Free Picks: Dallas Stars vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning vs Stars NHL week 17
Dallas Stars vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL, Amalie Arena

The Dallas Stars (21-17-14) are a wounded team as they come into Tampa (35-14-3) on a four-game losing streak. The Stars have chosen a bad time to hit a major slump. They have only four games left and are four points behind Nashville for the final playoff spot in the Central Division. Tampa is 7-2-1 in its last 10 games, while Dallas is 5-3-2.

The Dallas Stars are running out of time

For my Betpicks predictions, I think Tampa wins this one, the first of a two-game set, 3-1 because they are so good at home (20-6-0).

Dallas forward Tyler Seguin (hip surgery) returned Monday after missing the first 51 games and scored the game-tying goal late against Florida in a 5-4 loss. Tampa will be without forward Steven Stamkos.

Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin allowed four goals on 15 shots on Monday before being replaced by Jake Oettinger, who made 27 saves. 

Tampa goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was given the weekend off for additional rest. Against Dallas, Vasilevskiy is 5-1 with a 1.32 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage with three shutouts.

Khudobin is 0-3 against Tampa this season with a 3.04 GAA and a weak .867 save percentage. Oettinger is 1-1 against Tampa with a 2.39 GAA and .916 save percentage. 

The NHL odds favor Tampa at home, but Dallas is desperate and looking to end a four-game losing streak. 

The Lightning are rested, coming off a 2-1 victory against Detroit on Sunday. Tampa leads the season series 5-1 and has outscored Dallas 19-8, with three shutouts. Tampa is still a favorite in the NHL Stanley Cup odds, but their offense has hit a snag lately.

Money Line

Dallas (+135). Bet $100 to win $135. 

Tampa (-165). Bet $165 to win $100. 

Taking Dallas is risky (implied odds 42%), so go lightly. For my Free Picks, I am taking Tampa with the Money Line (implied odds 62%) for a smaller payout. 

Against the Spread/ATS

Dallas +1.5 (-201). Tampa -1.5 (+156)

A risky bet is taking Tampa with the Puck Line (implied odds 39%) considering that only three of their six head-to-head meetings were won by Tampa by a margin of at least two goals. But if you think Dallas can keep this close, taking the Stars with the Puck Line (implied odds 66%) seems like a safe bet.

Over/Under 5.5

 Over (+105), Under (-133)

I would lean toward the Under (implied odds 57%) because Tampa’s offense isn’t what it once was and Dallas has had trouble scoring all season. But take the Over (implied odds 48%) if you think that Tampa will exploit Dallas’ weak goaltending of late.

Stats

  • Dallas is 1-4 SU in their last five games.
  • The total has gone Under in 10 of Dallas’ last 15 games as the underdog.
  • Tampa has gone 5-1 SU in their last six games.
  • Tampa is 14-12 ATS at home.

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I live in the land of ice and snow in Toronto, Canada's largest city. I can't skate very well, but I know sports, especially hockey, after a long career writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs and other teams at the country's largest newspaper, the Toronto Star. Betting on sports can be a rewarding experience when you understand the trends and underlying characteristics of the teams and players before laying down a bet. That's how I hope to point you in the right direction.