NHL Wednesday best bets: Avalanche to close out Blues

Scott Rovak / National Hockey League / Getty

Although we have just one game to look forward to Wednesday night, there's plenty of value on the board. Let's take a closer look at three plays that stand out.

Blues (+200) @ Avalanche (-250)

It's no secret that I believe the Colorado Avalanche are the best team in the NHL. One slip up aside, they've certainly looked the part against the St. Louis Blues.

The Avs have been on the front foot the vast majority of the time, generating quality looks at a high rate while giving up few, particularly at five-on-five. In that situation, Colorado has controlled a whopping 57.5% of the expected goals. That's the highest output from any team in the second round.

A 3-1 series is the reward for such strong play, with the Avs' first opportunity to close things out coming on home ice. That should terrify the Blues.

Colorado was as potent as anybody at home this season. Despite all the injuries it faced throughout the year, the team finished tied for the league lead in points percentage. The Avs also ranked first in goal share.

They've had no problem carrying that home dominance into the playoffs. Colorado has won three of four home games this postseason while averaging more than 45 shots per contest.

I don't think that's good news for Ville Husso and the Blues. Husso has struggled in the playoffs, conceding 4.8 goals more than expected through just five appearances. On a per 60-minute basis, he's allowed more than a goal over expectation.

With Colorado generating such volume, Husso needs to be at the top of his game for St. Louis to have any chance. He isn't, which bodes well for the Avalanche to close the series.

Bet: Avalanche in regulation (-150)

Nathan MacKinnon over 4.5 shots (-139)

MacKinnon is a shooting machine in Colorado. He's piled up at least five shots on goal in 20 of his last 30 home games. MacKinnon has averaged 5.6 shots and 9.2 attempts per game in that span. And his numbers are still trending upward.

He's generated 34 shots and 57 attempts through his last five home contests. That equates to 6.8 shots and 11.4 attempts per game. Absolute insanity.

MacKinnon has logged at least 20 minutes of ice time in six of eight playoff matchups. With the opportunity to end the series at home, you can bet Jared Bednar will continue to lean heavily on his top dogs.

Cale Makar over 2.5 shots (-200)

Makar is quietly shooting the puck a ton right now. Believe it or not, he leads all Avalanche players in attempts this series. You wouldn't know it because few are actually hitting the net. Only 11 of his 30 attempts have made their way to the goalie - that's 36%.

So long as the attempts continue to be there, I'm confident in backing Makar. He hit the net nearly 49% of the time during the regular season. If that were the case in this series, we'd be talking about a guy with 14 shots, good for 3.6 per contest.

Makar dominates the puck every night, and he should get some extra run with Sam Girard out. The Blues are also one of the league's worst teams at suppressing shots against defenders. There's every reason to believe Makar will continue to get looks in bulk.

That certainly hasn't been an issue at home. Makar's averaging 5.6 shots on 10.2 attempts over his last five games in Colorado. Expect him to continue his success Wednesday.

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

NHL Wednesday best bets: Avalanche to close out Blues
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