The NHL betting board for Thursday is headlined by a game between a pair of Stanley Cup favorites as the Vegas Golden Knights face off against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena in Denver.
The Knights and Avs are second and sixth, respectively, in point percentage, and it's been a treat for hockey bettors to see their West Division battles this year.
Here are our best free Golden Knights vs. Avalanche picks and predictions for Thursday, March 25, with the puck dropping at 9 p.m. ET.
Vegas Golden Knights at Colorado Avalanche betting preview
Golden Knights: Max Pacioretty LW (Questionable), Alex Pietrangelo D (Out).
Avalanche: Bowen Byram D (Questionable), Erik Johnson D (Out), Pavel Francouz G (Out).
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Betting trend to know
Oddsmakers appear to often misjudge this matchup between Western Conference foes with the underdog going 8-1 in the last 9 meetings. Find more NHL betting trends for Golden Knights vs. Avalanche.
NHL sharp money and line movement reportBy Patrick Everson
Colorado went up as a -186 favorite at TwinSpires and moved out to -195, with 68 percent of bets and 62 percent of cash on the Avalanche. The total opened at 5.5 (Over -113) and nudged a couple cents to -115, with 60 percent of bets on the Over and 59 percent of money on the Under.Check out the full line movement for this game
The Avs and Knights are currently second and third on the NHL Futures odds board. The Avalanche are coming off a shootout loss to a Coyotes team that has played them tough all season. Prior to that defeat, they had reeled off seven straight wins and are second in the league in goal differential this season.
Although Golden Knights All-Star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo remains out with an upper-body injury, they have won six of their last seven games without the blueliner, most recently a 5-1 victory over the St Louis Blues.
There are a few categories where Colorado has an advantage over Vegas, namely on the powerplay and in the face-off circle. That said, when it comes to most aspects of the game there isn't much separating these two terrific teams.
Colorado is first in the league in Fenwick For percentage (an analytic tool to track puck possession) while Vegas is second. And the Knights are sixth in the league in scoring with 3.33 goals per game while ranking second in scoring defense, allowing just 2.2 gpg.
They have also split all four games in the head-to-head this season. Despite often entering games with heavy juice, the Knights have been the fourth-best money team in the NHL, turning a profit of plus-5.51 units this season. With how close these teams are and with the underdog going 8-1 in the last nine meetings, consider grabbing Vegas in a rare situation at plus money.
PREDICTION: Golden Knights (+160)
These teams have plenty of offensive firepower, including star forwards like Nathan MacKinnon and Mark Stone, but they also feature some excellent goaltending. Avs workhorse Philipp Grubauer has emerged as a Vezina Trophy candidate with a 19-7 record, 1.71 GAA, and a save percentage of .930.
The Knights have an excellent tandem in net with Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury. Lehner is working his way back to 100 percent after a concussion kept him out of action for more than a month. He allowed just one goal on 16 shots in Vegas' previous game against the Blues on Monday.
That should mean it's Fleury's turn to start tonight. The three-time Stanley Cup winner is having a very strong season in 2021, going 16-6 with a 1.93 GAA and .931 save percentage.
Both sides also give their goalies plenty of help with the Avs allowing the fewest shots in the league (25.2 shots per game) and the Knights allowing the fourth fewest (27.3). With the Under cashing in all four of the contests between these teams this season, back it again.
PREDICTION: Under 5.5 (-110)
Golden Knights vs Avalanche betting card
- Golden Knights (+160)
- Under 5.5 (-110)
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