NHL Tuesday Betting Odds and Predictions: Stars vs. Avalanche, Kings vs. Lightning, More (Jan. 14, 2020)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Jamie Benn
The NHL’s Western Conference is wide open.
Only the defending champion St. Louis Blues are more than four points clear of the ninth-place Winnipeg Jets as of Sunday. St. Louis, which is 13 points ahead of Winnipeg, is the only team that can safely be counted for a ticket to the dance. After St. Louis, there are 12 teams within 10 points of one another.
It’s very likely that the Blues will win the Central Division and leave Dallas and Colorado to duke it out in the No. 2 vs. No. 3 matchup in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Stars and Avalanche tango on Tuesday night in Colorado.
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Dallas Stars at Colorado Avalanche Odds
- Stars odds: +120
- Avalanche odds: -140
- Over/Under: 5.5
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
In terms of goals per 60 minutes (GF/60), no team has a more potent 5-on-5 offense than the Colorado Avalanche.
Colorado’s top line featuring Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen leads the charge, but Colorado’s supporting cast is among the league’s best. Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky and offense-first defensemen Cale Makar and Samuel Girard provide ample secondary scoring for the Avs.
That’s a good thing because Colorado doesn’t boast great 5-on-5 metrics.
The Avalanche only generate 2.41 expected goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 (14th) but they score 3.19. That may suggest some offensive regression is coming, but the Avs have the type of scoring talent to beat their peripheral metrics over the course of a season.
The Dallas Stars are very different from the Colorado Avalanche. The Stars build their game around solid defense and great goaltending, hoping to grind out 2-1 or 3-2 wins rather than trying to outscore their opponents.
Dallas allows just 2.2 expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 and their 52.8% expected goals rate is the seventh-best mark in the circuit. The Avalanche may be the more talented team, but Dallas is stronger at 5-on-5.
Considering Colorado also does a good job preventing quality chances against, I am expecting this to be the type of low-event game the Stars thrive in. The listed odds imply Colorado wins this game just over 56% of the time, which I think is a tad high. I would make the Stars a slight favorite on neutral ice, but these odds suggest that the Avs are the stronger team in a vacuum.
I’d wait to see if a better number pops, but if not Dallas at +120 or better is in range for a bet.
Around the League
The Tampa Bay Lightning (-290) finally lost a game on Sunday night, but they are very likely to begin a new winning streak on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Kings (+230). Not only is Tampa winning at a ridiculous clip, but the Bolts also lead the league with a 55.8% expected goals rate on the season. Over their last 15 games, the Lightning are operating at 60.2%.
It’s plain to see that the Lightning are the NHL’s best team right now and the Kings are one of the worst. At least that’s what their record says.
Under the hood, the Kings actually look competent. They rank inside the top 10 in expected goals this season and are holding strong over their last 15 games. Betting against the Lightning isn’t a fun way to spend an evening, but they are at a rest disadvantage (fourth game in six nights) and the Kings’ statistical profile is strong enough that they will almost always warrant a bet at a number this high.
And finally, Sidney Crosby returns to the lineup for the Pittsburgh Penguins (-185) against the Minnesota Wild (+155) on Tuesday night. The Pens have been nothing short of incredible this season and somehow have excelled despite injuries to Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad.
Despite their offensive firepower, the Penguins have developed into one of the league’s best defensive units. They allow just 2.03 expected goals against (5-on-5) per 60 minutes, which is good enough for third in the NHL. The only team with a better xGA/60 in the league? The Minnesota Wild.
I think the number on the Wild should continue to climb, so I’m going to wait out Sid-Mania and bet Minnesota closer to puck drop.