Saturday NHL Odds & Pick for Golden Knights vs. Sharks: Betting Value on Vegas Team Total (Feb. 13)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, and Alec Martinez.
- The San Jose Sharks host the Vegas Golden Knights for a Saturday afternoon tilt.
- It's a significant mismatch, with Vegas looking at a deep postseason run and San Jose sitting near the bottom of the standings.
- Despite the mismatch, you can find value in betting with the Knights on Saturday.
Golden Knights vs. Sharks Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-175|
|Over/Under||6.5 (+100 / -122)|
|Day | Time||Saturday, 4 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via DraftKings.|
The Vegas Golden Knights enter this game in first place in the NHL’s West Division in terms of point percentage. Their loss on Thursday snapped a five-game winning streak, but Vegas is still among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.
It’s no surprise to see them as rather large favorites against the San Jose Sharks. San Jose has won just five of its first 12 games. With the -186 moneyline being rather prohibitive, is there a better way to bet on the favorite here?
Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights have an 8-2-1 record through their first 11 games, and their start shows why they are expected to make a deep run in the postseason.
Vegas has a +0.91 goal differential per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, which is the sixth-best mark in the league. This matches up well with their expected goals (xG), as Vegas has a 54.9% xG-rate which is also 6th best.
Vegas is solid at both ends of the puck, ranking sixth in xG-against and 11th in xG-scored. The Golden Knights also rank top six in scoring chances, shot attempts and high danger chances.
At all strengths, Vegas is top five in goals against per game and top 10 in goals scored per game. Whether you want to evaluate the Golden Knights analytically or focus on their results, they are extremely solid.
Offensively, the team is led by Mark Stone. Stone is one of the better two-way players in the sport and he’s started the season by putting up 15 points in 11 games. Max Pacioretty leads the team in goals and is producing at a point-per-game pace.
Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo are two of the best defensemen in hockey, so it’s no surprise to see Vegas playing so well in its own zone. Pietrangelo has taken a little longer to get acclimated to his new team, but Theodore is producing at a point-per-game clip.
Marc-Andre Fleury has had a bounce-back beginning to this season after losing his crease to Robin Lehner down the stretch and in the postseason last year. Fleury has posted a +2.7 goals saved above expectation (GSAx) through six games. He might be needed more often, as Lehner did not dress for Vegas’ last game due to an upper-body injury.
San Jose Sharks
After almost two decades of competitive hockey, the San Jose Sharks sunk to the bottom of the standings last year. Unfortunately, it looks like this team’s glory years are in the past.
The Sharks issues start and end with their inability to keep the puck out of the net. They currently rank third from the bottom in goals against per game, with their opponents scoring 3.75 times a night and 3.28 goals against per 60-minutes at 5-on-5. Their expected goals against and high danger chances against both rank bottom five in the league.
When the Sharks decided to enter this season with a goaltending tandem of Martin Jones and Devan Dubnyk, many immediately predicted pain for Sharks fans. To this point, they have been right. Jones has posted a -7.35 GSAx mark, which is the fourth-worst in the league. Dubnyk has been better, but still not good, posting a -1.1 GSAx mark himself.
The Sharks rank in the bottom-10 of the league in terms of xG-rate and high danger chances percentage. If you have good goaltending, you can survive being a below average team in those facets. Unfortunately, the Sharks definitely do not have good goaltending.
While the Sharks have some good offensive pieces like Logan Couture, Timo Meier, Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl, their offense is not good enough to outscore their defensive woes. Their offense ranks middle of the pack in terms of expected-goals scored, but it’s not translating to many wins.
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Betting Analysis & Pick
What we have here is a classic elite team against a bad team matchup. They happen almost every night in the NHL. We know we can’t lay the juice on the good team and expect to come out ahead in the long run. We also know that betting the bad team is painful and can lead to excessive alcohol consumption.
Therefore, we try to find other ways to get involved in the game.
In this game, my favorite way to do that is with the Vegas team total.
Vegas will spend most of the game in the offensive zone against almost any team they play. They generate chances at a high rate. When you combine this with the fact that the Sharks are not very good at defending, it should lead to Vegas skating circles in the Sharks’ zone.
If there’s a weakness on this Golden Knights’ team, it’s probably their finishing ability. However, with San Jose’s goaltending, I’m not too worried about that.
Pick: Vegas Team Total Over 3.5 (-122)