Thursday November 21st NHL Betting Free Pick: Avalanche Wild

Oddsmakers Calling It a Close One From St. Paul

There’s value on both sides in the November 21st NHL betting free pick with the Avalanche listed at +100 visiting Minneapolis who is -115 for Thursday’s game. The quick play would probably be 2nd place Colorado, underdogs despite having won 5 of their last 6. It begs the question though, why are the Wild favored here, especially with a backup goaltender in net?

Avs Continue to Fight Through Injuries

Makar has been a welcome site to the Colorado lineup.

It’s been an impressive year for Colorado. They were one of the hottest teams in the league starting the season 7-1. Then the injury bug hit to two of the top 3 Avalanche scorers as Mikko Rantanen (ankle) and Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) have been out since mid to late October. The Avs looked lost losing their first 5 games with those two out of the lineup, but they’ve rebounded with wins in 5 of the last 6.

A number of players have stepped up in the absence of Landeskog and Rantanen, but the injuries continue to befell Jared Bednar’s team. Colin Wilson (head) and Matt Calvert (lower body) have both landed on the injured list for an extended period of time and promising youngster Tyson Jost will miss his third straight game in the November 21st NHL betting free pick.

So how does Colorado still have? For one, Nathan Mackinnon is carrying this team right now and he has 9 points in the last 4 games. Andre Burakovsky had 12 goals in 76 games with Washington last season – but has netted 5 in the last 3 games alone for the Avalanche. Rookie D Cale Makar is playing wise beyond his years with three multi-point games in his last 6 including 4 vs. Vancouver last Saturday.

Can Minnesota Stop (Or Keep Up With) the Colorado Offense?

Parise tries to help Minnesota bowl over Colorado on Thursday.

The Avs are on a roll, scoring at least 4 goals in 4 of their last 6. Colorado could be getting a bit fatigued though as Thursday marks their 5th road game in a row after just completing a trip through Canada. One big benefit to the Wild offense in this matchup is the fact that Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer is making just his 2nd start after a two week absence with a lower body injury. That bad thing is that he looked sharp last time out, stopping 31 of 33 shots against the Flames.

While Grubauer didn’t show rust after a layoff, Minnesota’s goaltender Alex Stalock is in the same boat making just his 2nd start in the last 2 weeks as Devan Dubnyk misses this game (personal). Stalock did start at Buffalo on Tuesday, and looked good stopping 30 of 31 Sabres shots. 7 of Stalock’s last 10 appearances have been on the road, but he’s stopped 56 of the last 58 at home (3 games).

The Wild have flip-flopped wins and losses over their last 7 games which doesn’t bode well vs. Colorado after a 4-1 victory at Buffalo on Tuesday. The Wild average just 2.7 goals on the season (24th), but have scored at least 3 in 7 of the last 8. Zach Parise has scored half of his 8 goals on the year in the last 3 games, but he could use some help from Eric Staal who has just 1 point total in the last 5.

November 21st NHL Betting Free Pick

Oddsmakers are setting the bait for Colorado as underdogs in this meeting. A slight 54% of the public is all that is taking it however. The Avs have a lot of talent – and seem to be very deep – but they have also just finished a road trip with 4 games in Canada. There are some that thought Stalock would be a boost in net for Minnesota earlier in the season. Somehow, it looks like the Wild pull this one off.

Pick: Minnesota Wild -115

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