The stage is set for the Western Conference Finals and hockey fans should be salivating at the mouth as Nathan MacKinnon’s Colorado Avalanche will face off against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers.
The former first-overall picks have dominated the playoffs so far, but it’s the top-seeded Avalanche that enter the series as the heavy favorites at -260.
Can McDavid and the Oilers ride the momentum from their impressive five-game series win over the Flames or have the Avalanche been the betting favorite to win the Cup all season for a reason? Find out in our free NHL picks and predictions for Oilers vs. Avalanche.
Oilers vs Avalanche Game 1 odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The Avalanche opened as -170 home favorites late Saturday and have moved to -185 as of Tuesday morning. Colorado closed as -200 favorites in their Round 2 series opener vs. the Blues while the Oilers closed as +150 road favorites in Game 1 of their second-round series with the Flames. There is still room for this moneyline to get shorter.
The total opened at 6.5 (-120 to the Over) and has been hammered to the Over. As of Tuesday morning, the total has hit 7 pretty much across the board with a few notable books still hanging a 6.5s.
Oilers vs Avalanche Game 1 predictions
- Prediction: Avalanche 3ML (-115)
- Prediction: Wait to live bet Over 6.5
- Best bet: Lehkonen Over 0.5 pts (+100)
Predictions made on 5/31/2022 at 9:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Oilers vs Avalanche Game 1 info
• Location: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
• Date: Tuesday, May 31, 2022
• Puck drop: 8:00 p.m. ET
• TV: TNT, CBC
Oilers vs Avalanche series odds (Series tied at 0-0)
Oilers vs Avalanche Game 1 betting preview
Oilers: Kyle Turris F (Out).
Avalanche: Sam Girad D (Out).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.
Oilers vs Avalanche head-to-head record since 2018-19
Oilers: 5-5 SU, 32 goals for.
Avalanche: 5-5 SU, 32 goals for.
Betting trend to know
The favorite is 6-0 SU in the last six meetings. Find more NHL betting trends for Oilers vs. Avalanche.
Oilers vs Avalanche Game 1 picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
The Edmonton Oilers made surprisingly quick work of the No. 2-seeded Calgary Flames, winning that series in just five games, three of which came in Calgary. They’ve won four games in a row and six of their last seven.
Connor McDavid has been the talk of the town with 26 points over 12 playoff games but it was Leon Draisaitl who elevated the Oilers in the second round — on an injured ankle — as the center had an NHL record 15 assists in five games and finished the series with 17 points.
Edmonton head coach, Jay Woodcroft, had no problems rolling out the Kane-Draisaitl-McDavid line against the Flames’ top line which would indicate that Edmonton will have no matchup issues on the road in Game 1. This is also an Edmonton team that beat two of the best checking centers in Round 1 in Anze Kopitar and Philip Danault and had no issues scoring against a Vezina finalist and the Western Conference’s No. 1 home goal-suppressing team in Calgary.
However, just because the Oilers will be able to play their game, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll skate away with the victory in Game 1.
The Avalanche can certainly keep pace offensively with the Oilers. Edmonton is only getting production from its top two lines while the Avalanche sport two elite top-scoring lines (Lehkonen-MacKinnon-Landeskog and Rantanen-Kadri-Nichuskin) while the bottom-six are also playing a role. Through two rounds, the Oilers lead the playoffs in goals per game at 4.33 but the Avs are right there at 4.30.
MacKinnon is also taking things very seriously and seems to be already in game mode even before the series has started.
— theScore (@theScore) May 30, 2022
Offensively, this is a pretty even matchup with Colorado having a slight edge in scoring depth. However, the real advantage the Avs have is on the blueline.
We all know Cale Makar is one of the best rearguards in hockey and there are plenty of reasons why he has the second-shortest odds for the Conn Smythe, but this is the best defense in hockey.
Makar gets to play with Devon Toews who might be the most underrated defender in all of hockey. He has eight points through 12 games including four goals, is a plus-6 and is playing over 25 minutes a game. There is no better pairing than Makar and Toews in the league. The defensive depth doesn’t stop there either as former fourth-overall pick Bowen Byram (leads the team in plus/minus) anchors the second pairing with Erik Johnson and elite defender Josh Manson mans the third pairing with Jack Johnson. The Avs held the Blues and Predators to 2.70 goals per game and that mark is the third-best postseason GAA.
