NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Stars vs. Sharks
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Pavelski of the Dallas Stars.
- The Dallas Stars head to California on Wednesday to take on the San Jose Sharks in NHL action.
- Despite a huge difference in record, the Stars are favorites of only around -160 over the Sharks.
- Check out how Nick Martin is betting Wednesday night's NHL showdown below.
Stars vs. Sharks Odds
|Over/Under||6 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Western Conference-leading Dallas Stars head to San Jose on Wednesday for a date with the Sharks, who sit 23rd overall in the NHL standings.
At -160, Dallas is priced surprisingly close to San Jose considering the gulf between these teams’ actual results, so the Stars will likely take an alarmingly high percentage of the overall bets at that number.
We’ll explore a number of reasons why this might be priced closer than you would expect below.
Dallas has displayed some of the more well-rounded play in the West and currently paces the conference at 26-12-7 with a +37 goal differential.
Jake Oettinger has thrived behind the team’s very sharp defensive play. He’s been on an absolute tear of late, which has pushed his goals saved above expected rating to +17.6, with a .926 save percentage.
This could be a spot for Dallas to turn to Scott Wedgewood, as the Stars play a far tougher matchup tomorrow in Los Angeles and will not use Oettinger in both games.
Defensively, the Stars project as a likely candidate to dominate all season long, and their seventh-best 2.83 xGA/60 over the last 10 games illustrates elite recent form.
Offensively, Dallas has been generating a lot of quality looks and scoring at a high clip. In a small sample size, it’s been getting by without Roope Hintz, who remains day-to-day.
Whether or not the Stars can continue to produce offence at such a rate remains to be seen, especially with Hintz out.
Hintz, Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski continue to create the vast majority of the offense and have been truly incredible to this point. At the same time, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin have enjoyed meaningful bounce-backs.
It seems possible that Dallas could take a step back offensively over a larger sample size, as this roster may not be so far-and-away improved over an 82-game sample compared to last season.
San Jose Sharks
Based sheerly on its expected goals ratings, San Jose has arguably been the most underrated side in the entire NHL this season. So, what’s causing the 28th-ranked 13-23-9 record thus far?
First and foremost, Kaapo Kahkonen owns a -19.8 goals saved above expected rating in just 18 appearances, which is the lowest mark in the league. His save percentage, meanwhile, sits at just .870.
James Reimer hasn’t been great, but his -8.3 GSAx rating and .895 save percentage in 24 games actually offer massive upgrades in comparison. Reimer is expected to start Wednesday.
Offensively, San Jose has not finished off chances at a high rate and enters this matchup with a -10.27 goals for above expected rating as a team.
It’s easy to make the case that the Sharks are skating far less scoring talent than most sides, which is not reflected in xG data. Expected goals models use a sample of all chances league-wide from each location of the ice to create a percentage rating of each chance to score depending on location, shot type and several other factors.
When a team features few potent shooters and playmakers, it can cause a side to become overrated by xG. With very few changes to the roster, San Jose scored -11.36 goals for above expected a season ago. I believe that rating speaks more to a lack of talent on the roster than bad luck.
Defensively, San Jose has been extremely solid recently. Over the last 10 games, the Sharks’ 2.89 xGA/60 qualifies as the 10th-best mark in the entire league.
Playing a low-event style is likely the right idea from head coach David Quinn, but it’s not likely that San Jose overcomes league-worst goaltending with its lack of scoring ability.
Stars vs. Sharks Pick
San Jose has quietly played a far sharper defensive game than goals against numbers would state. In fact, it’s analytically one of the better sides in that regard. The addition of Reimer tonight should help reflect that compared to Kahkonen’s starts.
The Stars play very sharp defense as a team and should be capable of keeping a thin San Jose offensive corps in check.
San Jose’s recently high game total average may be hiding just how low-event its games have been. Those averages are bound to regress downward, and this matchup against Dallas is a good spot to target that angle.
The fact that recent Sharks games have been more high-scoring than expected means the under 6 should stay around -105, which is where I see value.
Waiting to bet this line (or the Stars) makes sense, as I do think this sets up as a spot for a potential surprise start for Wedgewood.
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