Dallas netminder Ben Bishop shoots for his fourth consecutive shutout tonight when he and the Stars visit the Minnesota Wild in a game with huge playoff implications in the tight Western Conference standings. Thanks in large part to Bishop’s stellar play of late, Dallas comes into this contest on a roll, having won four of its last five on the road as well as five of six overall. Minnesota’s post-All-Star-break struggles continued Monday when the Wild was blanked 3-0 at home by the San Jose Sharks to fall to 7-8-5 in its last 20 contests.
Dallas has been absolutely smothering lately defensively, while the Wild’s offense has sputtered to produce just five goals in its last three games. That makes the Under the obvious choice here, but oddsmakers are thinking right along with us by listing this total at the extremely low number of 5. Not only is the first Over/Under of 5 that I can remember seeing this year, but the Under 5 isn’t even that rewarding, offering just +108 at BetOnline. There’s only so many ways to win an Under 5 bet (1-0, 2-1, 3-1, 2-0 or 3-0), and that sucks all the value right out of backing the Under here.
The only way to find value in this game, in my opinion, is to look at a side. Of these two teams, there’s not much question of which team I’d rather be backing right now. Dallas’ low-scoring style should play well on the road right now, especially when facing a Minnesota team that is struggling for confidence at the moment and may hear some boobirds tonight in their own rink if things aren’t going well early. The Wild has been a dominant team at home for years, but Minny’s lost eight of its last nine at home and these types of streaks tend to snowball.
If you’re looking for a bigger score than the even odds on the Dallas moneyline, the ‘Draw’ option is very compelling at +275 odds. The lower scoring the game is, the harder it is for either team to win in regulation. With the chances looking high of a 1-1 or 2-2 game tonight, I certainly think there’s better than the implied 30% chance that we see OT or a shootout in this one.
Although I anticipate a tight-checking and low-scoring game tonight, I’m not going to try to get cute and will simply go with the much hotter team at the even-money price. I’m picking the Stars on the moneyline at +100 odds.