Bettors who put stock in back-to-back trends have probably noticed the disparity between the Colorado Avalanche and Pittsburgh Penguins, which could be counterweighted by other factors.
The Avalanche, led by star center Nathan MacKinnon, are -140 moneyline favorites with the Penguins coming back at +115 and the total set at 6.0 goals for Wednesday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
As one might expect with a team that takes its identity from three-time Stanley Cup-winning captain Sidney Crosby, the Penguins, who played on Tuesday and beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3, are 11-3 the last 14 matchups that were the second game on back-to-back stretches according to the OddsShark NHL Database.
The Avalanche, who won against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, are 5-15 in their last 20 matchups that were the second game on back-to-back stretches. Colorado has been tough on Eastern Conference opponents who come into the Pepsi Center, though, going 11-4 in their last 15 interconference home games.
The Penguins are 10-8-5 this season, which includes a 5-3-3 away record. The Penguins’ offensive potency – Crosby, fellow center Evgeni Malkin and right wing Phil Kessel – is well-established but defensive issues have cropped up this season. The Penguins come into this matchup against one of the league’s highest-scoring teams with just eight goals against across their last four games, which is too small of a sample to base any firm conclusions.
With starting goalie Matt Murray (lower-body injury) sidelined, Pittsburgh is now riding with the young tandem of Casey DeSmith and Tristan Jarry. With DeSmith having handled the Winnipeg game, Jarry is likely to get the call for what would be only his second start of the season.
The Avalanche are 15-6-4, including a 5-2-2 record at home and a 9-0-4 mark as the moneyline favorite. Right wing Mikko Rantanen and MacKinnon are 1-2 in NHL scoring and are a major reason that Colorado is 7-0-1 over its last eight games, as well as being tied for first in power-play efficiency at 30.4 percent (the Penguins are seventh at 25.0 percent).
Colorado’s balance is a concern as its needs more secondary production from the forward lines that are typically centered by Alex Kerfoot, Carl Soderberg and J.T. Compher, but as a collective they should be able to pressure Pittsburgh’s defensemen with their speed.
Semyon Varlamov was in goal for Colorado on Tuesday, so it would stand to reason that Philipp Grubauer would get the call for this interconference matchup. Grubauer has a 5-1-2 record with a 3.07 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.
The total has gone UNDER in four of the Penguins’ last six games when they played the previous day. The total has gone OVER in six of the Penguins’ last eight regular-season road games as a moneyline underdog. The total has gone OVER in nine of the Avalanche’s last 13 games when they played the previous day.
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