NHL Monday best bets: Stars to shine vs. Avalanche
With American Thanksgiving coming later in the week, the schedule has been altered from its norms.
Rather than the usually quiet Monday night in the NHL, we have a whopping 10 games on the docket.
Let's dive into a couple that stand out.
The Devils are on an epic 12-game heater. While Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, and the team's other high-flying stars are garnering a lot of attention, New Jersey's defense deserves a ton of credit.
The club has posted sparkling defensive numbers at five-on-five over its winning streak. It ranks second in attempts against, second in high-danger chances against, and fourth in expected goals against on a per 60-minute basis.
Considering they've spent the bulk of their time playing from ahead and defending leads, it's remarkable the Devils grade out so well. Generally, teams playing with the lead sit on their heels and invite pressure. Not New Jersey.
That's good news because the Oilers can be lethal offensively. If you plan to sit back, allow Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to dominate the puck, and hope to hold up ... well, that's a disaster waiting to happen.
The Devils won't adjust their playing style if they get a lead. They also have the defensive personnel necessary to at least slow Edmonton's big guns.
On the flip side, I'm not sure I expect New Jersey to fill the net in this spot. Stuart Skinner has quietly provided the Oilers with solid goaltending when given a chance. He's saved 3.9 goals more than expected through nine appearances and ranks ninth (minimum nine games played) on a per-60 basis.
I like the cushion of seven goals. I don't see eight or more being scored with the way Vitek Vanecek and Skinner are playing. However, under 6.5 at plus money is a worthwhile look as well.
Bet: Under 7 (-140)
The Avalanche are on a 7-3-0 run and have climbed up to second in what has been a mediocre Central Division thus far.
Although they still have plenty of firepower - and they're not a team you'd ever want to face at full strength - I'm not sold on the current version of this club.
At five-on-five over the 10-game stretch, Colorado sits 24th in shot share and 25th in expected goal share. The team has earned points by relying on a lethal power play and mind-numbingly good goaltending that's put up a save percentage better than 95%.
While the man advantage is absolutely sustainable, Alexandar Georgiev and Pavel Francouz won't continue to make saves at this level. It's unrealistic for even Igor Shesterkin or Andrei Vasilevskiy to do so.
The Stars don't possess overwhelming depth, but they're a deeper team than the Avalanche right now. That, coupled with one of the league's best top lines, has helped Dallas to a better five-on-five process. It sits middle of the pack in shot share and expected goal share - ahead of Colorado in both.
Dallas also isn't as reliant on its goaltender, although Jake Oettinger has always been there when needed. He ranks third among all netminders in goals saved above expected (plus-9.4) through the first 20-25% of the season.
I expect the Stars to control a little more of the run of play, and they have the higher ceiling goaltender to fall back on. As ever so slight favorites, I see value backing Dallas at home.
Bet: Stars (-115)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.