pekka Rinne are in a slump. The veteran goalie gave up four more goals on Saturday which brings his total to 29 goals allowed in his last eight games. On Monday, Rinne and the Preds will travel to the Big Apple to take on the New York Rangers.

The Rangers averaged nearly four goals a game over their most recent four-game road trip as their power play went 4-for-12 as well. New York also sits fourth in the league in expected goals since December 8.

Nashville has recently been playing better than usual on it’s penalty kill, as it has killed off its last seven penalties, but still sits 24th in the league at 77.5 percent. The Preds are due to give up a PP tally or two and the young guys from New York might oblige. Take the Rangers’ team total Over 2.5.

A BOLT OF OVER

The Ottawa Senators have hit the Over in six of their last eight games as their scoring chance shooting percentage sits fifth-best in December. They have also allowed their opponents to score three or more goals in six of their last eight, making Tuesday’s match against the Tampa Bay Lighting a great spot for an Over.

The Lightning may be the most disappointing team this year as they sit fifth in the Atlantic Division. The Bolts are just 2-5 SU at home in their last seven but the goal-light operator has been busy at the Amalie Arena as Tampa has hit the Over nine times in its last twelve home games.

Tampa Bay has the second-best power play in the league and could get ample opportunity to prove themselves against the Senators’ who are averaging nearly four minor penalties a game in December. Take the Over 6.5 on this Tuesday matchup.

STINGY NETMINDERS

The Carolina Hurricanes have not allowed a regulation goal in over 130 minutes of hockey — a streak that spans three games. On Wednesday, they will square off with the Winnipeg Jets who bounced back Sunday night with a win after losing to the lowly Red Wings on Saturday.

Wednesday night’s tilt has the looks of a low-scoring affair. Both Carolina and Winnipeg sit in the Top-6 in goals against on the season but have been even stingier in December. Combined, the Jets and Canes have allowed just 22 goals in their 11 games this month.

Winnipeg is 4-9-2 O/U at home this year and are 2-5-1 O/U in its last eight while the Hurricanes are 2-9 O/U in their last 11 and 7-9 O/U on the road this year. Hit the Under 5.5 on Tuesday and if it opens at 6, give it a double-tap.

SNOWSTORM HEADED TO CHICAGO

The Colorado Avalanche will take their four-game road winning streak into St. Louis on Monday and then to Chicago on Wednesday. Colorado’s offense is back to full health and has been getting scoring production from its Top-9 forwards. That’s bad news for the Blackhawks who have allowed their opponents to score four or more goals in seven of their last nine and are 2-4 ATS in their last six.

Colorado has been one of the league’s best traveling teams this year and are 11-6 SU on the road and are averaging 3.4 goals a game while playing better defensive hockey than any other club over their last 10 games.

With how hot (and deep) the offense has been of late as well as the stellar play from goalie Pavel Francouz, we are going to ride the Avalanche -1.5 Puck Line on Wednesday night.

GOALIE PROFILE: SEMYON VARLAMOV, NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Nobody thought that Semyon Varlamov would be 11-3-2 with a 2.24 goals against and a .928 save percentage halfway through December, but here we are. The Russian netminder finds himself among the league leaders in most goalie stats and has been a winner in each of his last four starts.

On Tuesday, the Islanders will host the Nashville Predators who will have to do something most teams haven’t been able to do this year, which is score goals in Long Island. Varlamov and the Islanders have not allowed an opponent to score more than two goals at home in six of their last eight. New York has just shut it down defensively this month and allows the fewest goals against at home.

We feel that the Islanders’ ML is the right play here, but if it is outpriced (below -140) we have no problems taking the Under 2.5 on the Predators’ team total.

INJURY UPDATE: F JARED SPURGEON, MINNESOTA WILD

The Minnesota Wild have climbed up the Western Conference standings of late having picked up the second-most points in the West over their last 10 games. Things could be getting even better with the return of defenseman Jared Spurgeon this week.

Spurgeon has been out since December 3 and was second on the team in average ice time at 23:15 a game. Getting the D-man back for Tuesday’s contest against the Vegas Golden Knights could be a big boost for the Wild’s special teams as Spurgeon plays on the top penalty-killing unit and the second power-play unit. The Wild ML should be a great value with Minnesota playing on the road.

HAT TRICK TRENDS

• The Colorado Avalanche have the league’s best away record on first-period Overs. The Avs are 14-3 O/U first-period totals on the road and will head to St. Louis on Monday to take on the Blues who are 4-2 O/U first-period totals in their last six.

• Under bettors had a great week last week as the Unders in 26 of the 44 games (59%). There are fewer totals of 6.5 these days as the league has seen the Under trend take over. Monday’s opening lines listed zero games at 6.5. The Washington at Columbus total of 6 is looking like our favorite for the Under.

• On Tuesday, the Ottawa Senators will face the Lightning in what will be the tail end of a back-to-back. The Sens should be big underdogs, especially on the road. Ottawa is 5-5 SU in their last 10 games when being a +150 underdog or higher.

Canucks vs Golden Knights picks and predictions for Game 1

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Perhaps no team has been more fun to follow during the NHL playoffs than the Vancouver Canucks, and hockey bettors can still get the Canucks at +1,300 to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup. Vancouver is coming off a thrilling series win against the defending champion St. Louis Blues, but now a much more difficult challenge awaits. The Vegas Golden Knights are +350 favorites to win it all, and they’ve certainly looked the part while dropping only one playoff contest.

