Sunday NHL Betting Picks: How We’re Betting Stars vs. Avalanche and Canucks vs. Golden Knights (Aug. 30)

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Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Zach Whitecloud.

  • Need some quick NHL bets for Sunday? Our staff weighs in with their favorites on the three-game slate.
  • Two of our NHL experts are targeting the over for Stars vs. Avalanche, while Michael Leboff returns to the well with a play on the Canucks moneyline.

We are now firmly in the business portion of Round 2 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. There are three more games on the docket on Sunday, all of which are Game 4’s.

The Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche (-135) will continue their bonkers series at 6 p.m. ET, followed by an 8 p.m. ET puck drop between the Islanders (-118) and Flyers. The Golden Knights (-225) and Canucks will wrap up their back-to-back at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Here are our favorite bets for Sunday’s NHL action:

Sam Hitchcock: Dallas vs. Colorado Over 5.5 Goals (-124)

  • Odds available at DraftKings [Bet Now]
  • Puck Drop: 6 p.m. ET

The Dallas Stars have proven to be a nettlesome opponent for the Colorado Avalanche. Dallas has outscored its high-octane foes, potting fourteen goals in the first three games of the series. The Stars have blanketed the Avs’ bottom-six forwards, thereby eliminating much of Colorado’s supplementary scoring.

Colorado has seen its speed sapped by the Stars’ forecheck and structured defense. But instead of trying to limit chances and hope a low-scoring, possession game will alleviate their various flaws, I suspect the Avalanche are going to try to outscore the Stars in Game 4. This is why I love the over 5.5 in this matchup. Enough that I can tolerate the -124 price.

Like a lit match in a haystack, the injury of top-four defenseman Erik Johnson has been an accelerant for the Avs’ defensive coverage issues. Avs coach Jared Bednar has dressed Kevin Connauton in Johnson’s stead, but Bednar doesn’t trust Connauton. In the two games he has played since stepping in, Connauton has logged only 10:42 and 10:25 minutes.

That presents a problem, since it forces Bednar to lean on defensemen like Ian Cole to fill in some of the minutes that Johnson would have soaked up. Unfortunately, Cole has been thrashed by Dallas. In the last two games, he has a 28.49% expected goals and leads the team in high-danger changes against.

Is it a deployment issue? Nope. Fellow defensemen Samuel Girard, Cale Makar and Ryan Graves each had more defensive zone faceoffs in the past two contests. Cole’s generosity to the Stars has given Dallas a high-danger chances of 58.70% for the series. The problem has also affected the Avs’ goaltending, which is at a woeful .846 save percentage at 5-on-5 for the series. Ouch!

Squint at the numbers, and over 5.5 total goals seems highly plausible. Both teams are dangerous on the power play, and they have collected plenty of scoring opportunities at 5-on-5. The Avs and Stars are producing 32 and 31 shots per 60 minutes respectively. In two of the three games, the goal total has been six or more by the end of the second period. Luxuriate and profit in this upcoming scoring bonanza.

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Pete Truszkowski: Dallas vs. Colorado Over 5.5 Goals (-124)

  • Odds available at DraftKings [Bet Now]
  • Puck Drop: 6 p.m. ET

I am a bit shocked we aren’t seeing a higher total for Game 4 of this series.

Usually, a 10 to 12 game sample isn’t much, but in this bubble postseason, it’s time to start taking what we see from these teams at face value.

Dallas is a team with the reputation of being offensively inept. It might not be totally true, because during the regular season, the Stars were underperforming their expectations. Their actual goals scored per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 was 1.97, which ranked second-worst in the league. Their expected goals per 60 minutes was 2.42, which ranked 14th overall.

In the bubble, Dallas has found the net more easily. In three games in this series, the Stars have scored 14 times, and their first line has busted out of its slump to combine for 15 points.

Anton Khudobin has started to struggle a bit, and his .901 save percentage is well below his normal operating level. Pavel Francouz, who is filling in for the injured Philipp Grubauer, is also stumbling. Francouz has allowed eight goals on 63 shots in his two starts against the Stars.

All three games in this set have gone over and I expect the trend to continue in Game 4.

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Michael Leboff: Vancouver Canucks (+190)

  • Odds available at DraftKings [Bet Now]
  • Puck Drop: 10:30 p.m. ET

I don’t want to do it, but I gotta.

For the second time in three games the Vegas Golden Knights pitched a shutout against the Vancouver Canucks. And for the second time this series, the betting market has overreacted to it.

The Golden Knights are a much better team than the Vancouver Canucks, but the betting history of this series tells you where the value is for Game 4. Unfortunately, it happens to be on the worse team.

Vegas Golden Knights Vancouver Canucks
Game 1 -210 +163
Game 2 -210 +175
Game 3 -205 +175
Game 4 -225 +190

Odds via DraftKings

Vancouver will need to find a way to get this game off-script, because Vegas is the stronger 5-on-5 team. If the Golden Knights are able to dictate the tempo, then it will be a long night of chasing the puck for the Canucks.

The Canucks have a lot of talent at the top of their roster, and Jacob Markstrom has been one of the best goaltenders in the league all season, so the Canucks are not without a chance.

I don’t think the Canucks will win on Sunday night, but at +190, I only need them to do so about 33.3% of the time. I like this down to +180.

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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