Predators vs Avalanche Game 1 Picks and Predictions: Colorado Lives Up to Expectations

The Colorado Avalanche are understandably favored by a considerable margin in the opening round of the NHL Playoffs against the Nashville Predators. We try to find value in the Avs while navigating the juiced moneyline.

Josh Inglis - Betting Analyst at
Josh Inglis • Betting Analyst
May 3, 2022 • 10:29 ET • 4 min read

The Colorado Avalanche dominated the West all season and they now face a Nashville Predators team that struggled just to make the postseason. The Preds did take three of the four meetings this season but the Avalanche are the betting favorite to win the Cup for a reason. 

Is this the year the Avs finally put it all together? Can the Preds get over Juuse Saros' untimely injury and find some secondary scoring against a team that was tied with the best home record in hockey? Find out in our free NHL picks and predictions for Predators vs. Avalanche.

Predators vs Avalanche odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

The Avalanche opened as -310 ML favorites and have moved slightly to -315. The total opened at 6.5 and is ticking up to the Over. The last meeting in Colorado, just last week, saw the Avs close as -305 favorites with a total of 6.5.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until puck drop and be sure to check out the full NHL odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Predators vs Avalanche predictions

Predictions made on 5/03/2022 at 9:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Predators vs Avalanche game info

Location: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Puck drop: 9:30 p.m. ET

Predators vs Avalanche series odds (series tied 0-0)

Predators: +525
Avalanche: -750

Predators vs Avalanche betting preview

Key injuries

Predators: Juuse Saros G (Out).
Avalanche: Gabriel Landeskog F (Probable), Nazem Kadri F (Probable), Ryan Murray D (Out).  

Find our latest NHL injury reports.

Predators vs Avalanche head-to-head record since 2018-19

Predators: 5-5 SU, 33 goals for.
Avalanche: 5-5 SU, 37 goals for.

Betting trend to know

The Over went a perfect 4-0 in the four meetings this season. Find more NHL betting trends for Predators vs. Avalanche.

Predators 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.

Moneyline analysis

Heading into Round 1, the Colorado Avalanche have the shortest odds to win their series at a chalky -750. For comparison, the Panthers to win their series is paying -330. Nashville managed to win three of the four meetings with Colorado this season but there aren’t a lot of things to like from the Predators here on Tuesday.

Most importantly is Nashville’s issue in net. Juuse Saros is out with a lower-body injury and the eighth-place Preds will be rolling with David Rittich in Game 1. Rittich finished the season with a 6-10 SU record, a .886 SV%, a 3.57 GAA and gave up four goals in 46 shots to Colorado last week with the Avs resting some skaters. Roman Josi has been a stud all season (23G, 73A) but even he can’t climb this mountain. 

Nashville might be the worst team out of all 16 playoff clubs. They finished with the third-worst goal differential of the 16 at +14, take the most penalties in all of hockey, and finished outside the Top 15 in goal%, xgoal%, Corsi, Fenwick, and goal differential at even strength.

Things weren't any better for the Preds on the road as they finished with the 15th-best point percentage with a 20-16-5 mark and a minus-0.06 goal differential per game. Now they have to knock off a hungry Colorado team that went 22-3-3 at home since January 1 and won by an average of 1.39 goals per game over that stretch.

The Avs have made quick work of their first-round opponents over the last three playoffs and are 12-2 SU in first-round games since 2019. They’re getting their captain Gabriel Landeskog back, the blueline is healthy and dangerous, and the goaltending is in the best shape it's been in over the past three seasons. 

With a team that was led in scoring by a defenseman, it’s really no secret that the Predators are a team lacking scoring depth and relies heavily on the Filip Forsberg-Matt Duchene winger combo. Mikael Granlund has been centering the duo with Ryan Johansen mixing in. This is an easy team to shut down on the road without last change — especially with Cale Makar, Devon Toews, Bowen Byram, and Josh Manson on the backend.

