Sharks vs. Stars Odds, Picks, Predictions: Dallas’ Emerging Defense Should Limit Scoring (April 16)
Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Oettinger.
- The Stars are home favorites against the Sharks on Saturday night.
- The Stars have started to play more to their normal defensive identity recently, which could yield value on the under.
- Nick Martin breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Sharks vs. Stars Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
With the Golden Knights sitting just two points away in the Western Conference Wild Card race, the Stars need two points here against a lowly Sharks team that has lost eight consecutive games.
The Sharks offense enters this one ice-cold and will face a Stars club starting to play more to its defensive identity down the stretch. Could this total possibly be a little inflated?
Sharks Looking to Snap Losing Streak
The Sharks never had the look of an offensive juggernaut this season, and as expected, they enter this one with one of the league’s worst Goals For per game averages (2.58).
Consequently, the lack of production has been a big concern over the club’s losing streak. San Jose has scored just 2.22 Goals For per game over its eight-game slide. A 2.71 xGF/60 rate suggests the Sharks could fare somewhat better in that regard, but the roster altogether yields too many below-average scoring talents.
Defensively, the Sharks have scuffled as well of late, allowing 3.50 Goals Against per game with a high xGA/60 rate of 3.83. However this could set up as a good spot for the Sharks to hide that flaw, as I do feel they can see the weaker middle six allow fewer chances against than usual in some of the matchups they will face Saturday.
We could see Kaapo Kahkonen get the start for San Jose here, and his confirmation will be something to watch for after the morning skate on Saturday.
Kahkonen has been sharp since arriving in San Jose at the trade deadline, with a .911 Save Percentage in five games played with the Sharks. Altogether this season, he has played to a +2.8 Goals Saved Above Expected rating with a .911 Save Percentage in 31 games.
Stars Defense Stepping Up
As they chase down a return to the postseason, we have seen the Stars play more to the style we have come to expect during Rick Bowness’ tenure as head coach.
The Stars are usually more of a defensive-minded club, and at times it has been surprising how they have gotten away from that style this season.
Offensively, the Stars are reliant on the top trio of Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz, and Joe Pavelski to carry most of the load. The Stars have scored just 2.88 Goals For per game this season, which ranks 20th in the NHL.
We have seen Dallas contests start to trend lower, averaging 5.5 combined goals over the last 11 games, with the under going 8-3-0 during that time.
That is more the nature of what we should expect from Stars contests down the stretch. The main outliers over that span have come against Toronto and Chicago, who seem to find their way into those shootouts nearly every game.
Jake Oettinger will likely start in goal for Dallas and has been very solid this season with a +2.0 GSAx rating and a .914 Save Percentage in 42 games this season.
Sharks vs. Stars Pick
This spot should allow for what could be a quietly competitive game, and my expectation is that the Sharks will pull together with a stronger defensive effort as they seek to end an embarrassing losing streak.
The Stars only hold one notably capable unit offensively, and I think we can see the Sharks keep them to a reasonable offensive output. The struggling Sharks offense also shouldn’t score often.
The 5-4 game on April 2nd between these two doesn’t have me overly concerned about betting the under here. That game still saw just 5.40 Expected Goals, and I think it’s likely in this spot we see a lower scoring, tightly contested affair.
There’s value at -125 for the game total to stay Under 6 and would play this down to -135.
Pick: Under 6 -125 (DraftKings) | Bet down to -135
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