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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Stars vs. Sharks (December 31)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Stars vs. Sharks (December 31) article feature image
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Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jason Robertson

Stars vs. Sharks Odds

Stars Odds -245
Sharks Odds +198
Over/Under 6.5 (+104/-128)
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV BSSWX
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

After losing five of their past six games, the San Jose Sharks look to end the year on a happy note against the Stars in Dallas. It hasn’t been a great year for the Sharks as they have the fourth-worst record in the league. However, a handful of players are enjoying successful statistical seasons.

The Dallas Stars are an absolute wagon and boast the fourth-best record in the league. The Stars are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games and are also riding a three-game winning streak.

Will the Sharks get back on track, or does Dallas send its fans home happy to end the new year? Let’s look at the odds and come up with a betting prediction.

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San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks are still learning a ton about themselves, but have continued to get incredible production out of their veterans. Erik Karlsson is reminding everyone who he is with 50 points in 37 games. Meanwhile, both Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier are also producing at a point-per-game pace. Captain Logan Couture is also having himself a decent year with 30 points.

The Sharks are not a great team at even strength. They have a 21st-ranked expected goals rate (49.3 xGF%), but what’s surprising is that they generate 10.4 high-danger chances, which is exceptional. Having the man advantage is beneficial as San Jose scores 23.1% of the time on the power play.

When I look at the charts, it’s actually a shame the Sharks aren’t more successful, given their excellent defensive numbers. They only allow 2.57 xGA/60 and have the league’s best penalty kill with an 85% success rate.

What’s really stifling them is poor goaltending. I would expect James Reimer to take the net Saturday since Kaapo Kahkonen played unsuccessfully on Thursday. Reimer is a decent netminder, but should hardly be relied upon as a number one. His numbers are underwhelming as he’s played to a -5.3 goals saved above expected (GSAx) and an .898 SV%.


Dallas Stars

The Stars could well be on their way to becoming one of the league’s great teams for the next couple years. This team is stacked and it all starts with superstar Jason Robertson. The 23-year-old is shattering the point-per-game pace with 52 points in 37 games. Roope Hintz, with 41 points in 36 games, is also performing well. Captain Jamie Benn has had a resurgent season and wily vet Joe Pavelski is maintaining steady production at the age of 38.

It’s been a great year for the Stars, and it’s shown in the charts. They own a top-10 even strength attack with a 5.87 xGF% and generate 10.3 high-danger chances per game. With a sniper like Robertson, Dallas also owns the fifth-best power play, scoring at nearly a 28% pace.

This is about as even a defensive matchup as you’re going to get. The Stars are just above their counterparts, allowing 2.49 xGA/60 and a stifling penalty kill at 83.2%.

Jake Oettinger is an alien and he’s playing as such. The Minnesota native is playing to incredible numbers with +8.6 GSAx and a .920 SV%. There is, however, a chance backup Scott Wedgewood plays Saturday since he hasn’t played in two weeks. Wedgewood has been a solid number two, playing to a +4.1 GSAx and a .910 SV%. Both netminders give the Stars a great chance to win.


Stars vs. Sharks Pick

I fully expect this to be a high-scoring game, which is why I’m targeting the over. With the firepower on both Dallas and San Jose, this could be a snipe-fest. Both teams have exceptional defenses, but the Sharks’ goaltending is a problem.

With guys like Robertson and Hintz, along with playmakers such as Miro Heiskanen, I can certainly see a scenario where the Stars net at least four goals.

I think the Sharks have the potential to net a few goals as well, especially if Wedgewood takes the net. I like Wedgewood as a goalie, but he’s nowhere near the stalwart Oettinger is. Perhaps coach Pete DeBoer will look to the backup and give his top goalie a rest against a bottom-tier team.

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