Game 1 of this series gets underway Sunday, so we’re here to bring you our NHL picks and predictions in this Western Conference semifinal showdown.

Vancouver Canucks vs Vegas Golden Knights betting preview

Starting Goalies

Canucks: Jacob Markstrom – playoffs – 7-3, 2.44 GAA, .929 SV% (season – 23-16, 2.75 GAA, .918 SV%)

Golden Knights: Robin Lehner – playoffs – 5-1, 2.44 GAA, .904 SV% (season – 19-10, 2.89, .920 SV%)

If this game was actually played in Las Vegas, then Markstrom could easily spend a few hours performing with Cirque du Soleil. The 30-year-old dazzled against Blues with an eye-opening array of acrobatic saves and an impressive 7-3 record. He’ll need to provide more of the same against a dangerous Vegas squad.

The Knights will likely roll with Robin Lehner, who has taken over the spot as Vegas’s starter in the crease—and rightfully so. Still, the Knights have the luxury of having Marc-Andre Fleury as their “backup.” The five-time All-Star matched an NHL record this season with his 14th consecutive playoff appearance.

Injuries

Vancouver: Tyler Myers D (out), Tyler Toffoli RW (out), Micheal Ferland LW (out), Josh Leivo LW (out)

Vegas: Tomas Nosek LW (out)

Betting Trend to Know

Canucks are 0-6 in their last six Sunday games. Find the latest NHL betting trends for Canucks vs. Golden Knights.

MONEYLINE PICK

The Canucks have been a force with the extra man during the postseason, converting 26.2% of their power plays. While the Knights are known for their offensive firepower, it’s their stingy defense that allows them to suffocate opponents—as evidenced by an 86.4% penalty kill during their playoff run. Vancouver is the only team in the league to never beat Vegas in regulation, going 0-11 all time. That’s something I just can’t ignore.

PREDICTION: Vegas ML (-175)

OVER/UNDER PICK

Each team is filled with loads of offensive talent. Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller have combined for 11 goals thus far. Elias Pettersson has racked up 13 points, tied with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon for the playoff lead.

The Knights can match Vancouver’s scorers, but they’re more balanced—Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch and Mark Stone have each lit the lamp four times during the postseason. The difference is on defense, where Vancouver has allowed the most high-danger chances of all remaining playoff teams.

PREDICTION: Over 5.5 (-110)

PROP PICK

Though I like Vegas to win, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks kept it close and continued their offensive success. I’ll take a flyer on Vancouver scoring at least three goals.

PREDICTION: Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)

Canucks vs Golden Knights Betting Card

  • Vegas ML (-175)
  • Over 5.5 (-110)
  • Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)
NHL Parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s NHL Canucks vs Golden Knights picks, you could win $104.93 on a $10 bet?

Use our NHL parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Verlander injury shuffles Astros’ MLB futures odds

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MLB betting got a shake-up Sunday afternoon, specifically on World Series odds and AL pennant odds, with news that Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander could miss the rest of the season – or at least a significant chunk of it – with an arm injury.

Initial reports suggested Verlander had an elbow ailment, but both he and manager Dusty Baker quickly denied that. Baker called it a forearm strain and said that Verlander would be re-evaluated in “a couple of weeks.” The reigning AL Cy Young winner pitched a solid six innings in an 8-2 Opening Day rout of the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Verlander’s injury led oddsmakers to shuffle futures book odds on the defending AL champions. Covers checked in on the MLB odds moves with a couple of Las Vegas sportsbooks.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ World Series odds?

At CG Technology books, risk analyst Rich Zanco said the Astros quickly moved from +1,200 to +1,800 in World Series futures. The SuperBook at Westgate also had Houston pegged +1,200 prior to Sunday’s news and initially went to +1,600, then dialed it a little further to +1,800.

However, there were apparently buyers on the Astros at that point, prompting the SuperBook to reel the price in to +1,400.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ American League odds?

In AL pennant futures, the Astros initially moved from +600 to +800 at The SuperBook, then ticked back to +700.

World Series odds

Team Odds to win
Los Angeles Dodgers +350
New York Yankees +350
Houston Astros +600
Atlanta Braves +1,600
Minnesota Twins +1,600
Tampa Bay Rays +1,800
Washington Nationals +2,000
Cleveland Indians +2,000
New York Mets +2,000
Chicago Cubs +2,000
Oakland Athletics +2,000
St. Louis Cardinals +2,500
Cincinnati Reds +2,500
San Diego Padres +2,500
Philadelphia Phillies +3,000
Chicago White Sox +3,000
Los Angeles Angels +3,000
Milwaukee Brewers +4,000
Boston Red Sox +5,000
Arizona Diamondbacks +6,000
Colorado Rockies +8,000
Toronto Blue Jays +10,000
Texas Rangers +10,000
Pittsburgh Pirates +20,000
Detroit Tigers +20,000
San Francisco Giants +30,000
Seattle Mariners +30,000
Miami Marlins +30,000
Baltimore Orioles +30,000
Kansas City Royals +30,000

Odds courtesy The SuperBook