Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche Prediction: Can the Avalanche Close Out the Series?

NHL handicapper Jason Yamaguchi provides his best bet for Monday's playoff game between the Colorado Avalanche and the Nashville Predators.
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Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche Prediction: Can the Avalanche Close Out the Series?

We have reached the midway point of the first round, with four Game 4s scheduled for Monday night. Three of those series currently hold a 2-1 advantage; the only team with an opportunity to finish off their series tonight is Colorado. The Avalanche won the first three games by a combined score of 16-6 — can they ride that momentum into a four-game sweep? Let's take a closer look.

Predators vs. Avalanche Game 4 Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Monday, May 9

Game Time: 9:30 pm ET

Where to Watch: ESPN

Click here for Predators vs Avalanche Game 4 Odds

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Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche Prediction

Up to this point, this series between the Avs and the Predators has not been particularly close in any respect. Colorado opened the series with a 7-2 blowout win, won Game 2 in overtime in a match that would not have been close sans the outstanding play of Connor Ingram in goal for Nashville, and dominated Game 3 en route to a 7-3 road victory. Out of the eight first-round series, this one has proven to be the most lopsided by a wide margin.

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The play of Colorado's superstars has been key to their success. Cale Makar leads the team with seven points (2G, 5A) through three games, Nathan MacKinnon has added four goals, and Gabriel Landeskog has tallied three goals and three assists. With Nashville showing no signs of a pulse defensively (15.88 expected goals against through three games), we can expect Colorado's top contributors to continue feasting.

Much of Colorado's offensive success has stemmed from their red-hot power play. The unit leads all playoff teams with a scoring rate of 42.9%; for reference, the next highest team is Edmonton with a conversion rate of 35.7%. The power play has been especially useful for the Avalanche due to the number of penalties — 14 — that the Predators have taken through three games. This should come as no surprise, given that Nashville lead the league with 4.78 penalties per game in the regular season. If they cannot stay out of the box tonight, the series will likely be over.

The one concern for the Avs heading into tonight's game is the availability of starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper caught a stick to the eye through his mask in Game 3, but he will reportedly be an option for Game 4 if the swelling around his eye decreases. If he cannot go, backup Pavel Francouz will start in his place. Francouz has a career .893 save percentage in the playoffs; if he starts, it will likely erode the value on this pick. As such, it might be worth waiting until Kuemper is confirmed as the starter before placing your bets.

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Any worries that Nashville's home-ice advantage would sway the balance of Games 3 and 4 evaporated in Game 3, with Colorado breaking a 3-3 tie halfway through the game and scoring four consecutive goals to close out the contest. However, the value on the moneyline here, at -240, is shot. The Avalanche employ a style of play that is conducive to blowing their opponents out of the water, so I'm comfortable taking the puck-line here, especially at plus-money.

Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche Pick

Pick: Avalanche -1.5 (+110) (Bet $100 to win $110)

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Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.

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