Stanley Cup Final Game 5 best bets: Avalanche to deliver final blow
The Colorado Avalanche can wrap up the series and win the Stanley Cup on home ice Friday night.
Can they get the job done, or will the back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning find a way to stave off elimination and live another day?
Let's examine that and some prop edges with three best bets for Game 5.
Lightning (+140) @ Avalanche (-165)
The Avalanche are a fantastic team in any building, but they're a different beast in Colorado. They've shown that time and time again this postseason.
Through nine games, the Avalanche scored 28 goals at five-on-five while controlling nearly 62% of the expected goal share. Thoroughly dominant.
Even against a team as good as the Lightning, the Avs haven't missed a beat. At five-on-five over the first two games of the series, Colorado controlled over 72% of the expected goals and outscored the Bolts 7-3. It did that without Nazem Kadri, who was the hero last time out.
The Lightning, to be blunt, haven't played well on the road this postseason. They own a losing record and have been outscored by 10 goals at five-on-five. That's not a coincidence - they've routinely been on the losing end of the shot and chance battle.
Considering Tampa's road struggles and Colorado's almost unbelievable dominance at home, I have a hard time imagining the Lightning flipping the script in Game 5 to extend the series.
Look for the Avalanche to put the Bolts to bed inside 60 minutes.
Bet: Avalanche in regulation (good to -120)
Nathan MacKinnon over 4.5 shots (good to -150)
MacKinnon is a cheat code for shots - especially on home ice. He averaged six shots on goal through nine postseason contests at Ball Arena.
The 26-year-old generated at least five shots in six of nine games - and that record could easily be better. On one occasion, he recorded four shots on 10 attempts.
MacKinnon's most recent failure came in the blowout Game 3 loss, in which he logged about six fewer minutes than he generally plays.
If that's not enough, the Lightning have given up shots in bulk to centers throughout the playoffs. MacKinnon's certainly taken advantage of that, hitting in three of four matchups.
The underlying process is about as good as one could possibly imagine. MacKinnon attempted a whopping 46 shots this series, good for 11.5 per contest. He doesn't even need to hit the net on half of his average volume to make good on this total.
With Jared Bednar in possession of last change and the Avalanche having the opportunity to knock out the back-to-back champs, MacKinnon will surely get all the ice time he can handle in the most favorable positions possible.
Victor Hedman over 2.5 shots (good to -160)
I've backed Hedman in every game this series and won't stop now. The star defenseman has arguably been Tampa Bay's most threatening player in the series, leading the team in points (four), shots (15), and shot attempts (29). Pretty good!
He plays a ton of minutes in every situation, and as I've discussed ad nauseam all season, the Avalanche are susceptible to giving up shots in bulk to offensively gifted blue-liners. Hedman most certainly fits the bill.
With Hedman averaging over 25 minutes a night and showing a willingness to take the looks the Avalanche give him, I expect him to come through and hit his shot prop for the fourth time in five games.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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