Today's Free Picks for
NHL Series Price
Series begins Wednesday, April 10th.
Posted on April 8th, before the 1st game of this series.
9:30 PM EST. Buried on one of the alternate networks the NHL uses for opening rounds they think no one wants to watch, the Dallas Stars will begin their first round series against the Nashville Predators on Wednesday and this is without question the biggest overlay in the first round. Dallas has a great chance to win this series for so many reasons. This isn't likely to be a sexy, high scoring series but it probably will showcase the best collection of defensemen of any series.
Nashville boasts the foursome of Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, Roman Josi, and PK Subban. Collectively they do everything exceptionally well except defend their own blueline. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that during five-on-five play, Nashville finished 17th in the league in High Danger Scoring Chances Against. Defensively, Subban is a massive liability. Offensively, the Stars are every bit the Preds equal and the proof is in the pudding. In Scoring Chances For % (SCF%), Dallas and Nashville ranked 14th and 15th in the NHL this year with almost an identical 51% mark meaning they both created as many scoring chances as they allowed. Offensively, give zero advantage to the Preds and it’s absolutely worth noting that a healthy and unleashed Mats Zuccarello gives the Stars a very underrated offensive attack.
Defensively, we also give an edge to the Stars underrated group. Esa Lindell is one of the better blueline defenders in the league and his complete lack of underlying offense probably has more to do with the fact that the Stars use him as a defensive caddy for John Klingberg. Offensively on the blueline, we’d take Klingberg 100% of the time over any of Nashville’s four. Then there’s Miro Heiskanen, who can play at both ends of the ice at a high level and that is a future all-star to be sure. Offensively, the Stars can match the Preds with two great lines and if Jamie Benn can catch fire or even produce at a more Benn-like rate, it’s going to make that Stars offense even more dangerous.
Then, of course there is the goaltending battle, which is more than likely going to be the deciding factor in this series. In that regard, we’re thrilled, as we are not coming off our position that Pekka Rinne is a liability. Rinne finished the year with a .918 save percentage. That’s not bad at all but what that doesn’t reveal is that in 20 of the 51 games he played, his save percentage was under .885. Try and find another playoff goalie that has had so many bad games this year and you’ll only find one other (Martin Jones). Rinne has great games because he’s so big and his positioning is strong but he’s so beatable and allows more soft goals than most goaltenders, which is why he gets yanked as frequently as he does. This market thinks he’s the best because the media salivates over him but we’re strongly suggesting that he’s the second best starting goaltender on the team and in this series.
Enter Ben Bishop. Bishop stopped all 24 shots he faced in Saturday's 3-0 win over the Minnesota. It was another great performance for Bishop who has really upped his game over the final stretch of the season. He has recorded six shutouts in his last 15 games, finishing the season with a 1.98 goals-against-average and a franchise record .934 save percentage. Ben Bishop is the hottest goaltender in the game right now and from where we sit, Nashville has no advantages in this series other than playoff experience. What the Preds do have is a boatload more market credibility and presence and for that, you will pay a massive premium to get behind them in this series. Huge overlay and one we expect to cash in on.
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Dallas +165 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.30)