Nashville just doesn’t project enough offense to pose a huge threat and with Rittich between the pipes, winning a 2-1 game might be out of the question. The Avs finished with the fifth-lowest xgoals against at 5-on-5 while Darcy Kuemper posted the league’s fifth-best SV% since the All-Star break. Kuemper also has a bit of playoff experience with 18 games played and was more than solid with a 7-6 record and a .913 SV%.

Colorado has every advantage going down the list: power play, goaltending, 5-on-5, home ice, and playoff experience. 

The Avs are a pricey -315 ML favorite but they also closed as -305 home favorites last week on the first game of a back-to-back that meant next to nothing for the club. They lost that game in a shootout but they did fire over 40 shots on net and had six power-play opportunities. We love the Avs but aren’t willing to take them on the puck line and instead would rather pay the heavy juice for a win in regulation.

PredictionAvalanche 3-way moneyline (-190 at bet365)

Over/Under analysis

The Over hit in each of the four meetings this season including the 5-4 Nashville shootout win last week. The playoffs are a different beast of hockey, but we did see plenty of penalties called last night. That could be good for goals tonight as both teams finished the season with Top-7 power-play units while also sitting outside the Top 15 in penalty-kill success.

The Avalanche have been dealing with injuries to important players since the trade deadline but still managed to average 3.55 goals per game and saw an average of 6.41 goals per contest. They finished in the Top 5 in goals for at even strength and had a Top-7 power play on the season. They also scored 4.15 goals per game on home ice which was the second-best mark in hockey behind the Panthers. This team is healthy, hungry, and facing a backup goalie. 

The Predators were no strangers at hitting the Over this season, either. Their 49-33 O/U mark was the best Over mark in hockey. On the road, Nashville is seeing 6.66 total goals per game. They have the No. 4 road power play and sit outside the Top 15 on the PK at 79% on the season. Only three teams allowed more power-play goals than the Preds, who take a league-worst 4.71 penalties per game, which paces the league by a fair amount. 

Undrafted David Rittich is in a tough spot. He comes in as arguably the weakest goaltender in the playoffs. He’s made 12 starts this season and has allowed three or more goals in 10 of them. In his last four starts (all against playoff teams), he’s given up 17 total goals and is 6-1 to the Over in his last seven.   

Darcy Kuemper will be making his first playoff start for the Avs tonight. He had a stellar season, which is impressive after a rocky start. He did, however, finish with a 3.28 GAA over his last 10 and is 6-3 to the Over in his last nine. The Predators are projecting to score between two and three goals and if they can get three, this Over is a layup.

This total opened at 6.5 -120 to the Over and has ticked up five points to -125. We saw in the Boston vs. Carolina game that teams are willing to pull the goalie down three goals and earlier than in playoffs past. With the potential of plenty of power-play time on both sides (the last three meetings have averaged nine total power-play opportunities) and Colorado sitting with a team total of 4.5, we could easily see this finishing 5-2 or 6-2. Colorado wants to lay the hammer down in Game 1 and cast doubt on the underdogs early.

PredictionOver 6.5 (-110 at Coolbet

Best bet

Captain Gabriel Landeskog is back for the Avs but head coach Jared Bednar has him skating on the second line, which means winger Valeri Nichushkin will remain on the top line with MacKinnon and Rantanen. Nichushkin was PP1 even when Kadri was healthy and played well down the stretch and finished with 23 points over his last 25 games including 11 goals which were second on the team. 

He was seeing over 20 minutes a game of late, scored 16 of his 23 points at 5-on-5 and could get lots of PP time as the Preds are the most penalized team in hockey. Nichushkin is priced at +320 to score a goal at bet365 while FanDuel and Pinnacle have him at +210.

We wouldn’t take this on anything shorter than +220 and if you can’t get the mispriced AGD line, his Over 0.5 points -146 at FD is still a decent play, but we’re riding this mispriced line at bet365.

Pick: Valeri Nichushkin anytime goal (+320 at bet365)

NHL parlays

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