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Wild vs Stars Odds, Game 1 Prediction | NHL Betting Preview (Monday, April 17)

Wild vs Stars Odds, Game 1 Prediction | NHL Betting Preview (Monday, April 17) article feature image
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Sam Hodde/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn

  • The Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars kick off their NHL postseason with tonight's Central Division Game 1 matchup.
  • The Stars are favored, but the betting value in this matchup could be in the total.
  • Read below as Grant White shares his two favorite Wild vs. Stars bets, including a juicy overtime play.

Wild vs. Stars Game 1 Odds

Wild Odds+125
Stars Odds-145
Over/Under5.5 (-105 /-115)
Time9:30 p.m. ET
TVESPN2
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The puck drops on the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday with the Central Division matchup between the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars taking center stage.

This series could have gone in any direction; the Wild, Stars and Colorado Avalanche were neck and neck until the regular season’s final days.

Alas, the Avs claimed the division crown on the last day of the regular season, relegating the Stars and Wild to the divisional series. Both teams prioritize defense, meaning goals could be hard to come by in this one.

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A Tamer Minnesota Wild 

As usual, the Wild have achieved success with one of the stoutest defensive systems in the league. Minnesota allowed the second-fewest high-danger chances this season while limiting opponents to the seventh-fewest scoring opportunities.

That had a profound impact on goaltending, with Wild goalies combining for the second-best save percentage at five-on-five and the third-best overall.

Moreover, Minnesota isn’t the type of team to push the pace offensively. The Wild are content to sit back and be opportunistic with their chances. Minny ranked in the bottom 10 in high-danger chances, attempting 8.6 per game. They lowered the bar toward the end of the season, dropping their average to 7.6 over the final nine regular season contests.

Predictably, the Wild played some of the lowest-scoring games on the season. Minny finished the season 34-44-4 to the over, for an under rate of 56.1%.

That’s a trend we’re expecting to continue in the postseason as the Wild maintain their standard against the Stars. Minnesota held Dallas to nine or fewer high-danger chances in three of its four meetings this year. Not surprisingly, these teams fell below the total in all but one of those contests.


Defense, Goaltending Combine for Dallas Stars

The Stars have employed a similar defensive standard this year. Dallas ranked top seven in scoring and high-danger chances allowed, finishing the year third and seventh, respectively.

Further, they tidied up play in their defensive zone to end the season, improving their already impressive standing.

Over the final 10 games of the season, the Stars held their opponents to an average of 5.6 high-danger and 15.1 scoring opportunities. Dallas was impenetrable in virtually every contest, holding teams to seven or fewer quality chances in all but one contest and 20 or fewer scoring opportunities each time out.

As expected, that helped the Stars go on a 5-4-1 run to the under over the 10-game sample.

Like the Wild, the improved defensive structure contributed to solid goaltending metrics. Jake Oettinger started 61 games for Dallas this year, posting career-best metrics in save percentage, goals saved above average, and adjusted goals against average, finishing top seven among all NHL goalies in each category. That makes it hard for the Wild to gain any traction offensively.


Wild vs. Stars Pick

The Stars and Wild both prioritize defense. Dallas has played a suffocating brand of hockey to end the campaign, correlating with lower-scoring games. Likewise, Minnesota leans into its structure, insulating its netminders and forcing teams to exhaust themselves in the attacking zone. Even when attempts filter through on either end, shooters have to deal with some of the sharpest goalies in the league.

However, in a defensive battle such as the one that is anticipated in Game 1, it will be hard for either team to pull away. We’re betting these teams need longer than 60 minutes to determine a winner, and we’re backing the 60-minute draw at its current offering.

The Picks: Under 5.5 (-120 at DraftKings) | 60-minute draw (+340 at FanDuel)

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