NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Devils vs. Stars (January 27)
Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Oettinger.
Devils vs. Stars Odds
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Two of the NHL’s pleasant first half surprises will look to head into the break on a winning note as the fifth ranked Dallas Stars host the fourth ranked New Jersey Devils.
New Jersey is an underdog at +125, despite playing out of a tougher Eastern Conference and owning an incredible 18-3-2 record on the road this season and will likely be an enticing bet to many on that merit.
New Jersey Devils
The All-Star break may be coming at a good time for the Devils, who have put together an incredible start to the campaign but seem to be running out of gas for the time being.
New Jersey’s roster is no fluke, and the talent on board should be able to turn it around. However, it has been very clear watching Devils games recently their form is not what it was earlier this season, and their unreal recent record is not indicative of the level of play.
Before being utterly dominated in Nashville last night, the Devils had snuck off with wins in three of its four last four contests in either shootout or overtime. The Devils have gone from a team tilting the ice at even strength with a ton of players contributing to a side looking somewhat thin in some key areas and stealing points with in the novelty game settlements.
Over the last five outings, New Jersey has played to an xGF% of just 44.14. The loss of John Marino from the Devils blue-line was being effectively hidden for a while, but it has been very apparent how badly Kevin Bahl and Brendan Smith are struggling recently and a return from Marino is becoming crucial.
Vitek Vanecek has been a large part of New Jersey’s stellar month of January and enters this matchup in tremendous form. Vanecek has recorded a +8.0 GSAx rating and .916 save % throughout 31 appearances this season.
The Stars managed to tread water effectively without the services of top center Roope Hintz, who is a massive piece of the top line in hockey and Dallas top powerplay unit.
In previous years missing any piece of the Hintz, Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski trio has led to drastically reduced winning percentages. Even in a small sample, a 4-2-1 record without Hintz is a positive comment to the team’s improved depth.
Dallas has stayed the course this month with effective play in all areas of the ice and has by most accounts been the best team in the West as evidenced by its record and +50 goal differential.
The Stars own the sixth rated power play in the league and the second best penalty kill on top of that. A combined powerplay+penalty kill success rate percentage of over 100 has always been considered a benchmark which most Stanley Cup winning teams have had in common.
Dallas’ mark of 109.6% is extremely impressive, and its even strength play has also come a long ways under new coach Pete DeBoer.
The greatest key to the Stars’ second rated penalty kill is star netminder Jake Oettinger, who has followed up his otherworldly play in last years playoffs with an elite first half.
Oettinger owns a +17.5 GSAx rating and .924 save% in 37 games played this season. He has been confirmed as the Stars starter for this matchup.
Devils vs. Stars Pick
New Jersey has been controlling far less of the overall run of play for what has now become a relatively large sample size of games. Winning while allowing far more scoring chances is not a sustainable recipe moving forward, and even from a Vanecek supporter, I have a hard time accepting he is as elite as he has shown lately.
In a seven game series between these two teams, I would likely lean toward New Jersey. In this exact spot where a healthy and rested Dallas team is waiting for an out of form Devils side, I see value with the home favorite.
My expectation is that the Stars will find a way to pay off this favorable spot with a win, and I am willing to lay a unit with the Stars -145 despite the juiced price, as I predict they will win this game more than 60% of the time.
Pick: Dallas Stars -145 (Play to -150)
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