Free Picks: Colorado Avalanche vs Minnesota Wild

Curtis Rush
NHL Free Picks – Best Bets of the Week
Avalanche vs Wild NHL
Colorado Avalanche vs Minnesota Wild, NHL, Ball Arena, Denver

The best sports bet for today is taking the home team, Colorado (-105, 888Sport) against Minnesota, on the moneyline. But an argument could be made to bet the underdog too (+200) for a bigger payday.  These two teams are as close as it gets. The Avs are 18-8-2 in second place in the West Division. The Wild are 18-9-1 in third place, just one point back.

Colorado is on a 5-game win streak

The Avs and the Wild can play both ways. They can play tight defense, and also really open it up. We’ve seen lots of offense the last two games. Colorado beat the Wild 5-1 earlier this week to take a 3-2 lead in the series. The previous game favored the Wild, 6-2. Two other contests were decided by 1 goal.

When I go about making my NHL picks, I look at a few things, and one of them is the firepower both sides bring, That’s why you could make a case to bet the Over for this game.

After all, Colorado has scored 17 goals in the five games between the two sides for an average of over 3 a game. The Wild have scored only 13, or just under 3 a game. But as good as both teams are offensively, they know how to protect the net. The Avs rank 4th in defense, allowing only 2.32 goals against, while the Wild rank 6th, averaging only 2.46 goals against.

When I’m making my NHL predictions, I look at some of the key players. A star who is emerging for Minnesota is Russian Kirill Kaprizov, who has 4 goals in his last 5 games, including a hat trick. He’s been stopped the last three games, but I think he could get back on track Saturday.

But for my money, I’m going with the Avalanche, who are dominating the NHL Stanley Cup odds. For good reason. Their top line of  Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog has been coming on strong. Rantanen had 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) against the Wild earlier this week, while MacKinnon and Landeskog each had 1 goal and 2 assists.

The Avs were rolling so much that they fired 55 shots at the Wild, forcing Minnesota goalie Cam Talbot to make an incredible 50 saves. This shot total was two off Colorado’s franchise record set in 1996, so this might have been an outlier. But Colorado is looking unstoppable, having won 5 straight.

Now, I don’t think the Avs can dominate the Wild  like that again. Good teams usually find ways to rebound. I think they make this a close game, but I still like the Avs on the money line (-105, 888Sport). And if you’re going to bet the total, I would take the Over (5.5) with Betway (-110).

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  • The Wild are 4-0 in their last 4 games following a loss by 3 or more goals.
  • The Avs are 5-0 in their last 5 games.
  • The Over is 5-0 in the Wild’s last 5 games as an underdog.
  • The Over is 6-1 in Colorado’s last 7 Saturday games.

I live in the land of ice and snow in Toronto, Canada's largest city. I can't skate very well, but I know sports, especially hockey, after a long career writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs and other teams at the country's largest newspaper, the Toronto Star. Betting on sports can be a rewarding experience when you understand the trends and underlying characteristics of the teams and players before laying down a bet. That's how I hope to point you in the right direction.