Sharks vs. Golden Knights NHL Odds & Pick: How To Back San Jose’s Offense (Monday, April 19)
Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Timo Meier.
- The Sharks look to end their skid against the surging Golden Knights on Monday in Las Vegas.
- San Jose's offensive talent has struggled to find the net of late, but a matchup with Vegas might be what the doctor ordered.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down how that translates to betting value.
Sharks vs. Golden Knights Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-225|
|Time||Monday, 10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Sunday and via BetMGM|
The Golden Knights will return home to T-Mobile Arena on a six-game winning streak thanks to a dominant 4-0 road trip through California. San Jose enters hoping to break a horribly timed five-game skid that included a 5-2 defeat last time out in Minnesota on Saturday night.
San Jose have been outscored 22-7 during its losing streak, which has seen it fall back to sixth in the West Division. The Sharks are lucky to be in playoff contention at all with a record of 18-22-4, but they sit just five points back of Arizona in fourth, having played one less game, with the West showing a real lack of depth behind the top three teams.
San Jose’s play has possibly been a little better than the results have indicated. The Sharks have still controlled play to an xGF% of 53.79 over their last 10 games, but a combination of very poor goaltending and dangerous defensive-zone breakdowns have led to a whole lot of pucks entering the Sharks net.
San Jose has also gone very cold offensively, scoring just five goals over the five-game losing skid. The Sharks have failed to convert many chances while going -5.59 goals below expected.
Sharks head coach Bob Boughner called out forwards Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc for their “horrible play” in the first period of Saturday’s game vs Minnesota. It will be interesting to see if the talented pair can manage a better effort Monday in Vegas.
The Sharks’ top-six forward group and high-risk, high-reward top-two defense pairing of Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns certainly offer more scoring upside than we have seen of late. It will be interesting to see if they can break through offensively against a Vegas team known to offer up a lot of chances with their up tempo style.
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.
The Golden Knights keep rolling, dominating some of the bottom teams in the West Division on route to a plus-17 goal differential over their six-game winning streak.
Vegas certainly has some motivation to continue these winning ways since claiming first in the division and avoiding a tough first-round matchup against the Avalanche or Wild. The Golden Knights have posted an absurd 3.62 xGF/60 rating over their last 10 games and are averaging 3.7 goals per game over that stretch.
However, Vegas is in the top third of the league in xGA/60 over its last 10, and over the course of the entire year. It is a by-product of its up-tempo, highly aggressive attack in which a talented defensive core is encouraged to join the rush and pinch aggressively on the walls. Certainly, the Golden Knights make the style work with the incredible number of chances they average per game.
It also does not hurt to trade a few chances when you have a goaltending tandem like the Knights do with Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner.
Lehner should draw the start in this one with Fleury having played on Sunday against Anaheim. Lehner has been very strong with a 91.8 SV% on the season.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I think it is very reasonable to expect more from this Sharks group offensively, given the talent inside the top six up front and offensive talent on the back end. This is a sneaky good spot for them to break through with some goals against a Vegas team that does concede a large number of chances and is playing its third game in four nights.
I see some value in the game total over 6 at -105, but my favourite bet on this one is the San Jose team total over 2.5 at +100. I am not a fan of backing the Vegas moneyline at -220 here, but still see a lot more value in the Sharks team total rather than backing them to win.
Pick: Sharks team total over 2.5 +100