Stanley Cup Final Game 6 best bets: Avalanche to finish the job
Will the Colorado Avalanche finish the job in Game 6? Or are we heading for a Game 7 with the sport's ultimate prize on the line?
Let's dive into that and a couple of player props for Sunday night's game.
The Lightning have home ice with a chance to push this series to seven games. Although they've fared much better at home throughout the postseason, I still expect the Avalanche to bounce back in this spot.
Not only has Colorado yet to drop consecutive games this postseason, but the team has also been better than Tampa Bay all series long. In fact, the Avs have won the expected goal battle at five-on-five in all five games thus far.
That's pretty impressive considering both how good the Lightning are and the fact that Colorado's 87-point second-line center, Nazem Kadri, missed the first three games.
Even without Kadri, I believed the Avalanche had too much speed, firepower, and depth for the Lightning to overcome. With Kadri back and looking more like himself - he had a game-high seven chances last time out - the Avalanche are even more difficult to keep up with.
So long as Darcy Kuemper doesn't hand the Lightning a freebie or two, the Avalanche have a very good chance of hoisting the Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay.
Bet: Avalanche (-115)
Cale Makar over 2.5 shots
Makar has made it clear on the biggest stage that he's the NHL's most gifted offensive blue-liner. He's been borderline unstoppable against the Lightning, attempting a ridiculous 51 shots through just five games while putting his name on the scoresheet seven times.
Makar has generated at least four shots on target in four straight contests, and he easily could've done the same in Game 1 with his nine overall attempts.
What I love about Makar is that he's matchup-proof. It doesn't matter whether he's at home or on the road, he'll get his shots regardless. He's recorded four shots or more in six of nine road games this postseason.
At 2.5 shots, he's playable well into the -200s. I'd also be quite comfortable playing him to record over 3.5 at juicer odds.
Makar is getting looks consistently every night. With the ultimate prize at stake, he'll continue to log a ton of ice time and dominate the puck on a shift-to-shift basis.
Victor Hedman over 2.5 shots
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's my motto while continuing to ride each team's No. 1 defenseman on a nightly basis.
Like Makar, Hedman has registered at least three shots in four of five games this series. He fell just one puck shy in the lone exception - Game 1 - and it wasn't for a lack of opportunity. Hedman attempted seven shots in that contest; he just couldn't find the target.
That happens once in a while. The important thing is the shot volume was there, and it continues to be each time out.
Hedman has attempted at least nine shots in three straight games, averaging five on goal during that span.
He leads all Lightning players in shot attempts, shots on goal, and points in this series, and he's right there in terms of scoring chances. Hedman is being relied upon heavily, which bodes well for his chances of success given how many shots Colorado has conceded to defensemen all season long.
Back Hedman for over 2.5 shots up to -200.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.