NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Stars vs. Predators (Feb. 24)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Stars vs. Predators (Feb. 24) article feature image

Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Seguin #91 of the Dallas Stars.

  • The Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators meet on Thursday in a crucial matchup between division rivals.
  • The Stars are underdogs (+130) on the second night of a back-to-back, but we're eyeing the over/under.
  • NHL betting analyst Nicholas Martin breaks down the matchup and how he plans to bet this game below.

Stars vs. Predators Odds

Stars Odds+130
Predators Odds-150
Time8:30 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Dallas Stars have continued to slowly track down the Nashville Predators in the Central Division standings, and now sit just four points back with two games in hand after taking another step in the right direction with last night's 3-2 overtime win of the Jets.

The playoffs are far from a lock for Nashville. Will they be able to manage a huge win here in a crucial division showdown? Let's take a look at both sides in this matchup to see where we can find some betting value.

Is the Dallas Offense Turning a Corner?

Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn broke through with five combined points Wednesday night, in a game where Dallas finally saw its ridiculously dominant top trio of Joe Pavelski, Roope Hintz, and Jason Robertson post little with regards to production.

Should those two be able to chip in more offensively, it could offer a massive boost to a Stars team that ranks tied for 20th in offensive output with 2.86 goals for per game.

Dallas has managed a notably high xGF/60 rate of 3.14 over its past eight contests, and the offense has shown strong flashes over that span, averaging 3.0 goals per game having faced some elite defensive competition. The stronger offensive form is probably flying a little under the radar entering this one because the Stars hit a wall over the weekend for two games in Chicago and Arizona.

Defensively the Stars have posted slightly above average play of late, which has surely been magnified by the excellent form of Jake Oettinger. He has been on a tremendous run and to the eye appears to be the Stars' better net-minding option by a wide margin.

Braden Holtby started the season with far better results than we have seen over three poor recent seasons, but is starting to tail off now holding a -1.4 goals saved above expected rating and a .912 Save Percentage. He will be tasked with this start here on the second night of a back-to-back set.

Nashville is Slipping Defensively

Over the Predators past seven games, their traditionally strong defensive play has quietly fallen to a very poor level, allowing a league-leading xGA/60 rate of 3.88 and 3.85 goals per game where it matters, including four goals in a loss to these very Stars two weeks ago.

The Predators covered that concern last time out in Florida with a big offensive outburst in the team's 6-5 win, and the surprising offensive depth offered from the Predators this season has helped them to produce an above average goals for per game rate of 3.10.

At their heart, coach John Hynes' team surely does figure to be more defensive minded, but the results simply have not gone that way of late, with the Predators averaging combined game totals of 6.75 over a reasonable sample size of eight games.

Juuse Saros should get the start here looking to fare better after a stretch of rough outings results wise, mainly caused by some lesser defensive play from his club in front of goal.

Altogether this season Saros has been tremendous yet again, posting a +17.2 goals saved above expected rating with a .921 Save Percentage throughout 42 games played.

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Stars vs. Predators Pick

Both of these team's always figured to offer more defensive game-play this season, but neither have consistently played lower event hockey of late. With that in mind, 5.5 goals here seems too low, particularly with my belief that Holtby offers a notable drop-off compared to Oettinger in the Stars crease.

Even though Nashville will surely trend upwards defensively to an extent in the long term, their recent play has simply been so poor that it can't see them entirely shutting down a Stars team that is creating scoring chances at an effective rate recently, and appears due for some positive offensive regression.

However, offensively, the Predators' play has remained more steady, and this sets up as a good spot to keep that trend up, catching the Stars on a back-to-back and with Holtby in goal.

Fewer and fewer games have warranted a total of 5.5 this season, and I'm not sure this one does either. I am happy to back the over 5.5 at -110 in a spot where both team's have logical arguments as to why they can create some offense.

Pick: Over 5.5 -110 (Play to -130)

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