Flames vs Stars – NHL Pick for February 27th
Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, many NHL teams are officially in postseason mode as they battle for spots in the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs.
That includes the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars, who enter tonight’s action in tenuous positioning in the tough Western Conference. Dallas currently clings to the first wild-card spot in the West, 1 point ahead of the Flames who are tied with the Los Angeles Kings for the second and final wild-card berth.
That makes tonight’s meeting in Dallas all the more critical for both squads. A Stars victory would give Dallas some separation in the standings and draw them closer to third place in the Central, while the Flames can vault ahead of Dallas and even into third in the Pacific with a win tonight.
With so much on the line tonight, it shapes up to be a great contest in Big D. Fortunately, we see some solid betting value in this game as well, which should make it even more exciting to watch.
Calgary Flames/Dallas Stars Betting Odds
Though the Flames own one of the best road records in the NHL this season, oddsmakers have made them a pretty large underdog in this contest. Dallas is -146 moneyline chalk to get the job done tonight at home, while the Flames pay +132 to pull off the upset.
The Over/Under sits at 6, with -117 juice on the Under and +106 return on the Over. Dallas pays +195 on the -1.5 puck line (which requires the favorite, in this case, Dallas to win by 2 goals or more), and you’d have to lay -225 odds to back the Flames +1.5.
Flames are Playing a Lot of High-Scoring Games
After going through a prolonged scoring slump earlier in the year, Calgary’s attack is firing on all cylinders this month. The Flames have potted 10 goals over their last 2 games and scored at least 3 times in 8 of their last 10 games, including 6 of 7 outings on the road.
Calgary’s scoring prowess is reflected in its recent Over/Under statistics. The Flames are 6-2-1 to the Over in their last 9 games, thanks partly to their scoring output but also due to their goaltending situation at the other end of the ice. With mid-season MVP candidate Mike Smith currently nursing a groin injury, the Flames have had to turn to the unheralded combination of David Rittich and Jon Gillies in net, and it’s been reflected in the team’s defensive statistics.
Though Calgary has allowed just 3 goals in its last 3 games, those contests came against the Avalanche (who struggle to score on the road) and Coyotes (who struggle to score in any arena). In the Flames’ outings against potent offenses over the past 2 weeks, they’ve allowed 7 to the Golden Knights, 6 to the Panthers and 5 to the Bruins.
Stars’ Offense Slumping, but Always Dangerous at Home
With snipers like Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, it’s always surprising when you see Dallas go through a stretch in which it can’t find the net. That’s been the case recently for the Stars, however, who had scored just 6 goals in 5 games before finding the net 3 times Saturday in a loss to Winnipeg.
All stats require context, however, and when you look at the situations of those recent Dallas games, their low-scoring outputs aren’t quite as concerning. The Stars were emotionally flat in a 6-0 loss at home to Vancouver (2 days after a big win over the Penguins), then had 4 days off before beating St. Louis 2-1. Following that, they went out on the road to face 3 strong defensive teams in San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles.
Dallas’ offense has been much more dangerous this year at home, where the Stars are averaging 3.1 goals per outing, and I like their chances of getting back on track tonight, given Calgary’s goaltending issues at the moment.
Flames vs. Stars Betting Pick
You don’t often find value betting Over 6 in the National Hockey League, where 3-2 games are far too common. But I think there’s a lot of potential for offensive fireworks in Dallas tonight.
Coming off back-to-back victories by a combined score of 10-3, the Flames bring a lot of confidence into this game and also don’t have much motivation to tighten up defensively. Meanwhile, even though Dallas has been lit up for at least 5 goals in 3 of its last 6 games, coach Ken Hitchcock doesn’t seem too concerned about defensive issues and is probably focusing on generating more offense tonight.
The last time these two teams met in Dallas, the Stars skated away with a 6-4 victory and the teams combined for 79 shots on net. Smith played net in that game for Calgary, and the Flames should be even more vulnerable to the Dallas attack with Rittich expected to get the start in goal.
But even if Calgary falls behind a few goals early, this game is important enough in the standings that the Flames will be going all-out the rest of the game to try to catch up. I like their chances of scoring at least a couple against the struggling Ben Bishop, who has allowed at least 2 goals in 6 of his last 8 starts and has gotten the early hook in 2 of his last 4.
All of these factors, combined with the chance for plus money return, makes the Calgary/Dallas Over 6 +106 odds my NHL pick of the week.
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