The Kontinental Hockey League's regular championship 2023/2024 features the fourth game of the playing day — a clash between two neighbours in the Eastern Conference league table. In Tolyatti, Lada will play host to Avtomobilist from Yekaterinburg — effectively making this a match for a spot in the top four of the Eastern Conference.
Tolyatti's team has had mixed results, which can be attributed to the absence of four key players. While Olzhigin and Moiseev's absences can be managed, Popugaev and Kosmachev being sidelined has significantly impacted Lada, particularly in their attacking potential. However, despite this, the team has still occasionally been victorious. Currently, they have suffered three consecutive losses, with only one earning an additional point. At this moment, Lada ranks fifth in the conference, having gained 58 points from 49 matches. These were earned through 20 standard time victories, four beyond standard time, and ten losses also delivering a point. The other 15 games ended in defeat with no additional points. In terms of conceded goals, Lada shares the fifth position with Metallurg, with 121, and also ranks fifth for goals scored with 124.
Conversely, the team from the Sverdlovsk region is on a hot streak, despite occasional defeats such as in their last match against Ak Bars with a score of 1:2, and a 0:4 loss to SKA in the final game of 2023. Nonetheless, Avtomobilist managed to clinch three wins in their last five matches — over HK Sochi, Vityaz, and Traktor. Their streak propelled them into the top four East teams, a feat they hadn't achieved since October. At this moment, after 50 matches, Avtomobilist occupies fourth place in the conference with 59 points. These points were gained through 18 standard time victories, nine beyond, and five losses with a single point. The other 18 matches resulted in defeats without any additional points. Avtomobilist ranks third in the conference with 114 conceded goals and seventh in terms of goals scored with 119.
Lada and Avtomobilist have contested 16 matches with each other, where six were won by Lada and ten by Avtomobilist. This season, Avtomobilist won both meets — first 3:2 in overtime, and then 5:1 in standard time.
According to Bets City, Avtomobilist are the favourites for this match, with odds of 2.50 on their victory. Meanwhile, the odds for a home win from Tolyatti are pegged at 2.75. In this case, my bet goes for an Avtomobilist win, as they have looked stronger in recent matches.
As for a bet on total, consider TO (4.5) for 1.90. Both teams strive for more goals and it's quite feasible for them to score at least five collectively.