Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals is tonight, bringing plenty of pressure and a chance to move closer to the Stanley Cup Finals. What is the best way to approach tonight's game?
Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Header links are to numberFire's betting model for each game. All NHL betting odds and totals come from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Dallas Stars at Vegas Golden Knights
Stars ML (+105)
The second Conference Finals series gets underway tonight with the Vegas Golden Knights hosting the Dallas Stars.
Both teams are known for their defense, which should lead to some lower-scoring games throughout the series, but tonight is all about the Stars' moneyline (+105).
Through the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Golden Knights have been scoring at an unsustainable rate. They found the back of the net 41 times in their 11 games while carrying a 34.55 Expected Goals Scored. It's a small sample size, but it's clear their offense is overproducing right now, which signals they are due for some negative regression.
On the Dallas side of things, their defense has been a bit lackluster in the playoffs with 40 goals allowed from only 34.33 Expected Goals allowed. This is due in large part to their goalie, Jake Oettinger, who's had his own set of struggles. In the playoffs, Oettinger has a -3.3 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx), which is the fourth-worst of any goalie that played at least one game in the playoffs.
That is a far cry from the 11.8 GSAx that Oettinger posted in the regular season, which was good for the 12th-best in the entire league. None of the 11 goalies with higher GSAx in the regular season remain in the playoffs. Based on regular-season GSAx, Oettinger is the best goalie remaining.
He's been underproducing and due for some positive regression, while the offense on the other side should see a decrease in production with their rates being unsustainable. The Stars' moneyline is the pick tonight.