Oilers at Avalanche Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 3/12/2013
Neither of these teams is very good. The Avalanche have 24 points in 24 games, which is good enough for 12th in the Western Conference — four points out of a playoff spot. The Oilers have played one more game and have one less point. For Colorado, the performance is about what would have been expected from their season given the talent they have and the distraction of the Ryan O’Reilly contract holdout that only ended five games ago. For Edmonton, though, the season has been a major disappointment. They have a wealth of young talent thanks to three No. 1 draft picks and more high-level picks plus the addition of coveted college free agent Justin Schultz, but they just haven’t been able to get things rolling yet. Their inexperience has led to a lack of consistency and scoring that hasn’t met expectations. Combine that with frustrating goaltending, and the results they have achieved aren’t that surprising.
So, why care about a game between two teams unlikely to make the playoffs? Well, these teams share an interesting distinction. Over their first 24 games the Chicago Blackhawks had not lost in regulation. Now they have done so twice in a row — first they fell 6-2 in Colorado on Friday then 6-5 at home to Edmonton on Sunday night. The two losses were obviously very surprising. Now handicappers need to determine whether either of these teams can carry the momentum forward here.
Oilers at Avalanche Betting storylines
Ryan O’Reilly missed Colorado’s first 19 games in a contract holdout that threatened to get even uglier than it did. He’s not a superstar-caliber player, but the young center has the potential to be at the top of the second tier in the league. There is perhaps nothing more rare and valued than a top young center, so his bargaining position was strong. The situation was brought to a head when the Calgary Flames offered the restricted free agent a deal. The Avs wasted no time in matching despite the hefty two-year, $10 million price tag. He made no real impact in his first two games back since he had a lot of rust to knock off — he had played in the KHL earlier in the year, but had been on the sidelines for weeks. He has two goals and two assists in the last three, though, and has at least a point in all three games. The team is 2-1 over that time with wins over Chicago and San Jose, so he is paying dividends for the team and is sure to have an impact here. O’Reilly had seven points in six games against Edmonton last year, so he likes playing against the Oilers.
The Oilers are at the end of a brutal seven-game road trip — their home ice has been the site of the Canadian Men’s Curling Championships. This is their ninth straight game away from home — a trip that started back on Feb. 25. They are just 2-4-2 on that stretch. There have been highlights — the Chicago win and a huge 5-1 win at Dallas. Before the Chicago game, though, the team had lost by a combined 9-0 score to Nashville and Detroit in consecutive games. They have almost limitless talent on the team, but they are so far from consistent that their success from last game can hardly be counted on to lead to success here. It is even harder to assess this team here given that we can’t be sure if they are going to look to close the trip out strong or, more likely, they will be looking forward to finally sleeping in their own beds by early Wednesday morning.
One cause for concern for Edmonton here is the status of Devan Dubnyk. The goalie has been playing a little better recently than he had earlier in the season. In the second period of the Chicago game he was hurt in a collision, and he missed the rest of the game. With Nikolai Khabibulin on the IR, it was Yann Danis who stepped in — and was underwhelming. If Dubnyk isn’t ready to go in this one, then Danis is a liability.
Oilers at Avalanche NHL Odds and Betting Trends
At BookMaker, Colorado has been listed as a -145 favorite with the Oilers posted as a +125 road underdog. The total is at 5.5.
The home team has won the last four meetings between the teams. The “under” is 5-1-1 in the last seven games. The Avalanche have won their last five at home. The Oilers have gone “over” in six of their last seven, and the over is 3-0-1 the last four times the team has played a third game in four nights as they are now.
Oilers at Avalanche Picks and Betting Predictions
The Avalanche are attractive here. They are comfortable at home and are playing with confidence right now. Their goaltending is superior, and they are somewhat more consistent than the Oilers. The Oilers are a concern in net, and I really question their focus in this one at the end of the trip. Colorado is the pick.
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