NHL Betting Guide: Tuesday 8/11/20

Anton Khudobin has backstopped the Dallas Stars to some low-scoring games this season. Does that trend continue Tuesday afternoon?

Welcome to the Conference Quarterfinals! The Play-In Round didn't disappoint with exciting games and playoff intensity. Eight of the 24 playoff teams were sent packing, and the playoff field was whittled down to the usual 16 teams. Today marks the puck drop of the typical first round, and we're here with a few wagers to consider!

Here are a few plays from today's card.

Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames

Under 5.5 (-160): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

This matchup features two teams with some pretty impressive under streaks take to the ice in the Western Conference opener.

The Calgary Flames dispatched the Winnipeg Jets in four games in their opening-round matchup, with three of those games staying under the number. This continued the under streak that the team started before the pause, which also saw three of four stay under.

Calgary also appears to be overachieving offensively, with output increasing and production decreasing relative to regular-season numbers. This has lead to an increased shooting percentage and PDO, which should regress to the mean.

Unders are the hallmark of Dallas Stars' hockey games. Dallas stayed under the total in 42 of 69 games this season. Shockingly, only nine games went over the total with the Stars as the home team. This trend continued in their Round Robin play, as the Stars managed to go over the total in just one of three games.

Bookmakers and bettors alike think this one is a low-scoring affair. FanDuel Sportsbook book set the total at 5.5, and bettors quickly pounded that line down to -160. Despite the high price, our projections still favor the under in this one, which aligns with these teams' low-scoring trends. Under 5.5 is a one-star play.

Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes

Over 5.5 (+120): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The play-in round could not have gone any differently for the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins.

After leading the NHL in points through most of the season, Boston dropped all three of their Round Robin games to finish fourth in the Eastern Conference. Nothing was going the Bruins' way either. They managed only four goals through the three games on an insultingly low 4.3% shooting percentage, all the while Boston's goalies combined for an 89.9% save percentage.

The opposite was true for the Hurricanes. They skated past the New York Rangers in three games while recording a 95.5% save percentage and scoring on 10.9% of their shots. Carolina's offensive metrics imply that output should continue, as they are averaging 12.3 high-danger chances and 27.7 scoring chances on 34.0 shots per game.

Expect these teams to meet somewhere in the middle. Carolina's goaltenders will start to see a reversal of fortunes, as their save percentage is well above sustainable levels. I also don't see how Boston's offensive misfortunes continue, as they were nearly 2.5 times off their regular season shooting percentage.

Let's not forget that these teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, and both games in Boston surpassed the total quite easily, with a combined 15 goals through two games.

Over 5.5 is worth a look in this one. Carolina has shown some offensive prowess this postseason, but their goaltending metrics should regress, which will result in more high-scoring games. Boston's offense is due to progress, and they will need to score to keep pace with the surging Canes. Taking the over is a one-star play, per our projections.

Vegas Golden Knights vs Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks +1.5 (-160): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

The Chicago Blackhawks showed that there are some intangibles when it comes to winning playoff hockey games. Chicago relied on timely scoring and big saves as they progressed past the Edmonton Oilers in the play-in round. Jonathan Toews proved invaluable. He was used in all situations and was an integral part of the offense, outworking Oilers' players in the offensive zone, leading to a few key goals. Edmonton went all out offensively to keep pace, but Corey Crawford was there to bail out his teammates. There's something to be said about teams who have been there before.

The problem, however, is that the Vegas Golden Knights have been there before as well. Vegas is just one year removed from winning the Western Conference and swept the Western Conference Round Robin en route to the 1 seed in the West. But the boxscores of the Round Robin tell a different story.

Vegas was losing or tied heading into the third period of all three games. They scored a cumulative nine goals in the third period and overtime, in winning all three games. Vegas needed four third period goals, including an empty-netter with seconds remaining to put the first game out of reach. Three goals in the third period of game 2, including two goals in the final ten minutes, and an overtime winner in the third game. If not for the clutch scoring, Vegas would have found themselves in a much different position at the start of the Quarterfinals. Vegas will have a hard time duplicating that third period success against a Chicago team that showed the ability to hold the fort down when needed.

Playoff intensity will be on full display in tonight's contest. Both teams have shown the ability to capitalize offensively and relied on their respective Stanley Cup-winning goaltenders to make big saves when needed. This has all the makings of an exciting playoff game, intensity, scoring chances, and big saves. Don't expect either team to run away with it. This aligns with our algorithm, which suggests that Blackhawks +1.5 is a two-star play.