The Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche meet for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals Tuesday at Ball Arena in Denver. Puck drop for the opener of the best-of-7 series is 8 p.m. ET (TNT). Below, we look at the Oilers vs. Avalanche Game 1 odds and lines, and make our expert NHL picks, predictions and bets.
The Oilers suffered a Game 1 loss in Calgary against the provincial rival Flames May 18. After that setback, Edmonton rattled off 4 consecutive wins to reach the conference finals for the first time since 2006.
The Avalanche posted 3 road victories in the 2nd round to oust the St. Louis Blues in 6 games. Colorado is back in the Western Conference Finals for the 1st time since 2002 when it was ousted by the Detroit Red Wings.
Oilers at Avalanche odds and lines
- Money line: Oilers +145 (bet $100 to win $145) | Avalanche -180 (bet $180 to win $100)
- Against the spread (ATS): Oilers +1.5 (-150) | Avalanche -1.5 (+120)
- Over/Under (O/U): 6.5 (O: -145 | U: +115)
Oilers at Avalanche projected goalies
Mike Smith (8-3-0, 2.70 GAA, .927 SV%, 2 SO – postseason) vs Darcy Kuemper (6-2-0, 2.44 GAA, .904 SV% – postseason)
Smith has picked up 4 consecutive victories, although he has allowed 3 or more goals in 3 of those outings. That’s because the Edmonton offense averaged 5.0 goals per game in the 5-game series vs. Calgary.
Kuemper stopped 18 of 20 shots in the series-clinching road victory against the Blues in Game 6. He has allowed 3 or fewer goals in 8 of his past 9 postseason starts.
The AVALANCHE (-180) are rather heavy favorites in Game 1 despite the fact the Oilers (+145) are running hot. However, the home team has picked up 5 victories in the past 6 meetings between these teams, with the favorite cashing in each of the previous 6 outings.
Colorado enters with 55 wins in the past 68 outings at home, while going 30-12 in the past 42 playoff contests as a favorite. Until Edmonton can show it can win in Denver, back the Avs.
Against the spread
The price for the OILERS +1.5 (-150) isn’t terribly out of line if you feel Edmonton will carry over the momentum from the Calgary series, keeping it close in the opening game.
The Avalanche -1.5 (+120) are 1-1 against the puck line in series openers during the playoffs, but 1-4 against the puck line at home during the postseason.
The UNDER 6.5 (+115) is worth a roll of the dice at plus-money as these teams feel each other out. I believe we’ll get a higher-scoring series between these two teams, but Game 1 will get off to a bit of a slower start as the teams get their sea legs.