Golden Knights vs. Avalanche NHL Betting Odds & Picks: Target the Total in Matchup of Elite Teams (Monday, Feb. 22)

Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Marc-Andre Fleury.

Golden Knights vs. Avalanche Odds

Golden Knights Odds +108
Avalanche Odds -124
Over/Under 5.5
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds as of Sunday night and via DraftKings.

After playing an outdoor game on Saturday that ended almost 12 hours after it started, the Las Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche return indoors for Monday night’s matchup.

The Avalanche got the better of Vegas in Lake Tahoe, 3-2, thanks to a three-point night from star Nathan MacKinnon. 

With the scene shifting to Colorado, what can we expect from two of the better teams in the league? 

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Las Vegas Golden Knights

Vegas currently leads the NHL’s West Division when it comes to points percentage, going 10-4-1 in their first 15 games. They’ve done nothing to dissuade the opinions of pundits who put them amongst the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup. 

Under the hood, things check out with the Golden Knights. Vegas ranks sixth in expected goal rate, third in high danger chances and 10th in shot attempt rate. This is a bit of a drop off from previous years, during which Vegas found itself at the top of the list, but it’s still a very well-oiled machine. 

Both sides of the puck are equally solid for Vegas, as the Knights rank 11th in expected goals per hour (2.26) and 12th in expected goals against (2.02).

It’s a well-rounded team, with Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty leading the team offensively, Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo headlining the defensive core and two very good goaltenders between the pipes. 

If there’s a concern for the Knights, it’s their group of centers. William Karlsson, Chandler Stephenson, Cody Glass and Nicolas Roy are a solid, but definitely unspectacular, group. However, they’ve produced enough for Vegas to get by. 

The biggest surprise of the season for the Golden Knights comes in the form of a netminder. Marc-Andre Fleury was the face of the franchise when the expansion team joined the league, but it appeared his days as a starter were numbered. After Fleury was subpar last season, the team traded for Robin Lehner, who assumed the starting role in the postseason. 

However, a combination of inconsistent play from Lehner and a recent injury has opened the door for Fleury to shine, and he has. Fleury ranks third in the league with a goals saved above expectation (GSAx) mark of +5.84. 

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Colorado Avalanche

Entering the season, the Colorado Avalanche were the odds-on favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup at the end of the campaign. While it hasn’t been overly dominant, things are off to a good start for the Avs. Through 14 games, their record sits at 9-4-1. 

The team ranks fourth in expected-goal rate and first in shot attempt rate. On average, the Avalanche throw 59.8 pucks at their opponents’ net per hour at 5-on-5, which is the third best mark in the league. Just as impressive, they limit their opponents to under 48 attempts per hour, the second best mark in hockey. 

When you combine Colorado’s ability to play with the puck with their talent level, things can get scary for the opposition.

MacKinnon is probably the second-best player in hockey right now. Then with players like Mikko Rantanen, Andre Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri, Brandon Saad and Gabe Landeskog sprinkled through the top three lines, the Avs can hurt you in many ways.

Defensively, things are great for Colorado. Many see the team as an offensive juggernaut, but its defense is top-10 in the league, allowing fewer than two expected goals per hour at 5-on-5. They have the best penalty-killing unit in the league, killing off 89.6% of their opponents’ opportunities. Cale Makar is one of the more exciting young players in hockey, while Devon Toews, Samuel Girard, Bowen Byram and Ryan Graves add tremendous depth to the unit. 

With a team that has as much talent as Colorado in their skater group, it might be easy to overlook the goaltender. However, Philipp Grubauer might be the most important part of Colorado’s success to begin the year. The netminder has posted a +7.83 GSAx, which is second best in the league behind Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy. 

Golden Knights vs. Avalanche Best Bet

These two teams are two of the top teams in the league. In fact, as of Sunday night, they rank first and third in the Stanley Cup futures market at DraftKings. 

This is the fourth straight game between these teams and unsurprisingly, the first three games have all been one-goal games. Colorado came out on top twice, but there’s not much separating these teams. 

In terms of betting a side, I think this line is pretty spot on. I make the no-vig line -120 for Colorado or +120 for Vegas, and neither side is quite there yet.

With that being said, there is still value on the total in this game. Despite Colorado’s reputation as a dynamic offensive team, the Avs have won games due to their defense and goaltending to begin the season. They are middle of the pack offensively at this point. We should expect them to score more goals, but Vegas probably won’t be their opponent when they do. 

In fact, in the first three games these teams have played, they’ve combined for just 11 goals. All three games have gone under the total.

If Fleury and Grubauer both start for their respective teams, we’ll see two of the three best goalies in the league, according to the GSAx metric. 

With the oddsmakers making the moneyline pretty spot, I’d lean towards a bet on the total in this one. 

Pick: Under 5.5 Goals

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