NHL Wednesday best bets: Can the Avalanche slow the Maple Leafs?
We have a surprisingly fun slate tonight. Headlined by a matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche, we have six games to look forward to.
Let's dive in with our best bets.
Kraken (-120) at Red Wings (+100)
Don't look now, but our beloved Seattle Kraken appear to have turned a corner. They have quietly won four of their last five games, besting high-end teams like the Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes, and Florida Panthers.
The Kraken haven't necessarily upped their play. In fact, their share of the chances and shots has actually dropped. But they're finally getting the competent goaltending they thought they'd have when they partnered 2021 Vezina finalist Philipp Grubauer with Chris Driedger, one of the NHL's save percentage leaders since entering the league. That's huge for them.
So, too, is better health. Calle Jarnkrok is their only forward confirmed to be sidelined, and, with just two points through 14 games, it's hard to argue that's a sizeable loss. Forwards Jaden Schwartz and Jordan Eberle missed the morning skate, so I recommend waiting for confirmation on their status.
Though the Detroit Red Wings are an improving side, they can still be exposed defensively. We saw that Tuesday when they were outshot 42-15 by a Brad Marchand-less Boston Bruins.
I think a fresh Seattle team should be able to control the run of play. As long as the goaltending holds up and at least one of Schwartz or Eberle play, it should be enough for the Kraken to pick up their fifth win in six games.
Bet: Kraken (-120)
Avalanche (+105) at Maple Leafs (-125)
The Maple Leafs are playing fantastic hockey right now. But luck has also played a role in their absurd run.
Take the last 10 games, for example: the Maple Leafs have controlled a whopping 58% of the expected goals across all game situations, but their share of the actual goals in that span is 73%. Put another way, they're getting better results than they deserve - I'm not trying to take anything away from this team, though, as I really do believe this is the best version of the Leafs we've seen.
Still, they're going to come down a notch sooner rather than later. They're not going to continue getting .961 goaltending, including .920 against high-danger shots.
For some perspective, only four teams have gotten .920 goaltending (or better) over the last 10 games. It's flat-out absurd the Leafs are getting goaltending that good against Grade A opportunities.
I'm buying Jack Campbell as a quality starter - I think he's legit - but even so, he's not this good (nobody is). What he's doing right now simply isn't sustainable.
If ever there was a time for the pendulum to swing, a game against the Avalanche seems like it. The Avs rank third in expected goal share during the last 10 games and were without their best player, Nathan MacKinnon, for the vast majority of them. Bowen Byram just returned, as well.
This Avalanche team, for my money, is as good as any when healthy. It's finally getting its key pieces in the lineup at the same time, and I expect it's about ready to go on a run.
I'll take Colorado plus money against anybody.
Bet: Avalanche (+105)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.