NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Kings vs. Stars (March 2)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Kings vs. Stars (March 2) article feature image

Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Oettinger

  • The Stars face the Kings on Wednesday night as short home favorites.
  • Jake Oettinger leads the Stars against a Kings team that has been playing stellar defense lately.
  • NHL betting analyst Nick Martin breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Kings vs. Stars Odds

Kings Odds+125
Stars Odds-145
Time8:30 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

An Edmonton Oilers win last night momentarily knocks Dallas out of the second Wild Card spot in the Western conference. The Stars will seek a crucial win at American Airlines arena on Wednesday, where they have played to a tremendous 19-7-1 record.

They will be met by a Kings team that has so far lived up the hype after what was considered by most to be a very strong offseason by GM Rob Blake. The Kings sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 65 points, four more than the Stars.

It's not out of the question that these teams could be fighting for the same playoff spot by the end of the season. Which team holds the upper hand in a crucial battle here?

Stifling Stars Defense

Dallas' recent results have gone more in line with the play traditionally seen from this team in Coach Rick Bowness' tenure, with games averaging just 4.0 combined goals over their last seven games.

The Stars have done a great job of stifling the opposition offensively, allowing just 1.85 Goals Against per game over that span. The Stars also have a strong 2.35 Expected Goals Against rate, particularly when considering they played the Avalanche twice over that span.

Jake Oettinger's emergence has been a big part of the defense's success. He has posted a .923 Save Percentage and a +5.8 Goals Saved Above Expected rating, and I expect the Stars to keep riding Oettinger Wednesday night.

Offensively the Stars haven't produced a ton of goals of late, which isn't surprising given Dallas ranks 22nd in Goals For per game.

The Stars could be candidates for positive regression in scoring, but the lack of depth behind their ridiculously strong top trio will likely never allow them to be a notable offensive juggernaut.

Quick and the Kings Look to Bounce Back

Jonathon Quick let in a complete and utter stunner to start off Monday's contest against Boston. This set the tone for a contest where seemingly everything the Bruins touched ended up in the Kings' goal, with Boston scoring 3.56 Goals Above Expected.

Even after the high scoring game Monday, the Kings still hold an excellent 2.08 Expected Goals Against per 60 rating in seven contests since the All-Star break. They have been in excellent form altogether, leading to a 7-2-1 mark over their last 10, with an excellent 58.94 Expected Goals rate.

Prior to the Boston game, Los Angeles had posted some improved offensive play, albeit against some more gettable club's with regards to goals allowed. Nonetheless, I still don't see this Kings club trending too far above their current 17th best Goals For per game rate this season.

The analytics suggest an uptick is coming, but the Kings have a below average team of finishers altogether, and that is likely part of reason for their -19.39 Goals For Above Expected rating.

We shouldn't expect them to score that far below expected this season, but I don't expect positive regression to be as significant as the numbers might suggest.

It's unclear whether we will see Todd McLellan go back to Jonathan Quick here after an off night or Cal Petersen. Most likely we will see the Kings' top netminder in Quick, who holds a +12.2 Goals Saved Above Expected rating with a .909 Save Percentage in 31 games played this season.

Kings vs. Stars Pick

The Stars' last seven games have averaged just 4.0 combined goals, with bets on the under running a 6-0-1 record over that span. When true to form, this Stars team frequently plays close, low event hockey games.

Los Angeles enters off a tough defensive performance against Boston, but the Kings have proven to be a strong defensive team this season. They should bounce back in that regard against a Stars team not offering a wealth of offensive talent.

Both of these teams are in the bottom half of the league offensively, and I like this as a spot for these middling offenses to stay under wraps. Both underwhelming offenses with face stout opposing defenses in good form, especially for Dallas with Oettinger in goal, as I expect here.

As of Tuesday night, Under 5.5 is available at +100, and I would play it down to -125.

Pick: Under 5.5 +100

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