Recent Play Cause For Concern? Avalanche Still A Stanley Cup Favorite

Posted By Ian St. Clair on February 26, 2021 - Last Updated on April 14, 2021

The Colorado Avalanche are in a bit of a tailspin.

If you look at the current West Division standings, it’s a rather startling sight. You have to look near the bottom to find Colorado with 19 points. That is above only the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks with 16.

The last few years, the Avalanche have remained pretty consistent.

If you want to feel better, move over to the odds at PointsBet.

Despite the fact Colorado lost back-to-back games for the first time this season and is (only) four points behind the Las Vegas Golden Knights (23 points), the sportsbook still has the Avs as the Stanley Cup favorite.

As Andrew Mannino, the senior sports content analyst at PointsBet, told PlayColorado:

“We still like them a lot. They still look like the team to beat to us. We have them favored in the outright. We also have them favored in the West, we’re taking a bit more of a lean there than some of the other books in the market. But the way they’ve been playing is living up to the billing. Splitting that series with Vegas last week I think bodes well for them. We still have a lot of respect for the Avalanche.”

2021 Stanley Cup betting odds BetMGMDraftKingsFanDuelPointsBet
Colorado Avalanche Stanley Cup odds Avalanche +650
Lightning +800
Golden Knights +800
Bruins +850
Maple Leafs +900
Hurricanes +1,200
Lightning +600
Maple Leafs +700
Bruins +750
Avalanche +800
Golden Knights +1,000
Avalanche +700
Golden Knights +700
Lightning +800
Maple Leafs +850
Bruins +900
Hurricanes +1,300
Avalanche +650
Lightning +800
Maple Leafs +800
Bruins +800
Golden Knights +900
Hurricanes +1,100
Oilers +1,800

No reason for concern … yet

This isn’t to say the sky is falling for Colorado.

The Avalanche are only four points behind Las Vegas.

And there’s still two months left in the regular season.

So there is plenty of time for Colorado to reel off a nice winning streak.

Given how talented and deep the Avs are, it’s a matter of when, not if that happens.

Also keep in mind that Colorado was off for about a week because of COVID-19 protocols.

The Avalanche have played five games since their return and gone 2-3.

“Being able to get through those situations is fantastic for them,” Mannino said. “And just being able to continue to put pressure on their opponents and with a lot of beatable teams in the West, I think they’re looking good heading into the middle of the season here.”

Early NHL surprises

The fact the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings are sticking around in the West remains a bit of a surprise.

Whether that remains the case through the rest of the season is one of the more interesting storylines.

That’s especially true once the Avs start clicking again.

“We’ve pretty much had it pegged as a two-horse race,” Mannino said. “St. Louis is sticking around a little bit in the standings, but we expect that to even out and for Colorado to continue to assert itself. So if there’s been a surprise, I guess it’s been St. Louis making itself felt at the top of the standings, but we still expect it’s going to come down to Colorado and Vegas.

“I think it’s going to come down to Colorado and Vegas in the playoffs out of the West. But we favor Colorado and think it’ll be able to pull that out in the end of the year.”

Avs goaltending a pleasant surprise

In terms of the Avalanche, the biggest surprise has been the stellar play of Philipp Grubauer.

Heading into the season, goaltending was the biggest question mark for experts, fans and the sportsbooks.

Grubauer’s play has eased those concerns.

“With him playing the way he is right now, and having so much skill at the forwards and on the blue line, it really makes them a very well-rounded team and tough challenge for anybody,” Mannino said. “Him playing this way is the sort of thing that’s going to separate them from the competition. And if he stays hot late in the spring, it’s going to be good things for them.”

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The sportsbooks are also starting to get insight into how fans are taking to betting on the Avalanche.

Since this is the first opportunity for users to bet on the NHL in Colorado, there was intrigue to see how they would respond.

From a PointsBet perspective, it’s exceeded expectations.

In terms of sports betting revenue for the state, hockey has generated $27 million in wagers, with a high of $13.6 million in August.

As Patrick Eichner, director of communications at PointsBet, told PlayColorado:

“We looked at some of the numbers, and as you would expect, Colorado and Michigan are two states that are trending well above the average across the six jurisdictions we’re live in. Illinois, and Chicago in particular, is a state that very much backs their home teams. And we’ve seen that. There’s hockey interest there as well. But Colorado has definitely outperformed through the six markets.”

From an NHL betting perspective, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have one of the better teams in the league.

Colorado made a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs last fall and, obviously, is a legitimate Stanley Cup contender this season.

“I think it’s probably a combination of factors, most things usually are,” Eichner said. “But the fact that it is a hockey town, it’s certainly a place that enjoys the sport. And it’s always easier to root for a team when they’re an absolute wagon versus having to suffer through a team that’s a little closer to the bottom of the barrel.”

How the book handles delays for bets

Fans were also witness to one of the most memorable moments in Avalanche history this past weekend.

That’s when Colorado played the Golden Knights at Lake Tahoe.

It seriously looked like a hockey rink was put in a Bob Ross painting.

However, the sun had other ideas and it started to melt the ice.

Once the first period ended, the NHL delayed the game until 10 p.m. MST.

If you put a wager on the game, you may have wondered what that meant for your bet.

If that happens again, whether hockey or baseball, Eichner offers what to expect at PointsBet.

“Our blanket rule is 48 hours,” he said. “If a baseball game gets rained out, for example, and gets finished, the next day bets will stay active. If a game gets postponed beyond that 48-hour window, bets will be refunded.

“In the case of the outdoors game, because it resumed on the same day, bets remained live.”

Possible Stanley Cup final matchup

As for the Stanley Cup betting odds, Colorado is trailed by the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs at +800.

“Boston is playing unbelievably lately,” Mannino said. “It seems like they are just steamrolling people. They’re physical. They’re fast. They’re tough. So I think they’re a tough matchup. And Tampa Bay, as always, can score at will and is a team to be reckoned with.”

Of those three teams from the Eastern Conference, Mannino said he’d like to see the Avalanche and Boston meet in the Stanley Cup final.

That would certainly put Ray Bourque in a pickle, since he played most of his career with the Bruins before being traded to the Avs and ending his career finally winning a Cup.

“I think that’s a series that’d be fun from the moment the puck drops and is likely to be fairly back-and-forth and go deep into the series,” Mannino said. “I think that would be a lot of fun.”

The next month could really help the Avs

Yet before Colorado gets to that point, they have to snap out of this recent tailspin.

PointsBet clearly thinks that’ll happen, and the Avalanche’s soft schedule over the next month should certainly help.

Colorado is just too deep and talented.

As Mannino said:

“They should pick up momentum this month. A lot of these teams in the West are really beatable for Colorado. And if they’re able to rack up some wins against the Arizonas and Anaheims of the world, I think that’ll help them a lot as they roll into a bit of a tougher time at the end of March and beginning of April.”

Photo by AP / David Zalubowski
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