The Washington Capitals are the NHL's best road team, but their prowess away from home will be put to the ultimate test when they visit the NHL's best team — the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avs have been an absolute juggernaut on home ice and opened as massive NHL betting favorites for tonight's game, despite Washington having won five of its last six games.
With more at stake for the underdogs, do our free NHL picks and predictions see them willing their way to an upset tonight? Read our Capitals vs. Avalanche betting preview for the full breakdown on how this contest plays out.
Capitals vs Avalanche odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The Avs opened at -189 and have ballooned to anywhere from -200 to -220 at most sportsbooks (as of 1:30 p.m. ET), with the Caps moving from +165 up to +180. The total started at 6 and has jumped up a full goal to a flat 7, although some operators are still offering a 6.5, heavily juiced to the Over.
Capitals vs Avalanche predictions
Predictions made on 4/18/2022 at 1:27 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Capitals vs Avalanche game info
• Location: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
• Date: Monday, April 18, 2022
• Puck drop: 9:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ALT2, NBCS-Washington, NHL Network
Capitals vs Avalanche betting preview
Capitals: Carl Hagelin (Out).
Avalanche: Gabriel Landeskog LW (Out), Nazem Kadri C (Day-to-Day), Devon Toews D (Day-to-Day), Ryan Murray D (Day-to-Day).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.
Capitals vs Avalanche head-to-head record (since 2019)
Capitals: 2-1-0, 12 goals for.
Avalanche: 1-2-0, 11 goals for.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 9-0 in the Capitals' last nine road games. Find more NHL betting trends for Capitals vs. Avalanche.
Capitals vs Avalanche picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
Puck line analysis
The Capitals come into tonight's game as the true road warriors of the NHL, sporting a league-best .708 points percentage (23-8-5 record) in away games, and have won six of their last seven away contests plus five of their last six overall. It's crazy to think that, despite coming in so hot, Washington appears to be the colder of the two teams tonight.
It's crazy... but it's true.
After dropping a seven-spot on Carolina two days ago, Colorado has now won nine straight games overall and their record on home ice — 31-4-3 (.885 points percentage) — is even more impressive than Washington's road ledger. Plus, if you want to go back to last season, Colorado is a mind-boggling 51-9 in its last 60 home games.
Colorado has also been rolling, despite captain Gabriel Landeskog being sidelined since mid-March knee surgery and center Nazem Kadri (10th in the league in points per game) sitting since late March with an upper-body injury. The Avs' offense has scored at least three goals in seven of its nine games and is averaging 4.44 goals per game during that span.
We said in the opening paragraph that Colorado appears to be the hotter of the two teams. That rings true because, despite Colorado's gaudy home record and long winning streak, it hasn't been an overly great puck possession team during this stretch, sitting just 21st in the league with a 48.69 5-on-5 Corsi For percentage (per Natural Stat Trick) and a modest 11th in expected 5-on-5 goals for per 60 minutes (2.7).
Over that same span, the Capitals actually are 15th in CF% (50.47) and second in xGF/60 (3.02) at 5-on-5, and overall have scored 3+ goals in six straight games (5.67 per game average).
Colorado has been cashing in on the powerplay to rack up goals during this streak, with the third-most PPG in the ninth-fewest opportunities (clicking at a 37.5% rate). That advantage might be somewhat neutralized by the Capitals too, however, as they are boasting a 90.9% penalty kill efficiency over the same time frame and have killed 30 of their last 32 penalties overall.
There's no denying the Avs' talent — even without Landeskog and Kadri they boast the likes of Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Mikko Rantanen, and Valeri Nichushkin — but the Caps actually have more scoring depth right now with Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and John Carlson leading a team that has six regulars running at a point-per-game clip over the last month... plus proven veterans in Tom Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom, and T.J, Oshie.
The Avalanche are formidable at home, but they shouldn't be this big of a favorite — especially with Kadri still likely out and blueliner Devon Toews questionable to suit up. Washington is playing better possession hockey, scoring just as much as Colorado (even more at even strength), and has proven itself capable of competing in hostile territory.
We'll take the Caps on the reverse +1.5 puck line, getting very good odds for them to keep this a tight game.
Prediction: Capitals +1.5 (-135 at DraftKings)
Both of these teams are piling up goals at a crazy rate as of late, but they also haven't been great at preventing scoring chances either.
They both sit in the bottom half of the league in expected goals against/60 minutes at 5-on-5 (2.7 and 2.71 xGA/60, respectively) over the last three weeks, with Colorado's biggest flaw being a propensity to give up high-danger chances (14.46 per 60, third-worst) and Washington simply not getting very good goaltending (86.84 SV%, 30th in the league).
The Capitals are likely to send out Vitek Vanecek, who has an .842 SV%, .750 high-danger SV%, and -4.97 goals saved above average at 5-on-5 during his last four outings, and has surrendered at least three goals in 10 of his last 12 appearances.
Darcy Kuemper is expected to start for the Avs, and while he's won six straight games (with a .938 SV% and 6.03 GSAA at 5-on-5), he's still actually given up at least three goals in three of his last four outings.
This total has jumped from 6 to 7 at most books... and for good reason. These teams have been scoring with impunity, and we don't think it's going to stop tonight.
Prediction: Over 7 (+110 at PointsBet)
The Over has cashed in four of Colorado's last six games and gone 16-2-1 in Washington's last 19 games — with only three of those contests not seeing at least seven total goals.
The Caps are also riding a nine-game Over streak on the road, with an average of 8.56 goals scored per game.
And, if you're still not sold, how about this: MacKinnon, Rantanen, Makar, Ovechkin, Carlson, Kuznetsov... plus seven other players scoring at a 50-60 point pace in this game.
Let us pray for these goalies.
Pick: Over 7 (+110 at PointsBet)
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