Compared to Duncan Keith, Tyson Barrie, and Cody Ceci as your top-three defenders, the Avalanche have a huge advantage on the blueline.
Goaltending will be a huge talking point in this series. Mike Smith has laid some duds in the postseason and gave up some weak goals but he still leads all goalies in saves/60 and has an impressive .927 save percentage.
He’ll oppose Darcy Kuemper who has just a .902 SV% in the postseason but also finished the season 21-4-2 at home. With how Smith is playing, despite his team losing the Corsi and Fenwick battles, there isn’t a huge edge in goaltending.
Both power plays have also been elite in the postseason. Edmonton is 11-for-39 (28.2%) with the man advantage while the Avs have been slightly better at 10-for-29 (34.5%). The Oilers have also been the more penalized team at 5.39 penalties per game compared to the Avs who are taking just 3.00 penalties per game which is a Bottom-2 mark in the postseason. The Colorado penalty kill has not been impressive in the playoffs but both teams finished with league-average PKs during the regular season.
Looking at the price, the Avs closed as -200 home favorites in Game 1 versus the Blues and we think at -185, there is still some room for this Colorado moneyline to get shorter. The Avalanche tied for the best home point percentage at home during the regular season.
Calgary and Los Angeles are not nearly as offensive as the Avs. The Flames and Kings failed by trying to contain the Oilers. Colorado doesn’t have to play a shutdown game to win and it can go toe-to-toe with the big boys in Edmonton. The Flames and Kings lacked secondary scoring in their series but Colorado is a very different test for tonight’s visitors. Edmonton also has to reset after an emotional win over a provincial rival while the Avs might have the better boss behind the bench in Jared Bednar.
In three home games, Colorado averaged a closing -223 moneyline in its series with St. Louis.
Prediction: Avalanche 3-way moneyline (-115 at bet365)
This will be a heavily public bet Over and we’ve already seen this total go from 6.5 to 7. The public interest is certainly warranted as Colorado is 6-4 O/U in the playoffs while the Oilers are 7-5 to the Over.
Edmonton is seeing an average of 7.41 goals per game but that number is slightly skewed from the 9-6 shootout in Game 1 of the second round. Colorado is seeing 7.00 total goals per game in the postseason, but can these two offensive juggernauts reach this high total?
Asking for eight goals is a lot, but we certainly aren’t rushing out to hit the Under.
MacKinnon and McDavid are both skaters who can go from great to elite if they want to and we saw it in Round 2. McDavid is averaging over 2.00 points per game in the postseason and his point total tonight is paying -120 to the Over for 1.5 points. With neither team likely playing much of a matchup game, Nate Mac and McJesus should see some decent matchups tonight.
The power plays will also play a big factor in tonight’s series opener. Both teams are scoring better than a 25% rate with the man advantage while their PKs are league average. If the referees decide to call some infractions today, we could easily see a couple of power-play goals, which in turn could also help build confidence in both teams’ top skaters.
Kuemper owns a .904 SV% and has had the luck of not seeing many high-quality shots. A lot of that has to do with the team’s solid blueline, but the Oilers lead all teams in the playoffs in high-danger shots and although they’ve been losing the possession game, they’re finding and taking high-quality chances.
With totals of 6.5 all gone as of 9 a.m. ET, we’d rather wait for three or four minutes and bet Over 6.5 live. Eight goals is a lot and we’d likely pass on the Over 7. There are plenty of other derivative markets here to look at here or pivot to the player prop market to find better value.
If either team scores in the game’s first four minutes, then we’d be off this total altogether.
Prediction: Wait to live bet Over 6.5
With a total of 7 and the Avs -185 home favorites, getting a top-line winger in Aturri Lehkonen at EVEN money for a point is a deal among deals.
Lehkonen has moved up from the third line and now finds himself playing with captain Gabriel Landeskog and Conn Smythe betting favorite MacKinnon. Nate Mac will be on a mission to bury McDavid and end the hype and Lehkonen will be there to help at 5-on-5.
The winger has three points in his last four games and is getting more confidence in the bigger role. He is also getting time on PP2 which could be busy as the Oilers have been anything but disciplined so far in the postseason.
We love Draisaitl to continue his multi-point ways (+150 Over 1.5 points) and MacKinnon to pick up two or more points at +170, but getting a first-line winger in a game that he’s heavily favored and has a total of 7 at even money is too good of a deal to pass up.
Pick: Artturi Lehkonen Over 0.5 points (+100)
Stats from Covers, Moneypuck, Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com