Today's Free Picks for
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Posted at 6:00 PM EST.
Vegas -½ +146 over Dallas
8:35 PM EST. Regulation, only. The Stars carry much pressure into this game tonight, as not only do they have their own playoff chances to worry about, but they are also on the hook for the postseason prospects of the Predators and Kings as well (all three will clinch a spot with a Stars’ win in regulation). This market loves a “must-win game” and they appear to smell blood in the water, as the Golden Knights are also hanging on by just a thread.
If the pressure to clinch wasn’t enough to have the Stars’ gripping their sticks then perhaps their rather mediocre play of late will be enough for us to cash this ticket. Dallas was outshot by the Kraken on Saturday night, but won 3-2, they were a -275 favorite by the way in what was pretty much a 50/50 game according to the analytics. They were spanked by Calgary last Thursday (4-2, but that score flatters the Stars) as they were outshot and outchanced badly. The Stars suffered a similar fate against Edmonton (5-2) and Vancouver (6-2) last Wednesday and Monday, respectively. In fact, the Stars have not been the better team on the ice in almost two weeks, with their last “good” game being played against the Wild (ironically, Dallas lost that one) on April 14.
Vegas is a different story, as the Knights are going to need a little help along the way. We doubt the players in the Vegas locker room are unaware of the hill that must be climbed and we also doubt they’ve forgotten the sick feeling in the pits of their stomachs after blowing a two-goal lead at home against San Jose on Sunday night. Vegas swung for the fences in trading for Jack Eichel. Management has stacked this roster with talent. They've finessed every inch of fine print to circumvent salary-cap constraints. To have all that effort and excellence add up to nothing would be disastrous but there is no question in our minds which team is more talented. Vegas figures to leave nothing on the table here.
The Knights were outplayed by San Jose and they even outshot the Sharkies 6-1 in overtime. It didn't matter. That’s been the story of Vegas’ last four games. They’ve played as well as one could want, but only went 1-3, also losing games to New Jersey (April 18) and Edmonton (April 16), before bouncing back with a win over Washington last Wednesday. Had one of two bounces led to another win or two, the Knights would control their destiny. Hockey is a cruel game. Misery loves company and so if the prospect of a playoff position wasn’t enough to have the Knights chomping at the bit to get back on the ice, the chance to make life much more difficult for three other Western Conference foes will do it.
Vegas -½ +146 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.92)