Thanks to the Lightning’s sweep of the Florida Panthers, we’ve only got one Stanley Cup Playoff game on the docket tonight. With a win on home ice, Colorado can join Tampa Bay as the only two Conference Final participants so far – but will they get it done, or will they be forced to fly back to St. Louis for Game 6?
I think the Avalanche do get it done tonight, but at -250, it’s simply too much juice to lay in the playoffs. So we’ll pivot to the total.
Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues
Most other books have the over juiced to -115, but DraftKings is the only one holding firm at -105. For those who’ve followed this series all year long, you know I’m more of an under bettor, so this one probably comes as a surprise. But there are a few key reasons why I’m looking towards another offensive explosion in Game 5.
The last two games in this series have gone over the posted total of 6.5, so scoring is trending up. Sure, some of it is because these teams are getting more comfortable playing one another and are starting to dissect some of the defensive tendencies being deployed. But there was one other huge alteration in this series that led to goals: Jordan Binnington.
Binnington was knocked out early in Game 3 when Nazem Kadri plowed into him, and Ville Husso took over. Husso was the better goalie all year, but there’s just something about playoff experience that means so much more this time of year. Binnington has it, and Husso doesn’t yet.
In the first two games with Binnington in net, the Blues lost 3-2 in overtime and then stole a game in Denver by the score of 4-1. Both totals went under the posted line of 6.5. But since Husso took over, we’ve seen a combined 16 goals in two games – 11 from the Avalanche – and sure, some went into an empty net. But that’s all part of the equation; those goals count the same. Binnington is done for the series, so we’ll see Husso vs. Darcy Kuemper again. And I’m looking for another scoring barrage, especially as Colorado looks to close this one out on home ice.
NAZEM KADRI! YOU CAN'T SCRIPT THESE THINGS! A HAT TRICK!
LISTEN: @ConorMcGahey & @RadioMoser calls on Naz's goals in tonight's Game 4 win!@Avalanche crush @StLouisBlues 6-3 and take a commanding 3-1 lead back to Denver!#GoAvsGo #FindAWay #StanleyCup #WeAllBleedBlue #STLBlues pic.twitter.com/lxUiKNxziN
— 92.5FM – Altitude Sports Radio Text: 303-504-0925 (@AltitudeSR) May 24, 2022
It’s no secret that teams play better on their home ice, and the Avalanche are no exception. During the regular season, Colorado scored 32 more goals at Ball Arena than away from it. They averaged nearly five shots per game more and had a shooting percentage that was nearly a full percent higher than on the road. And now they’ve got a chance to close out the series and avoid flying back to St. Louis? They’ll be extremely motivated to get it done and get some rest before having to deal with either of the high-flying Alberta teams in the Western Conference Final.
And finally, I touched on it before, but empty netters will play a significant role in the final score here. At -250, the market tells us that we should expect Colorado to be ahead in this game. With the Blues facing elimination, there is no tomorrow for them. There’s no reason for them to be cautious pulling their goaltender if they’re down a goal or two in the third period.
We may even see the extra attacker hop on the ice with five minutes still to go in the game. We’ll probably see St. Louis pull their goaltender multiple times, even if the Avalanche pot one in the empty net. A 3-2 game could turn into a 5-2 game in a blink, just like it did in Game 3. And because of that, I’m uncharacteristically on the over tonight. Play it down to -110.
The Pick: Over 6.5 (-105; DraftKings)
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