NHL Odds & Pick for Blackhawks vs. Stars: Repeat Performance in Store for Dallas (Thursday, March 11)
Steve Nurenberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Dallas winger Denis Gurianov is chased by Chicago defenseman Adam Boqvist.
- The Blackhawks and Stars meet on Thursday night just two days after Dallas dominated in a 6-1 win.
- The Stars have been rolling of late, while Chicago is coming back down to Earth after a hot start.
- Who has the edge in this one? Matt Russell breaks it down below.
Blackhawks vs. Stars Odds
|Time | TV||Thursday, 8:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday night and via PointsBet.|
The Dallas Stars jumped all over the Chicago Blackhawks early and often on Tuesday in the first of two games in three days between the Central Division foes.
The Stars took a 1-0 lead 100 seconds in and never looked back in what amounted to a 6-1 victory in which Jason Robertson tallied assists on four goals.
Can Dallas hit the repeat button in the rematch on Thursday night in Dallas? Let’s break it down:
The Blackhawks won a pair of games in Dallas earlier this season — both as +150 underdogs — during a surprising 10-5 stretch that saw them shoot up the standings. That stretch was deceiving given that while they averaged 1.66 expected goals for at even-strength, they allowed 1.98 expected goals against. Not exactly a sustainable ratio if the intention is to keep their place in a playoff spot.
On Tuesday, the Blackhawks had 1.01 expected goals for at even-strength, and just three high-danger chances, unable to convert any of them. They weren’t able to go to their bread-and-butter, the power play, as they only had two power plays, in large part due to the Stars’ dominating play.
While they left goaltender Malcolm Subban hanging out to dry, he wasn’t much better than the collective in front of him, giving up six goals on 37 shots. Essentially, the Blackhawks played their strategy of “run and gun” hockey, only they did so unarmed.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
xG numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.
The Stars’ offense is starting to come alive like Frankenstein’s monster or that insufferable Undertaker meme. Six different scorers chipped in on Tuesday, as the Stars scored five times at even-strength thanks in part to 11 high-danger chances at 5-on-5. Dallas converted three of those into goals, one game after creating 15 HDC in a loss to Nashville.
Even with the sudden offensive explosion, the Stars have kept their stout defensive system intact. Tuesday marked the third consecutive game where they allowed just three high-danger chances at even-strength. This has aided the improvement of their season average of 1.41 expected goals against.
Given their defensive prowess, the Stars can faithfully rely on either goaltender: incumbent starter Anton Khudobin or Jake Oettinger. Khudobin has had a spotty start to the season off the ice, but 26 saves on 27 shots will earn him back in the good graces of the coaching staff after he was suspended by the team earlier in the year. Oettinger has the exact same save percentage as Khudobin at .916, but a better goals against average, so there’s not much in the way of drop off should he get the call on Thursday.
Betting Analysis & Pick
With the help of this run of limiting the opponents’ offense at even-strength, the Stars rating in my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model, as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast, has shot up to a level commensurate with the Hurricanes and Lightning, teams that we expected them to compete with for the division lead before the season.
The Blackhawks, conversely, have banked points despite poor play at even-strength. My true moneyline here is DAL -151/CHI +151, so I’d expect the Stars to be -160 favorites once sportsbooks get their hands on this number. That said, opening prices for the Stars are in the -140s, so whether it’s hitting rewind or repeat, it’s best to grab that number like we did on Tuesday, before the market catches up to Dallas finally finding their game.
Pick: Stars (-150 or better)
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