Avalanche warning in Chicago, and the NHL best bets you need to make this week

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The Colorado Avalanche take their high-scoring forwards on a road trip to the the Midwest while the struggling Nashville Predators play back to back games in New York.

We break down the odds for those games and much more as we bring you the best hockey betting notes, trends and predictions so you can make some bucks on the pucks.

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STRUGGLING ALL-STAR

The Nashville Predators and, more specifically, goaltender Pekka Rinne are in a slump. The veteran goalie gave up four more goals on Saturday which brings his total to 29 goals allowed in his last eight games. On Monday, Rinne and the Preds will travel to the Big Apple to take on the New York Rangers.

The Rangers averaged nearly four goals a game over their most recent four-game road trip as their power play went 4-for-12 as well. New York also sits fourth in the league in expected goals since December 8.

Nashville has recently been playing better than usual on it’s penalty kill, as it has killed off its last seven penalties, but still sits 24th in the league at 77.5 percent. The Preds are due to give up a PP tally or two and the young guys from New York might oblige. Take the Rangers’ team total Over 2.5.

A BOLT OF OVER

The Ottawa Senators have hit the Over in six of their last eight games as their scoring chance shooting percentage sits fifth-best in December. They have also allowed their opponents to score three or more goals in six of their last eight, making Tuesday’s match against the Tampa Bay Lighting a great spot for an Over.

The Lightning may be the most disappointing team this year as they sit fifth in the Atlantic Division. The Bolts are just 2-5 SU at home in their last seven but the goal-light operator has been busy at the Amalie Arena as Tampa has hit the Over nine times in its last twelve home games.

Tampa Bay has the second-best power play in the league and could get ample opportunity to prove themselves against the Senators’ who are averaging nearly four minor penalties a game in December. Take the Over 6.5 on this Tuesday matchup.

STINGY NETMINDERS

The Carolina Hurricanes have not allowed a regulation goal in over 130 minutes of hockey — a streak that spans three games. On Wednesday, they will square off with the Winnipeg Jets who bounced back Sunday night with a win after losing to the lowly Red Wings on Saturday.

Wednesday night’s tilt has the looks of a low-scoring affair. Both Carolina and Winnipeg sit in the Top-6 in goals against on the season but have been even stingier in December. Combined, the Jets and Canes have allowed just 22 goals in their 11 games this month.

Winnipeg is 4-9-2 O/U at home this year and are 2-5-1 O/U in its last eight while the Hurricanes are 2-9 O/U in their last 11 and 7-9 O/U on the road this year. Hit the Under 5.5 on Tuesday and if it opens at 6, give it a double-tap.

SNOWSTORM HEADED TO CHICAGO

The Colorado Avalanche will take their four-game road winning streak into St. Louis on Monday and then to Chicago on Wednesday. Colorado’s offense is back to full health and has been getting scoring production from its Top-9 forwards. That’s bad news for the Blackhawks who have allowed their opponents to score four or more goals in seven of their last nine and are 2-4 ATS in their last six.

Colorado has been one of the league’s best traveling teams this year and are 11-6 SU on the road and are averaging 3.4 goals a game while playing better defensive hockey than any other club over their last 10 games.

With how hot (and deep) the offense has been of late as well as the stellar play from goalie Pavel Francouz, we are going to ride the Avalanche -1.5 Puck Line on Wednesday night.

GOALIE PROFILE: SEMYON VARLAMOV, NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Nobody thought that Semyon Varlamov would be 11-3-2 with a 2.24 goals against and a .928 save percentage halfway through December, but here we are. The Russian netminder finds himself among the league leaders in most goalie stats and has been a winner in each of his last four starts.

On Tuesday, the Islanders will host the Nashville Predators who will have to do something most teams haven’t been able to do this year, which is score goals in Long Island. Varlamov and the Islanders have not allowed an opponent to score more than two goals at home in six of their last eight. New York has just shut it down defensively this month and allows the fewest goals against at home.

We feel that the Islanders’ ML is the right play here, but if it is outpriced (below -140) we have no problems taking the Under 2.5 on the Predators’ team total.

INJURY UPDATE: F JARED SPURGEON, MINNESOTA WILD

The Minnesota Wild have climbed up the Western Conference standings of late having picked up the second-most points in the West over their last 10 games. Things could be getting even better with the return of defenseman Jared Spurgeon this week.

Spurgeon has been out since December 3 and was second on the team in average ice time at 23:15 a game. Getting the D-man back for Tuesday’s contest against the Vegas Golden Knights could be a big boost for the Wild’s special teams as Spurgeon plays on the top penalty-killing unit and the second power-play unit. The Wild ML should be a great value with Minnesota playing on the road.

HAT TRICK TRENDS

• The Colorado Avalanche have the league’s best away record on first-period Overs. The Avs are 14-3 O/U first-period totals on the road and will head to St. Louis on Monday to take on the Blues who are 4-2 O/U first-period totals in their last six.

• Under bettors had a great week last week as the Unders in 26 of the 44 games (59%). There are fewer totals of 6.5 these days as the league has seen the Under trend take over. Monday’s opening lines listed zero games at 6.5. The Washington at Columbus total of 6 is looking like our favorite for the Under.

• On Tuesday, the Ottawa Senators will face the Lightning in what will be the tail end of a back-to-back. The Sens should be big underdogs, especially on the road. Ottawa is 5-5 SU in their last 10 games when being a +150 underdog or higher.

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