Stars vs. Predators Odds
|Time||Saturday, 7 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings|
There are only two more weeks remaining in the regular season and for the most part there isn’t much drama or intrigue about which teams will qualify for the playoffs in each division. Six points separate the fourth and fifth seeds in the East and North Divisions, while the Blues have now built up a five-point lead over Arizona in the West.
Fortunately, there is one tight race to monitor down the stretch and it’s in the Central Division. The Dallas Stars have fought themselves to within two points of the Nashville Predators for the last playoff spot in the Central and the Stars still have a game in hand. The two teams face-off on Saturday night in Tennessee and bookmakers have this one lined as a virtual pick’em.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
Are These Teams Equals?
While the standings may say these teams are nearly identical, I don’t think that’s the case.
The Dallas Stars went on a surprise run to the Stanley Cup Final last season, and while I don’t think they’re as good as that would suggest, I do count Dallas as one of the stronger teams in the NHL. The Stars have the sixth-best expected goals rate in the NHL at 53.7%, they rank fourth in high-danger chance percentage and seventh in shot attempt share. In other words, Dallas is still one of the best teams in the league at controlling play at 5-on-5.
The Stars may be the best defensive team in the NHL. The Stars allow the fewest expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 and only Carolina has a better goals against average at 5-on-5 this season.
On the flipside, the Nashville Predators are an average team that is riding the wave of goaltending provided by Juuse Saros. Nashville has an expected goal rate below 50% and allows more shot attempts per game than they attempt themselves. Neither side of the puck is particularly exceptional for the Preds, as they rank 17th in expected goals against and 19th in expected goals created.
Stars vs. Predators Best Bet
At this point, this game could very well decide who makes the playoffs this season. If you asked me that question straight up, I would say the Dallas Stars will sneak in over Nashville.
At this pick’em price, I think the better team is worthy of a bet in this huge game.
Pick: Dallas Stars (-108)