NHL Betting Guide: Friday 1/22/21

We're heading into an exciting weekend of hockey with 24 games scheduled between now and Monday. We kick off tonight with eight games on the schedule, and realistically, only one of those games features a pair of teams that aren't likely to contend for the playoffs (sorry, Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks). With the rest of the teams in action having playoff aspirations, it should make for an entertaining night of hockey.

Here are two home dogs worth backing!

Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators

Stars moneyline (+104): 2-Star Rating Out of 5
Stars +1.5 (-295): 4-Star Rating Out of 5
Under 5.5 (-120): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

After dealing with a COVID outbreak on their team, the defending Western Conference Champion Dallas Stars finally get to open their season.

The Stars built a name for themselves in last year's bubble by playing a tidy defensive brand of hockey. They had to run a gauntlet of some of the NHL's most offensively dangerous teams in the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights before losing the Stanley Cup Finals to the Tampa Bay Lightning. They figured out their defensive acumen toward the end of the season and rolled it all the way to the Finals. Dallas will likely pick up exactly where they left off, and with something to prove this season, they may grind down opponents more than usual.

The Nashville Predators play a similar defensive brand of hockey. They don't play a risky offensive style and prefer to sit back and be more opportunistic. That's evidenced by the 18.3 scoring chances and 5.3 high-danger chances they are averaging at five-on-five this season. Defensively, they've given up more than they've created, but thankfully the Preds are playing a Dallas team that doesn't force the issue when they have the puck.

If you're like me, when you see the Preds and Stars are playing each other, you automatically think low-scoring hockey game. In these types of games, that likely means that there is some value in taking the underdog on the puckline. That's exactly what our algorithm projects as we have the under as a one-star play and Stars +1.5 as a four-star play. There's also some value in backing Dallas on the moneyline, which we rate as a two-star play.

Arizona Coyotes vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Coyotes moneyline (+142): 3-Star Rating Out of 5
Coyotes +1.5 (-198): 4-Star Rating Out of 5
Under 5.5 (-105): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The Arizona Coyotes deserved a better outcome in their most recent contest against the Golden Knights. Arizona controlled possession, generated more offense and limited the Golden Knights to just four high-danger chances at five-on-five. The Coyotes' undoing was their 82.8% save percentage and the three high-danger goals that they allowed. High-danger goals against have been the Achilles' heel of the Yotes this season, as they have surrendered the third-most such chances and have allowed at least two in all of their games this season.

Vegas continues to flex its offensive muscle. The Golden Knights have scored at least four goals in three of four games this season and rank fourth in the league with a 13.5% shooting percentage. But they are overachieving compared to their advanced metrics as they have gone over their expected goals for in each game this season. They also haven't been as reliable with possession metrics at five-on-five this campaign, being out-possessed in three of their four contests.

This will be the Golden Knights' first road game on the season. The Knights were a much different team on the road last year, posting an expected goals for percentage of 50.0% and finishing the season only four games above .500.

With home-ice advantage, Arizona should be able to get better line matchups and continue to dictate the play. Darcy Kuemper has also been much better on home ice throughout his career, posting a 92.3% save percentage and 2.25 goals-against average in the split.

It's on that basis that taking the Yotes on the moneyline and puck line are three- and four-star plays, respectively, per our projections. There's also some value in the under (5.5), which is listed as a one-star play.