NHL Odds & Picks: Golden Knights vs. Stars Game 3 Totals, Prop Bets (Thursday, Sept. 10)
Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Robin Lehner
- Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals gets underway tonight at 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN) between the Golden Knights and Stars.
- After each team has been shut out in one of the previous games this series, tonight's over/under sits at 5.5.
- You'll find a betting pick for that number below, as well as two other prop bets to consider for tonight's game.
Game 3 of the Western Conference Final between the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights will face-off on Thursday night (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Sure, football is back, but you definitely can’t abandon hockey at crunch time.
In a series that has already featured both goalies recording a shutout, let’s see if we can find betting angles to attack.
Total: Under 5.5 Goals
Odds: -130 (FanDuel)
Ah, the Dallas Stars of the regular season appear to be making a return. Those of us who love to bet a good under and root for gritty blocked shots, good stick-checks and nice saves have missed you.
I’m not sure what exactly happened with Dallas in the first two rounds of these playoffs. Both the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche got the Stars to open up their game and play higher-scoring, more wide-open contests. I’m even more shocked that the change in style didn’t negatively impact the Stars.
During the regular season, only one team in the league scored fewer 5v5 goals than the Stars. At the other end of the ice, only one team conceded fewer goals per game than Dallas. Trouble scoring but great at goal suppression — that is the story of the Dallas Stars.
Here in the Western Conference Finals, that style of play has made a return. These teams have combined for four goals in two games. Both teams have already been shut out by the opponent’s netminder.
Not only is goal scoring down, but the quality of chances is down too.
Through these playoffs so far, Vegas is averaging 13.8 high-danger chances per 60 minutes at 5v5. Dallas is averaging 10.7 high-danger attempts themselves. Through two games of this series, Vegas is averaging 8 high-danger chances while Dallas is only averaging 6.5.
The same can be said in regards to expected goals. Through the playoffs thus far, Vegas is averaging an expected 2.92 goals per 60, while Dallas comes in at 2.17. Through two games of this series, Vegas is at 1.99 expected goals per hour while Dallas comes in at 1.79 expected goals for.
With Robin Lehner posting shutouts in back-to-back games and in four of his last seven starts for the Golden Knights, it’s safe to say he’s in the zone and seeing the puck extremely well. Anton Khudobin did his best to keep Dallas in Game 2, stopping 24 shots through two periods. With both goaltenders seeing the puck well, scoring should be at even more of a premium.
I see no reason to believe we are going to see a sudden explosion in goals in this series. The first two games have gone well under the total and I think Game 3 will stay under 5.5 goals as well.
Dallas Stars Team Total Under 1.5
Odds: +190 (DraftKings)
As mentioned above, Dallas has rightly earned the reputation of being an offensively challenged team. Only one team scored fewer 5v5 goals during the regular season than Dallas.
The Stars had only one player crack 40 points during the regular season. Tyler Seguin hit 50 points in 69 games, but during these playoffs he’s been ineffective. He doesn’t have a point in the last six games Dallas has played. In fact, coach Rick Bowness has changed up his lines constantly and moved Seguin up and down the lineup, literally trying everything to get the talented center going.
The lack of production from Seguin has Dallas turning to two young defensemen, John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen, to generate offense. In prior series, the two did just that. In this series, Klingberg has the only Stars goal through two games. However, as defensemen, they have their work cut out for them in this series. Vegas does a great job of playing in the offensive zone which means that Heiskanen and Klingberg are exerting most of their energy trying to move the puck out of their own zone rather than focusing on leading the offense.
Robin Lehner shut out the Stars in Game 2. He did the same thing to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of that series. Lehner has developed into one of the league’s best goalies over the past two seasons after his inspirational battle with depression and alcoholism. His 23.82 goals saved above expectation number is the second-best of all goalies over the past two seasons.
Not only is Lehner great, but so are the Golden Knights at limiting high-danger chances. Vegas allowed Dallas just six high-danger chances at 5v5 in Game 2. In Game 1, a game in which Dallas outplayed Vegas, the Stars still managed only seven high-danger chances. The Stars just aren’t getting a ton of quality chances due to Vegas’ defensive prowess.
The Stars have scored only once in this series. They are sizable underdogs in a game that I think will go under the total. Vegas does great controlling the puck and playing in the offensive zone. They limit high-danger chances against. When things do break down, they have one of the best goalies in the sport to clean things up.
At +190, this is definitely a worthy shot to take.
Nicolas Roy First Goal Scorer
Odds: +2500 (DraftKings)
If you’re just looking to throw a few spare bucks on the game, you can do worse than taking a 25-1 shot on Nicolas Roy to be the first goal scorer in this game.
Roy has recently been promoted to the top six of the Vegas forward group. He played most of Game 2 on a line with Max Pacioretty and Paul Stastny. Together, the trio had an 80.2% expected-goal rate while on the ice together.
Roy is known a grinder, the former fourth-round draft pick is not known for his offensive prowess. However he did find the net five times in 28 games for Vegas this season. Over a full normal season, that prorates to 15 goals, playing in mostly a bottom-six role. Now in a situation where he’s playing with two extremely gifted offensive players and getting more minutes, his opportunity is greater.
Roy has only one goal in these playoffs but his shooting percentage is under 6%. League average is closer to 9%. He’s also put more rubber on the net in the past few games, recording two shots in two of his last three contests.
With the increased role for Roy as well the increased shooting frequency, the better linemates and the small regression that should be expected for him, I can think of worse things than laying a few shekels on 25-1 odds here.