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Blue Jackets vs. Stars NHL Odds & Pick: Back Dallas, the Superior Squad (Thursday, April 15)

Blue Jackets vs. Stars NHL Odds & Pick: Back Dallas, the Superior Squad (Thursday, April 15) article feature image

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Dallas Stars celebrate.

  • The Stars can't stop losing games after regulation.
  • The Blue Jackets are the perfect cure for those woes.
  • Nicholas Martin previews their Thursday night tilt below.

Blue Jackets vs. Stars Odds

Blue Jackets Odds +148
Stars Odds -182
Over/Under 5
Time | TV Thursday | 8:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Wednesday evening and via DraftKings.

Dallas is running out of time to make up ground in the race for the final Central division playoff spot. The Stars on Thursday host a depleted Columbus squad that will miss the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Dallas Stars

The Stars come in on the heels of two more tough losses after regulation, a storyline the team has certainly seen far too much of this season.  Dallas played well enough to win in both, taking a tough 3-2 shootout loss to the red-hot Predators Sunday night in Nashville and following it up with another 3-2 loss in overtime to a very strong Florida club on Tuesday.

The Stars had the better of the chances in each affair, and led in expected goals 4.72 to 3.54 combined over the two games.

Dallas would be well on pace to break the regular season record for losses past regulation of 18 if this were an  82-game schedule, currently sitting with 12 and a 1-6 record in the novelty game decider that is shootouts. Specifically frustrating for the Stars is that Nashville is 5-0 in shootouts, and the difference in records in that competition accounts for more than the seven-point gap between the teams for the final playoff spot.

While Dallas is certainly no powerhouse, it could very realistically be looking at a much better record with a bit better luck. The Stars play-driving numbers continue to be in the leagues top third, based mainly off of their ability to create slightly more chances than the minuscule amount they allow opponents. But there certainly is a real lack of scoring talent depth on this team, specifically with injuries to top-six forwards Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov.

The Stars received more tough news Wednesday, as general manager Jim Nill announced that Radulov and goaltender Ben Bishop will officially be out for the remainder of the season.

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 and advanced stats cited from Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and Natural Stat Trick.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus comes in after a respectable 4-3 overtime loss to the Blackhawks, the team’s first game since a trade deadline in which it dealt longtime Jackets David Savard and captain Nick Foligno.

The Jackets lost arguable No. 1 defensemen Zach Werenski last week for the rest of the season, and Boone Jenner was also announced to be done for the year as well, on top of the losses traded away at the deadline. However, the Blue Jackets do have some interesting young talent who should now be given the chance to play more and bring some fresh energy.

Patrik Laine is certainly a player the Blue Jackets would love to see finish the year with some consistency, whether he is realistically in their plans long term or not. The enigmatic scorer has incredible talent and scored two goals in Tuesday’s contest vs Chicago.

All in all, however, I do not see much reason that this Columbus roster should finish the year with better results than we have seen so far. Columbus sits second last in xGF% on the year at 44.94, and have managed to lower that number to 43.73% over its last 10 games.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

I love the Stars chances to get a huge win against a very beatable opponent. Guys fighting for jobs, contracts and future roster spots will certainly keep Columbus competing hard. However, this is a very weak roster, especially after the loss of Werenski. Columbus has some of the worst underlying analytics in the league  and is facing a Dallas club that is vastly underrated.

This Stars team comes in off of two great efforts that went unrewarded, and I like their chances to come out desperate yet again against a much weaker squad in Columbus and claim two points they need horribly.

Pick: Dallas ML (-180)

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