NHL Betting Guide: Friday 4/30/21

The Avalanche will get some key pieces back tonight against the Sharks, including Philipp Grubauer. Is it a good spot to back the Avs?

This weekend's slate of games is foreshadowing what to expect over the coming weeks as the NHL season winds down. There are four games tonight, a full slate Saturday, and then only one game on Sunday. We're going to soak it up, though, and enjoy what's left of the NHL's regular season.

Here are a few plays from our daily projections!

Colorado Avalanche vs. San Jose Sharks

Avalanche Moneyline (-300): 2-Star Rating out of 5

Philipp Grubauer makes his triumphant return to the Colorado Avalanche lineup tonight after missing nearly three weeks while resolving a COVID-19 diagnosis. Grubauer has been an absolute unit for the Avs this season, stopping 92.0% of shots, winning 25 of 34 games, and putting up 10.1 goals saved above average.

The San Jose Sharks were already one of the worst offenses in the league, and Grubauer is going to make things even harder for a team that has struggled to score all season. The Sharks rank 26th in shooting percentage across all strengths, scoring on only 8.8% of their shots. Their production metrics could also suffer against an Avs team that has one of the most underrated defensive units in the league.

Across all strengths, the Avs have allowed the fewest high-danger and scoring chances in the NHL. That's been evident over their recent sample, as well, as they've held three of their last four opponents to eight or fewer high-danger chances and 24 or fewer scoring opportunities.

Offensively, the Sharks will struggle to keep pace with the Avs. Colorado has attempted 10 or more high-danger chances and 28 or more scoring opportunities in five straight games. However, they have put up below-average shooting percentages in three straight games. We're expecting the floodgates to open up against the Sharks, as they have on two other occasions this season.

The Avs are priced as heavy favorites, but based on our projections, their moneyline doesn't accurately reflect their chances tonight. Colorado has a 77.6% chance of winning, which is greater than the 75.0% implied probability that comes with the -300 price tag. As such, taking them on the moneyline is rated as a two-star play.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings

Ducks Moneyline (+108): 1-Star Rating out of 5
Over 5.5 (-102): 1-Star Rating out of 5

The Anaheim Ducks have put forth some pretty impressive efforts to end the season. At five-on-five, the Ducks have put up an expected goals-for percentage above 50.0% in two straight and three of their last five. Their defensive effort is much improved, as they have limited their opponents to 20 or fewer scoring chances in five straight and nine or fewer high-danger chances in four of five.

That effort was on display when these teams met on Wednesday night. The Ducks held the Los Angeles Kings to 20 scoring chances, seven high-danger attempts, and 23 shots while out-possessing the Kings at five-on-five. Consequently, the Ducks outscored the Kings 3-0 at five-on-five, winning 3-2.

Wednesday night's effort from the Kings has been a familiar pattern. The Kings have recorded 20 or fewer scoring chances and seven or fewer high-danger opportunities in four of their last six. As expected, this has impacted their output as LA has managed just nine goals at five-on-five across those six games.

The Kings goaltending is failing them at the same time as their offense, as they have posted below-average save percentages in four of their last six.

Los Angeles has the worst road record in the West Division this season and is 2-6-0 over their last eight road games. Based on our projections, we should expect those woes to continue, as the Ducks are projected as 52.1% favorites. Considering their underdog price in the betting market, that leaves an edge in backing Anaheim to win, which we rate as a one-star play. There's also value in backing the over 5.5, which is also rated as a one-star play.