Today's Free Picks for
Game 3 - posted at 1:15 PM EST.
10:05 PM EST. OT included. Make no mistake that hockey results are greatly luck-driven. A shot from the point that is going wide can hit a stick that is a foot off the ice or a skate and deflect into the net and said team with said lucky deflection wins by one goal. Last night for instance, the Jackets were up 4-3 late in the third, when Zach Werenski tried to flip a puck out of his own end and instead of bouncing it off the glass, it went up and over the glass for a two-minute delay of game penalty. The Caps scored on the ensuing PP and sent the game into OT. That’s not skill. The Caps got lucky that the series could have turned around on that extremely lucky for them puck flip. The Jackets went on to win in OT, which was also lucky, as they spent way too much time in the penalty box and were under siege during Washington’s many PP opportunities. That’s just one example of luck playing a major role in outcomes, which brings us to the Predators/Avalanche series.
Nashville is up 2-0 in the best of seven but if you didn’t know that they could just as easily be down 2-0, then you have not watched much of this series. Nashville has scored some beautiful goals and they have not been outplayed but they have not come close to dominating games and one could even suggest that the games have been just about dead even. Both final scores so far are misleading, as the Avs scored first in both games and have held leads for significant amounts of time too.
Under the hood, the games have been so damn even too, with Colorado actually having more scoring chances and more high danger scoring chances than the Predators. The possession numbers are close, the scoring chances for and against are close and there is absolutely nothing, other than both teams’ regular season record and market perception, to suggest that the Avs should be priced like this at home.
The Predators have not been great in the first two games of this round one series back in Nashville. They have been good at times and have been opportunistic and are fortunate to be up 2-0. Give some well deserved credit to the Avalanche, as they have done the things necessary to get leads and keep games close. They are getting secondary scoring, Nathan MacKinnon is a factor and their goaltending (despite the Denver media carping) has been acceptable.
Again, the Avs have the best line in this series and the best player and now they get the luxury of playing at the Pepsi Center, where they went 28-11-2 during the regular season. Colorado has missed a number of open nets (unlucky). They are getting their opportunities on the power play but they have only converted on one of their eight chances (unlucky). Nashville cannot stay out of the box, as they led the league in penalties taken during the regular season and that has continued in this series, where Nashville is spending way too much time in the box, which is playing with fire. Colorado is coming of age and anyone expecting a four game sweep is kidding themselves. Colorado can still win this series but that’s a debate for another time, as the only thing we’re interested in is the value here on the home team and value it is, as Nashville’s 2-0 series lead is not undeserving but it’s not close to being completely legit either. Colorado offers up all the value here and if all things are equal, this series will be 2-1 after tonight.
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COLORADO +140 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.80)