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Blues vs. Avalanche odds, predictions, series preview

The Colorado Avalanche gave us no reason to doubt their status as Stanley Cup favorites in a first-round sweep against the Nashville Predators. The Preds were there to catch and miss their MVP team in goal, but Colorado dominated from start to finish en route to a 4-0 series win and a 21-9 aggregate advantage on the scoreboard in the four games.

But the truth is, we won’t learn anything about the Avs in a sweep of a mediocre team missing its most important player. The St. Louis Blues – the Colorado team unceremoniously eliminated from last spring’s first round – will provide a much tougher test than Nashville, although bookies still view this as a relatively straightforward game. The Avalanche are -350 favorite to defeat the Blues in this series. St. Louis is a +275 underdog.

These odds line up with the public’s perception of how this series should rock. The Blues are a solid team and won’t go down easy, but eventually Colorado should prove too much.

But there are possible paths to success for the Blues in this best-of-7 and it all starts up front with St. Louis’ depth forward.

Blues vs. Avalanche Series Odds

Odds provided by BetMGM

Series timeline: Blues (+275) vs Avalanche (-350)

Spread of the series: Avalanche -1.5 (-170) against Blues +1.5 (+140)

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Blues vs Avalanche Series Preview and Prediction

Few teams can reasonably match the Avalanche line for the starting line. The Blues are one of those teams. With three legit score lines, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that St. Louis will be able to create enough offense to give the Avs a run for their money. The Blues finished third overall in goals per game and fifth in 5-on-5 scoring during the regular season and they’ll need all that firepower to compete with the Avalanche.

What’s encouraging for the Blues is that they don’t necessarily need to dominate the ball or increase the shot clock to be successful. Over the course of the season, the Blues finished in the bottom 10 in terms of expected goal rate, shot attempt sharing and high danger chance percentage. For some teams this would be a major red flag, but public data often misses important elements when it comes to calculating the quality of chances (such as goalkeeper movement, whether the goalkeeper is controlled or not , puck movement before the shot, etc.) and St. Louis’ goal rates have been consistently high all season, so they’re clearly doing something right.

An opportunistic offense is needed to beat Colorado since the Avalanche will likely have the lion’s share of the puck. That’s completely acceptable for the Blues, who had just 42.8% expected goal ratio in their six-game win over the Wild.

As with any series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the goalie game will determine the underdog’s chances. Jordan Binnington has been hot and cold for St. Louis the past two seasons, but he was in great shape against the Wild after taking over from Ville Husso. Binnington skated to a .943 save percentage and +2.1 goals saved above expectations (GSAx) in three games against Minnesota.

Blues vs. Avalanche odds, predictions, series preview
St. Louis Blues
Sportswire icon via Getty Images

At the other end of the ice will be Darcy Kuemper. After a stellar regular season in which he posted a .921 save percentage and +21 GSAx in 57 games, Kuemper looked in good shape against Nashville until he suffered an injury to the weird eye in Game 3. Kuemper was given a clean bill of health, but he’s been out for 10 days, so he may be dealing with some rust to open the series.

Other than that, the Avs don’t really have any key injury issues. The same can’t be said for the Blues, who managed to defeat the Wild despite a host of injuries to their blue line.

The story surrounding the Avalanche is that they are a brilliant team that cannot take the next step. This is their fifth straight playoff series, but Colorado hasn’t made it past Round 2 since 2001-02. This narrative shouldn’t have any bearing on where you put your money for this series, but it’s what the media will be buzzing about if the Avs struggle to grab this best-of-7.

Colorado is the better team in this game. The Avalanche are Stanley Cup favorites for a reason and while the Blues are certainly dangerous, no NHL team can claim to be on the same level as the Avalanche.

That said, getting +275 odds on St. Louis in a best-of-7 series is absolutely worth a look. Those odds imply the Blues have a 25.6% chance of winning, which seems a little low given St. Louis’ depth and scoring ability. Anything can happen in a seven-game series and there are enough paths to success to bet the Blues will draw a stunner at that number.

Blues vs Avalanche Series Prediction

St. Louis Blues win the +320 series (Caesars Sportsbook)

New York Post

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