Stars vs. Predators NHL Odds & Pick: Plenty of Value on Total in Sunday Showdown (April 11)
John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros.
- The Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators battle Sunday in a crucial NHL showdown with major playoff implications.
- Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros has been great during an 11-2-1 stretch, in which Nashville has allowed a minuscule 1.57 goals against per game.
- Nicholas Martin details why he expects a low-scoring affair below.
Stars vs. Predators Odds
|Time||Sunday, 8 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Sunday morning via DraftKings.|
Nashville and Dallas will meet in a critical affair Sunday in NHL action. The Stars sit five points behind the scorching-hot Predators for the final playoff spot in the Central Division with 3 games in hand.
Things might be looking up for last year's Western Conference champion Stars, who managed a massive 4-1 win on Saturday over a very talented Florida group. Rookie Jason Robertson continues to be a great story for the Dallas, scoring his 10th and 11th goals of the season in the victory.
Robertson, Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski continue to serve as an effective makeshift top line. The trio own a 55.4 xGF% in 86.4 minutes together.
The Stars are eagerly awaiting the returns of Tyler Seguin and Alex Radulov to their top-six forward group. Both skated Saturday with the taxi squad, and seem to be trending in the right direction. Dallas has been through a lot this year, between multiple game postponements, schedule changes and a tough fight with the injury bug.
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.
The Stars still have skated to a ninth-ranked expected goals share of 51.95%, and they would currently be in the playoffs given even a .500 record in 3 on 3 and the shootout. So, there seems to be some strong indicators they aren't entirely a different team than the one we saw come up two wins short of hoisting the Stanley Cup in the playoff bubble.
Dallas has mainly played to the identity it displayed on last year's run, utilizing a smothering defense and looking to win low-scoring, tight-checking affairs. The Stars still have the second lowest xGA/60 at 1.93 in the league.
Jake Oettinger has been excellent for Dallas this season, and will likely draw the start with Anton Khudobin having played against Florida.
The Predators have been on an amazing run as of late, riding an unbelievable stretch of play from goaltender Juuse Saros during an 11-2-1 stretch in which they've allowed a minuscule 1.57 goals against per game.
The run has catapulted Nashville into playoff position, even with several important players on injured reserve, including Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg.
The Predators took a big hit Thursday, as Eeli Tolvanen was hurt against Detroit and is considered week-to-week in terms of his playing status. Tolvanen had been in a solid run of play, with 10 points in his last nine games and displaying the talent that has kept the fans anxiously awaiting his presence on the big club.
I still don't believe this team is a legitimate threat come playoff time, and it will be interesting to see if general manager David Poile feels best to find deals for expiring assets in Matthias Ekholm and Mikael Granlund before the end of Monday's trade deadline.
The Predators decided to go with Pekka Rinne on Saturday, in what was actually a strong effort, albeit a 3-0 loss to the powerful Tampa Bay Lightning. Rinne's start preserved Saros for this important contest.
I think that it was a smart move, given that the tilt with Dallas has a massive four-point potential swing in the race for the division's final playoff spot. Saros has been spectacular, with a .929 save percentage and saving 9.6 goals above expected.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Both clubs strive to play defensive-minded hockey, with each owning a bottom-five ranking in High Danger Chances for per 60 minutes and top-5 spot for lowest HDC against per 60 minutes.
In this crucial division matchup, I believe both teams will come out sharp, playing with high attention to detail defensively in what should be a very tightly contested affair.
It's commonplace to see lower over/under totals in the NHL playoffs, as checking becomes tighter and chances are harder to come by, and I am hoping we see something closer to a playoff-style game between two of the most defensive teams fighting for crucial points.
That said, prime scoring opportunities will likely be hard to come by and I think the value sits with under 5.5 goals in this important showdown.
Pick: Total Under 5.5 Goals