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NHL Odds & Picks for Stars vs. Red Wings: Why There’s Value on Detroit (Tuesday, Jan. 26)

NHL Odds & Picks for Stars vs. Red Wings: Why There’s Value on Detroit (Tuesday, Jan. 26) article feature image

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images. Pictured: Dylan Larkin (left) and Tyler Bertuzzi.

Red Wings vs. Stars Odds

Red Wings Odds +175
Stars Odds -208
Over/Under 5.5
Time 8:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Monday at 9 p.m. ET and via BetMGM.

I love coming up with core betting beliefs and theories. Some long-term, some short-term, some smart, some dumb. Fortunately, I’m bright enough to know when to jump ship on a dumb theory. Even though it’s harder when I have a good name for that theory. 

I’d like to introduce you to my “Ya Blew It” theory. Before you take it as gospel, please understand that it’s half-cooked. At best.

The “Ya Blew It” theory is the step-child of the “Zig Zag” theory. You may have heard people referencing ZigZag as we all try to assess to what degree teams bounce back after losing the first game of the constant back-to-back games in this NHL season.

Zig Zag would tell you to bet the team who lost the first game, in the revenge spot, and that’s worked out decently this season, with a 16-11 record according to my tracking of the situations. 

The “Ya Blew It” theory goes a little deeper than that. It surmises that the Zig Zag needs to be abandoned if the losing team actually played better 5-on-5,in the first matchup, only to lose thanks to general hockey puck luck-ery.

Both the Red WIngs and Stars have been involved in “Ya Blew It” games. Allow me to explain.

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Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings were the better team before they flew into Chicago, even though they were the underdog against the Blackhawks. A pair of big ‘dog wins gave my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model that we discuss daily on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast, the idea that they were good enough to be considered the favorite against the struggling Blackhawks.

The first of the two games between the Wings and Hawks wouldn’t change the artificially intelligent mind of the model either, as Detroit was good enough to record a rating of 1.74 Expected Goals For (xGF) to Chicago’s 1.37, according to Natural Stat Trick.

The bad news for Detroit is that it didn’t actually win the game.

A pre-meeting rating that suggests Detroit as favorite, and a post-game rating that suggests the same? That should mean that Sunday’s game would present all kinds of value as the Wings remained underdogs.

It did not. Why? The “Ya Blew It” theory. The YBI theory (the theory is evolving, as we’re already abbreviating it) suggests that if you played better 5-on-5 in the first of two matchups, you are disqualified for revenge consideration in the rematch. You don’t have the same high probability to “play well enough to win” the second time around. You should have won the first game, when you were the better team.

Ya blew it.

Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars have had the weirdest start to a season in recent memory, piling up a 7-0 assault of the Nashville Predators on Friday. The crazy part was that the Preds were considerably better 5-on-5 than the Stars, as indicated by a 67% Expected Goal Share for Nashville at even strength. Dallas got its work done on the power play with a league-high five goals with the one-man man advantage. The Stars also threw in a short-handed goal for good measure. Goaltender Anton Khudobin was excellent in a shutout performance, so it’s no surprise the scoreboard looked like it did. 

The rematch on Saturday was lined no different than it had been in advance of the first game, and the underlying metrics showed that the teams were more evenly matched than the scoreboard would indicate. The sheer outlier performance from Dallas might come back to haunt them with a similar 5-on-5 matchup in the second game. 

Unfortunately for the Predators, that never came. Nashville wasn’t nearly as good in its revenge spot, and the Stars won a more traditional-looking game, 3-2. The Predators played well enough to win the first matchup, but didn’t.

Ya blew it, Smashville.

That good effort, no result game, disqualified them for the revenge spot in Game 2. 

Red Wings-Stars Pick

Now, the Stars have the visiting Red Wings come to town. The Red Wings having lost two straight when they could have easily continued their habit of splitting back-to-backs. The Stars have won two straight even though collectively their xGF was 2.46 against the Preds, while Nashville’s 5-on-5 play added up to 2.73 xGF.

These separate events have the market thinking the Western Conference-champion Stars are off to a hot start, continuing where they left off last season. We know better, though. Their start has just been slightly above league-average.

While the Red Wings are still very much below-average to the tune of -15%, that’s still not enough of a discrepancy to legitimize the Stars as -200 favorites. With expectations low, I have to back the Wings at +160, given my model makes them just better than 40% to win the game, much better than the 37% this line indicates.

If they lose, I’ll back them again in the rematch. Unless of course, they are the better team 5-on-5 in a loss on Tuesday night, in which case…

Ya blew it.

The Pick: Red Wings +175 (+160 or better)

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