Hold your breath, hockey fans. The reigning Stanley Cup champs are finally near-healthy. Forward Valerie Nichushkin emerged from IR on Monday and promptly recorded an assist. His presence is significant, as it addresses the team’s lack of scoring depth — their biggest flaw this season. Coach Bednar can finally balance and optimize his lineup in a way that unlocks Colorado’s true scoring potential. At least in theory.
It’s worth noting that Nichushkin wasn’t always a superstar. He burst onto the scene last season, in large part thanks to his role playing alongside Nathan MacKinnon, a generational talent, who has the ability to pad his teammates’ stats. Unfortunately for Nichushkin, he no longer gets the benefit of playing with Nasty Nate.
That job —at least for now— has been re-assigned to former Pittsburgh Penguin Evan Rodrigues, and the man has embraced it. In 7 games playing in 5v5 situations with MacKinnon, Rodrigues has scored 3 goals and added 7 assists.
Betting E-Rod to record at least a point is a perfect 7-0 in these contests. Nichushkin did replace Rodrigues on Colorado’s 1st Power Play unit —not ideal— but in 5v5, the latter still holds an advantage, and betting markets have been slow to react from a pricing standpoint.
For a match with a palatable pre-game total (o/u 6), I’m comfortable backing a scoring prop. And of the choices, I see the best value in a bet that Rodrigues will record an assist at +156/FanDuel. This is 5-2 when he plays with MacKinnon. He’s averaging 1.2 assists per game in his last 5 under this lineup.
To be clear, this prop won’t cash every time that he plays with MacKinnon, but for the odds, how could we not hit it at +156?
For a safer bet, consider backing Rodrigues to record a point at -128 (FanDuel), which would cash with a goal or an assist. You know I’m comfortable making plus money picks though, so I’m rolling with the assist!
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We're taking ML Monday and applying the NHL Double up. Makes Sense. Tonight we're on BetMGM for the best odds by way of the Flashpicks app. Which you can download for free below. W...