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Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators NHL Odds & Picks: Fade the Surging Preds on Thursday? (April 1)

Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators NHL Odds & Picks: Fade the Surging Preds on Thursday? (April 1) article feature image

John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images.

Stars vs. Predators Odds

Stars Odds -125
Predators Odds +105
Over/Under 5
Time Thursday, 7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Wednesday and via DraftKings

Nashville will host the Stars in a rematch of a hotly contested Tuesday night affair that saw the Predators extend their winning streak to six games thanks a 3-2 overtime victory.

The Predators are now tied with Chicago for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. The Stars, on the other hand, sit seven points back in the race for the postseason, though Dallas has four games in hand over Nashville and Chicago. If the Stars are to make any sort of push, it will need to start with taking two points on Thursday night — ideally in regulation.

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How They Match Up

Tuesday’s defeat was another painful one for Dallas, which blew two separate leads en route to losing its league-leading 10th game past regulation. The Stars have fought through postponements due to both COVID-19 and Texas power outages, along with several key injuries during a very trying year. They have lost five of six, however the underlying metrics suggest they have played respectably over the span, skating to a 51.4% xG, with four of those games coming against stiff competition in Florida and Tampa Bay.

Nashville continued its current run of dominance with the win, capped off with a silky backhand winner from Eeli Tolvanen in overtime. Tolvanen stayed hot skating on a line with Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson. That trio has terrorized the opposition with a 59.7% xG over 36 minutes together.

Juuse Saros has also been excellent of late for Nashville, building off his third star of the week selection with the win. He sits with a .924 save percentage to go along with 5.2 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx).

The team as a whole has played to a 57.42% xG over its current winning streak, although dominating the Red Wings and the quickly-regressing Blackhawks has inflated that number.

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.

Stars Vs Predators Best Bet 

The Stars still controlled play for most of Tuesday night, specifically in the early going where I felt they could easily have been up a few goals. They have lost the last two against Nashville, but both of those contests went beyond regulation. The combined expected goals in those games favored Dallas 5.42 to 4.42, so I think it’s very reasonable to expect Dallas to trend upwards from here on out results wise, given both the talent on the roster and the underlying numbers.

I think that backing the Stars moneyline at -125 is a very reasonable price, but I do believe it is likely we will see a  better line sometime closer to puck drop as a very large percentage of results-orientated bettors figure to pile on the Predators wondering why the Stars are favored against a red-hot team.

An X-factor with regards to the final line could be the Predators starting Pekka Rinne over Saros, as Rinne has been notably worse than his Finnish counterpart this season. I also think it is quite possible that the Stars decide to roll with Jake Oettinger over Anton Khudobin and based on their season stats that may be a slight win for Stars bettors. Either way, I do believe this line should settle at -125.

Look for the Stars to come out desperate here and find a way to claim the two crucial points.

Pick: Dallas Stars -125

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