NHL Betting Guide: Tuesday 5/31/22

The Western Conference Finals will feature what could be this generation's version of the legendary wars between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.

Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche will host Connor McDavid's Oilers on Tuesday. Which team will leap out to an early series lead in Game 1?

Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All ratings are out of five stars. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Edmonton Oilers at Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche Moneyline (-194) - 1 Star
Under 7.0 (-128) - 4 Stars

Analytically, the best team out west was the Calgary Flames. They had the best expected goals-for percentage (56.1%) in hockey this year. Therefore, it was stunning to see the Oilers knock them off in just five games.

Edmonton can beat anyone when Mike Smith is there to patch up their defensive shortcomings. Smith is fourth in the entire postseason in goals saved above expectation (+8.3), and the Oilers have been leaning hard on Smith. They've actually allowed the second-most expected goals (41.5) in the playoffs, but that's only resulted in the fifth-most actual goals (38).

Regression could come quickly against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Avs are just sixth in expected goals-for (37.0), but that's still a quality mark. The huge difference in this series could be Colorado's defense. Compared to that lofty expected goal total from the Oilers, the Avalanche have allowed just 2.2 expected goals per 60 minutes -- the best mark in the NHL playoffs.

With the much more reliable defense on home ice, it's easy to favor Colorado. They're pegged by our model for a 66.2% chance to win this contest. That creates a tiny bit of value against their 66.0% implied odds.

The better bet is on the under. The public loves the star-studded offenses here, but both teams are massively outperforming their expected goals pace. While Edmonton and Colorado have both posted exactly 4.3 goals per game thus far, both have exactly notched just 3.7 expected goals per contest.

numberFire's model sees the game at or below seven total goals 76.0% of the time, and it rates it as a four-star wager against 56.1% implied odds.