NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Kraken vs. Stars (Jan. 12)

NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Kraken vs. Stars (Jan. 12) article feature image

Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Pavelski.

  • The Stars are a huge home favorite on Wednesday night against the Kraken.
  • Seattle is struggling mightily, while Dallas is fighting for its playoff life.
  • Carol Schram breaks down the matchup and makes her betting pick below.

Kraken vs. Stars Odds

Kraken Odds+170
Stars Odds-200
Time8:30 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

In the midst of a tough three-game road trip, the Seattle Kraken will face the Dallas Stars for the first time in their franchise history on Wednesday night at the American Airlines Center.

Both sides will be looking to get back into the win column after blown third-period leads turned into regulation losses in their previous outings.

The outlook on this game is pretty straightforward: Though heavily favored, the value lies on the home side.

Let's break down why.

Things Heading Downhill for Kraken

Early-season struggles have snowballed for the Kraken. The NHL's newest expansion team has just two wins since the beginning of December and is now mired in last place in the Pacific Division.

Seattle's record over that stretch is 2-7-3. The Kraken's last point came on Dec. 29. And all those promising early possession numbers that suggested they'd eventually start seeing better results have not proved to be as prophetic as Ron Francis and his staff had hoped.

Goaltending remains the No. 1 problem for the Kraken. Philipp Grubauer's -23.5 goals saved above expected is by far the worst in the NHL. That's nearly twice as poor as second-worst stopper, Kevin Lankinen of the Chicago Blackhawks (-12.8).

Seattle has allowed the third-most goals per game (3.68), nearly a full goal a game more than they score (2.79). And now, while their basic possession numbers at 5-on-5 are still decent, the Kraken have sunk to 24th overall in expected goal percentage (47.40%) and 28th in high-danger goal percentage.

After more than a week off due to game postponements, the Kraken kicked off their current road trip on Monday in Denver, with a tough matchup against the Colorado Avalanche. They started off with good energy, and were able to take a 3-1 lead into the late stages of the second period. Then, the Avalanche started another one of their patented comebacks, leaving former Colorado goaltender Grubauer and his teammates without even a loser point to show for their efforts.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Seattle has no players in Covid protocol, but two important forwards are on the injured list. Jaden Schwartz is expected to be out for four to six weeks after undergoing hand surgery last week, and Brandon Tanev is out for the season after ACL surgery.

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Stars Thriving in Playoff Push

Every point counts right now for the Stars, who are already in a dogfight for a playoff spot among a large group of teams in the Western Conference.

For Dallas, those playoff hopes are fueled by a superb home record, now 13-3-1. Dating back to before the holiday back, the Stars have won four games in a row on home ice. On Sunday, they had a 1-0 third-period lead on the road against the St. Louis Blues before a pair of penalties and two Blues goals in the last 47 seconds of the game turned an outright win into a regulation loss, and no points in the standings.

That explains why an emotional Rick Bowness tried to smash a stick on the bench after the game — an outburst that earned the head coach a $25,000 fine from the league.

Overall, the Stars are sitting four games above .500 for the season. They land in the middle of the pack in most key statistical categories — except for their  strong power play, which ranks sixth overall at 25.8%.

On home ice, everything gets better. Dallas ranks sixth in home goals, ninth in goals against and second on the power play — although their penalty kill is still middling at an 80% success rate, as we saw against the Blues on Sunday.

The poster child for this discrepancy is sophomore scorer Jason Robertson. Twenty-one of his 30 points have come on home ice so far this season.

Robertson is red hot, period, with 10 points in his last seven games. He's also on the NHL's longest current home points streak, which is now at 10 games. And he's tied for the Stars' team scoring lead with 37-year-old Joe Pavelski, who continues to produce at nearly a point-a-game pace.

After starting the season with a complicated crease situation, Dallas eventually pared that down to a tandem of Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger. Both have been delivering reliable starts, but Oettinger's record of 8-2-0 tidily outshines Holtby's 6-8-1.

Holtby was placed in Covid protocol on Tuesday, along with forward Denis Gurianov. That suggests that Oettinger will get the nod against the Kraken, with Anton Khudobin recalled from the AHL's Texas Stars to back him up.

Kraken vs. Stars Pick

After the blown lead in St. Louis on Sunday, and with a pair of tough back-to-back road games against Florida and Tampa Bay set for this weekend, Dallas desperately needs the two points that will be available against the Kraken on Wednesday.

Desire, of course, is not enough to win hockey games. But when you combine the Stars' home-ice mastery with Seattle's continuing struggles, that should set the stage for a relatively straightforward win for the favorites. As much as anything is ever straightforward in the unpredictable NHL, anyway.

At -200, the oddsmakers are giving the Stars a hefty 66.67% chance of victory in this game. It's the smart bet, but it doesn't make for much of a payout for bettors.

Boost your potential winnings by backing the Stars for a regulation win.

Pick: Stars moneyline (-200) or Stars in regulation

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