Thursday NHL Odds, Picks and Predictions: Vegas Golden Knights vs. Dallas Stars Game 3 Preview (Sept. 10)
Bruce Bennett, Getty Images. Pictured: Rick Bowness
- The Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars battle in Game 3 of their Western Conference Finals series on Thursday.
- With the Knights entering the game as heavy favorites, Michael Leboff breaks down whether or not Vegas is worth the price.
- Check out Leboff's full betting preview below for updated odds, picks, and comprehensive analysis before the puck drops.
Game 3: Golden Knights vs. Stars Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-177 [BET NOW]|
|Stars Odds||+150 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||5.5 (+108/-132) [BET NOW]|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
After throwing up a dud in Game 1, the Vegas Golden Knights were all sorts of dominant in their 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night. What was especially impressive is how Vegas defended at 5-on-5, limiting Dallas to just 1.36 expected goals and six high-danger chances on 33 shot attempts.
The win moved the Knights from -125 to -250 to win the Western Conference Finals.
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.
This series looks pretty close across the board through two games, but I’m more inclined to draw a line through Vegas’ Game 1 performance as an outlier.
The Knights led the NHL with a 56.5% expected goals rate during the regular season and are setting the pace in the bubble at 62.5%, so I’m OK calling their series-opening loss a dud and moving on. It’s unlikely they’ll play that poorly again in this series.
It’s also worth noting how well Vegas has played defensively. The Knights are known as a team that likes to push play forward, willing to take risks and make mistakes because they know they’ll create enough chances to make up for in-game lapses, but that hasn’t really been the case in the Western Conference Finals. Vegas has thrown some cold water on Dallas’ previously red-hot offense.
|5-on-5 Stat||Golden Knights||Stars|
|High-danger scoring chances||16||13|
The market movement for this series has been pretty predictable. After losing Game 1 as -175 favorites, the Knights dipped to -165 for Game 2. A comprehensive win has boosted Vegas back up to -177 as of late Wednesday night.
I’d be pretty surprised if these odds take off in either direction ahead of puck drop, but if they do move, I’d guess we’d see them nudge towards the Knights.
Game 3 Betting Pick
I expect Vegas will win this series, but judging by how the first three games were priced, I am prepared to back Dallas each time these two teams step out on the ice. I’d need the Knights to get below -140 to have a bet on them, and barring something crazy, that number just isn’t going to come.
It isn’t fun to back the team that is more likely to lose each night, but that’s betting on the NHL for you. It’s a real joy sometimes, let me tell you.
The Knights are the better team and have the potential to blow the Stars out, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a path to success for Rick Bowness’ team. Dallas’ defense has, for the most part, held up its end of the bargain against Vegas. That’s a good sign, even if we’ve yet to see Vegas’ best effort in this series.
Even though the Stars were winning high-scoring games in the first two rounds, they’re best suited in low-event hockey games, especially against Vegas. It looks like the Stars are getting back to that defense-first identity, and that’s good news if you’re looking to suffer through a bet on Dallas in Game 3.
The listed odds imply that Vegas has a 61.5% chance to win Game 3. I think that’s a bit high. The Knights may be the better team, but this isn’t a mismatch. I’d play Dallas at +145 or better.