Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Colorado Avalanche Free Prediction

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

Facing each other for the final time this season, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Colorado Avalanche clash at the Pepsi Center in an East-West showdown. The matchup gets going at 9 p.m. ET on Monday, December 18, and you can catch it live on Altitude Sports & Entertainment.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Colorado Avalanche Odds

Pittsburgh (-165) is currently favored over Colorado (+145) and the oddsmakers have put the Over/Under (O/U) at an even 6 goals (-105 for the over, -115 for the under).

Pittsburgh is 17-17 straight up (SU) and has lost 5.4 units for moneyline bettors this year. 19 of its matches have gone over the total, while 14 have gone under and just one has pushed. The Pens are 7-11 SU on the road in 2017-18.

Pittsburgh has converted on 24.8 percent of its power play opportunities this year, a figure that places them in the top-5 among NHL teams. Its penalty kill is ranked 18th overall, and the teams successfully killed off 81.0 percent of all penalties.

The Pens, as a collective unit, have been penalized 4.4 times per game during the 2017-18 season, and 3.0 per game over its last five road outings. The teams had to stave off opponent power plays just 7.7 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Averaging 26.0 saves per game with a .906 save percentage, Matt Murray (13-10-1) has been the best option in goal for Pittsburgh this season. If it chooses to rest him, however, the team might turn to Tristan Jarry (5-5-2), who has a .919 save percentage and 2.49 goals against average this year.

Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby will both lead the way for the visiting Penguins. Kessel has 38 points on 15 goals and 23 assists, and has recorded multiple points in eight different games. Crosby has 14 goals and 19 assists to his name, and has logged at least one point in 20 games.

Colorado is 15-17 straight up (SU) and has earned 1.4 units for moneyline bettors this season. 20 of its contests have gone over the total, while 12 have gone under and none have pushed. This year, the teams 9-7 SU at home.

The Avalanche have converted on just 18.0 percent of their power play opportunities this year, a figure that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 15th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 81.2 percent of all opponent power plays.

Colorado skaters have been penalized 4.3 times per game in total this season, and 2.8 per game over their past five contests. The teams been forced to defend opponent power plays just 8.2 minutes per game over their last five outings.

Semyon Varlamov has stopped 28.9 shots per game as the primary netminder in goal for the Avalanche. Varlamov has 10 wins, 10 losses, and one OT loss and has recorded a poor .906 save percentage and 3.08 goals against average this season.

Nathan MacKinnon (15 goals, 23 assists) will lead the offensive counter for the Avs.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Colorado Avalanche Free Picks

Predictions: SU Winner – Avalanche, O/U – Over

Betting Trends

  • A majority (66.7 percent) of Colorado’s wins have come by two or more goals, and the team is 10-10 overall in such games. 7 of Pittsburgh’s 17 wins (41.2 percent) have been decided by two or more goals.
  • The Penguins are 7-9 SU in games where they serve more penalty minutes than their opponent while the Avalanche are 4-8 SU when they serve more minutes than the opposition.
  • The total has gone over in three of Colorado’s last five outings.
  • Colorado is ranked 4th this season with just 6.5 giveaways per game. That figure has improved lately, however, as it’s averaged 4.7 giveaways over its last 10 games and 4.8 giveaways over its last five.
  • Pittsburgh is ranked ninth this season with 8.5 giveaways per game. That figure has trended higher, as it’s averaged 9.7 giveaways over its last 10 games and 9.6 giveaways over its last five.
  • Pittsburgh skaters have accounted for the eighth-most hits in the league (23.4 per game).