Blackhawks vs. Stars NHL Odds & Pick: Bet Dallas As a Short Favorite (Tuesday, March 9)

Blackhawks vs. Stars NHL Odds & Pick: Bet Dallas As a Short Favorite (Tuesday, March 9) article feature image

Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jamie Benn.

  • The Dallas Stars will take on the Chicago Blackhawks on the ice Tuesday night.
  • Although the Blackhawks' rebuild has gone quicker than some may have thought, their "good" stretch from earlier in the season was about the same as the Stars' "bad" stretch at the same time.
  • Matt Russell explains why he likes the Stars to take care of business against the Blackhawks below.

Blackhawks vs. Stars Odds

Blackhawks Odds+115
Stars Odds-134
Time | TVTuesday, 8:30 p.m. ET | NBC Sports Network
Odds as of Monday night and via DraftKings.

“Murphy’s Law” is not an axiom relating to Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy, though after he tried to run through Erik Cernak of the Tampa Bay Lightning, resulting in an ejection on Sunday, maybe it should.

It is, however, the quote, “What can go wrong, will go wrong,” which has actually applied more to the Dallas Stars' season so far, and more specifically, how it’s gone since these two teams met in early February.

However, the paths they’ve taken since then have created some unexpected value on the favorite. 

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Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks got it done in Dallas the first time around.

They needed extra time to do so, but like many teams so far this season, they snagged two points from the Stars.

In those games, the Blackhawks were higher than +150 underdogs, as the Stars were still getting a ton of credit for their postseason success from last year. Chicago showed that it's better than everyone expected it to be in back-to-back 2-1 overtime wins. 

The two wins in Dallas are part of a 10-5 record for the Blackhawks in their last 15 games, which has sent a message to the rest of the NHL that the rebuild is going faster than we expected.

However, there’s reason to pump the brakes a bit with the Blackhawks. In that 15-game stretch, the Hawks have averaged 1.66 even-strength Expected Goals For, while their opponents have averaged a surprisingly high 1.98 Expected Goals. 

With the majority of those 10 wins coming after regulation, the Hawks have been playing something of a high-wire act. They’re no stranger to a run-and-gun game, as they’ve been in more than their fair share of “first-one-to-five” type of games.

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.

Dallas Stars

The Stars don’t do offense — which is probably why they’ve been the biggest disappointment in the Central Division so far, winning just three games since a 4-0 start.

Since that start, they’ve averaged just 1.62 Expected Goals at even strength. Between that and a sputtering power play, when the Stars lost those two games at home to Chicago, it was the start of a 12-game stretch in which they scored just 18 goals.

If their aforementioned Expected Goals number sounds familiar, it’s because it’s just shy of the Blackhawks' number during their good 10-5 run. So, the Stars' “bad” offensive stretch was nearly as good as the Blackhawks' “good” stretch.

I mentioned the Hawks getting away with a high xGA at even strength, but during this rough stretch for the Stars, their opponents' average Expected Goals at even strength sits at 1.48 — a full half-goal less than the Blackhawks. 

The Stars may have found a little more offense in the last couple of games over the weekend, tagging the Blue Jackets for five goals and then storming back to force overtime with the Predators after being down 3-0 late the next day. Dallas created a season-high 15 High-Danger Chances at even-strength in that game. 

As things have settled down around them after a delayed start to their season and the weather-related power outage causing a subsequent break, the Stars might be ready to play their best hockey of the season. They’re just hoping the results follow.

Betting Analysis & Pick

In betting any sport, the key is finding value on prices.

According to my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model, the moneyline of Dallas -135/Chicago +115 treats the Stars and Blackhawks as equals relative to an average team in their respective spot.

My model still believes the Stars are better than that, as they rate 7.8% above average at even strength, while the Blackhawks are still a 9% below-average team at even strength.

Obviously, the Hawks' success on the power play makes up some of that difference but not enough to make this price correct. Given the simultaneous nature of the Hawks being overrated at this price and the Stars being underrated, Dallas is an easy bet to make.

Of course, it’s a harder bet to win, what with “Murphy’s Law” lurking around every corner. 

Pick: Stars (-135 or better).

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