Because we pick and choose which NHL games we’re going to preview with our writers, you’re not going to find too many instances when we write about a -270 favorite. Well, with three games on Friday night and a very interesting situational betting spot, that’s what you get today. The Carolina Hurricanes have been steamed from the opener of -235 up to as high as -275 out there in the marketplace for this visit from the Colorado Avalanche. Those that want to get involved on a light Friday night in the sports betting world can check out DSI Sportsbook, where the promo code ‘BTBRADIO’ is good for a $10 free bet just for signing up and an additional 50 to 100 percent deposit bonus based on the amount of your initial deposit.
Colorado is terrible. There’s really no other way to put it. Scouts are stalking like vultures at all of their games as the Trade Deadline approaches. The Avalanche started the season 3-1. They are 15-38-2, so they have lost 39 of their last 51 games. It’s hard to put into words just how atrocious that really is. They have three wins since Christmas. First-year head coach Jared Bednar has had some injuries to deal with, but this is just an absolute mess of a team. The Carolina Hurricanes are not in a great spot here. Carolina last played on February 11 and had three days off prior to that game against Dallas. The Stars are awful right now and Carolina lost that game 5-2. Coming off the bye has not been a good spot for teams. In fact, with Los Angeles’s loss last night, teams coming off of the bye are 3-9-1 and each of the last seven have lost by two or more goals in that first game back off the mandated break. Shout-out to my dude @jimmydoomhands on Twitter, who has been tracking this with me over the last couple weeks.
The hard part about situational handicapping is that you sometimes have to stick to your guns with some really, really terrible teams. Colorado is a really terrible team. It seems like I cannot stress that enough. With last night’s 2-0 loss to Buffalo, in which the Avalanche managed just 20 shots against a team playing its seventh game in 11 nights, Colorado was shut out for the ninth time this season. Here is a good summary of how Colorado played last night, courtesy of @CorkGaines on Twitter. So, yeah, your 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche, everybody! It really is as bad as it appears. Colorado is -77 in goal differential this season. They’ve scored 109 goals, which is the fewest in the NHL by 22 and they’ve given up 186. Only Dallas and Winnipeg have allowed more. This is going to shock you, but Colorado sucks on the power play, too.
The point totals are sad for the Avs. Nathan MacKinnon has 38 points in 55 games. Matt Duchene has missed a handful of games, but he has 33 points in 50 contests. Mikko Rantanen has shown some flashes and he’s getting a ton of ice time, so that should help his development going forward. Teams are probably looking at Jarome Iginla, who has 15 points in 55 games. Age is slowing him down, but he has leadership qualities that teams look for in terms of the playoff push and the postseason. Calvin Pickard probably won’t start the back-to-back tonight, but he’s 9-18-1 with a 2.98 GAA and a .905 SV%. It could be Jeremy Smith, who stopped 37 of 40 shots in Tuesday’s loss to New Jersey. If it is Pickard, he is 1-1 in three appearances with 69 saves on 75 shots in back-to-backs this season.
The spot for Colorado is also terrible. The Avalanche are playing their fifth road game in seven nights, which is not great for any team, especially one without depth. We’ll have to see if Carolina can start fast because teams coming out of the bye have not been able to do that. Getting back into rhythm is not easy and Carolina has played once in the last 10 days. That’s not an easy scheduling setup, so Bill Peters has been working to get his team into the proper mindset. The Hurricanes have lost seven of their last 10 and have fallen down the standings after making a little bit of a push. This game starts a five-game homestand for Carolina. We’ve seen Carolina play extremely well at home, especially on Friday nights, where they are 6-1-1.
The Hurricanes don’t have a whole lot of impressive individual statistics either. Jeff Skinner has 37 points in 52 games. Victor Rask and Sebastian Aho are tied for second in points with 32. The Hurricanes have only scored 2.6 goals per game and rank 21st in power play percentage. Last year, the Hurricanes took a lot of shots and couldn’t finish. This season, a few more shots are finding holes, but still not enough. The time off had to be good for Cam Ward, who has been dealing with a couple of ailments. Ward is 21-17-6 with a 2.62 GAA and a .905 SV%. Eddie Lack has only played six games after suffering a concussion earlier this season and he is just 1-3-1 with a 4.04 GAA and an .848 SV%.
Free NHL Pick: Colorado Avalanche
This is why handicapping is so much fun. Colorado is in an awful spot. Five road games in seven nights for a bad team is about as terrible as it gets. But, Carolina is playing for just the second time since last Tuesday. When conflicting situational spots come together, it’s really hard to make a pick. The Hurricanes got steamed heavily and that’s the right move. Coming back on Colorado at the line’s peak isn’t a bad move either. It’s hard to see Colorado emotionally invested in any game right now with trades coming and the worst record in the league basically locked up. But, the chase is part of the fun and that’s what we have here in this game.