NHL Odds & Picks For Stars vs. Blackhawks: Back Improved Dallas On Tuesday
Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Oettinger, Esa Lindell and Jamie Benn celebrate.
- The Stars are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff race, but have a chance to make up ground on Tuesday.
- They'll be doing so against a Blackhawks team that has been struggling of late.
- Matt Russell previews the game below and makes his betting prediction.
Stars vs. Blackhawks Odds
|Time||Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday night and via BetMGM.|
The NBA has it’s 3-point era, where the shooters have improved up and down the lineup, and coaches have opened the door to a ‘bombs away’ attitude. The NHL has its own 3-point era, but it’s in the standings. Since deciding to give a point for an overtime or shootout loss, the NHL has made making up ground late in the season incredibly difficult.
If you’re going to wait until the final quarter of a shortened season to make your move up the standings, you’ll probably find yourself on the outside looking in. As such, the Dallas Stars need to make sure these types of games — where they face a team between them and the final playoff spot — are the ones they not only win, but do so in regulation. Especially considering the Blackhawks have built their season on the back of how often they force overtime.
Dallas has three games in hand over the teams it's chasing in the Central Division. The reason the Stars are chasing the Blackhawks is because of a pair of losses in overtime at home to Chicago earlier in the season.
The Stars have been consistent in their disappointment. After starting the year with four straight wins, the Stars have won back-to-back games just once since. They won’t have that on their plate in Chicago on Tuesday, because they lost in Carolina on Sunday night. It was a 1-0 loss that from a metric standpoint could have easily been about 5-0.
The Canes put Stars backup goalie Jake Oettinger under the gun with 18 High-Danger Chances at even-strength, but they were only able to beat the Stars young ‘tender once. The Stars were only able to muster three High-Danger Chances, otherwise they might have stolen a second straight win in Carolina.
Now the Stars shift to Chicago, where things should be considerably easier at even-strength. Despite losing three of four to the Blackhawks this season, the Stars have limited the Hawks' HDCs to just 19 over the four games, and have had the edge in Expected Goals in two of the three losses.
That’s nothing new for the Stars, who have more Expected Goals at even-strength and more even-strength High-Danger Chances than their opponents this season. As a result, the Stars rate really well in my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast, which keys on 5-on-5 play and how much you might score as opposed to how much you actually do score, for predictive purposes.
The Stars' last eight games have come against the upper echelon of the division and while they’re 3-5 in those games, they’ve created the same amount of even-strength HDC as they’ve given up.
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 shouldn't face much resistance in Chicago. After a stretch where the Blackhawks padded their point total with games against the Blue Jackets, Red Wings and a series of overtime wins, Chicago is on its own stretch of games against the top-four teams in the Central Division.
The Blackhawks have gone 5-11 in that stretch. And unlike Dallas, they haven’t been matching up with these teams at even-strength. Hawks’ opponents have created 145 even-strength High-Danger Chances to just 116 for Chicago. The Hawks have allowed 2.06 Expected Goals per game at 5-on-5, while getting only 1.57 Expected Goals For on average.
Essentially, we know that the Blackhawks aren’t as good as the group of Tampa Bay, Carolina, Florida and Nashville, but the Stars actually are, despite the record showing otherwise.
The participants in the crease may matter in this one. The Blackhawks have been playing with found money in Kevin Lankinen as he sits at 8.51 Goals Saved Above Average. While that number is mostly built off his early-season play, he’s definitely more reliable than Malcolm Subban, who has a pedestrian -1.97 GSAA. I think The Hawks would prefer to face Anton Khudobin who may return after missing time due to COVID protocols.
Betting Analysis & Pick
My model gives the Stars a 55% chance to win this game, which translates to a true moneyline of -124. Given that they’re the favorite, I’d be fine paying anything better than that fair price.
The opening price available at -115, and that’s good enough for me for a team that’s ready to take advantage of its improved play against some easier competition.
Pick: Stars (-120 or better)