Stars vs. Panthers: Free Picks, Odds & Predictions

Stars vs Panthers NHL
Dallas vs. Florida, American Airlines Center

These are two teams in very different spots of the season and searching for very different things. The Florida Panthers had won six straight games prior to losing twice in Carolina earlier this week and now sit a point-back of the division-leading Hurricanes. Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars are trying to use their extra games in hand to close the deficit on Nashville for the final playoff spot in the Central Division. Dallas is deservedly at .500 this year because the Stars have been fairly inconsistent, but they need to take advantage of these opportunities as the season enters the final stretch before the postseason begins.

Free Picks

Frank Vatrano had scored in three straight games before not scoring in two games earlier this week in Carolina. The winger is playing with a lot of confidence right now and he’s taking advantage of the attention being drawn by the Panthers’ top line. He’s listed at reasonable +260 odds on the NHL betting sites in New Jersey, which is why I was attracted to Vatrano as an option. He’s a proven goal scorer who goes on streaks of goal scoring this season, and I’m not convinced that his hot streak is over just yet despite the two games against Carolina.

FRANK VATRANO SCORES GOAL

When Florida played in Dallas two weeks ago, the Panthers scored four goals in both games, though Florida has hit that mark just twice in its six games since last facing the Stars. However, it’s hard to score when you don’t shoot the puck and Florida is excellent at firing pucks on net. The Panthers are averaging 34.3 shots per game, the second-most in the league, which is vital against the Stars, who are allowing just 27.8 shots per game. Florida actually didn’t have 30 shots in either game two weeks ago against Dallas, but they had 52 and 43 in its first two games this year with Dallas. I’ll take the risk at the hockey betting sites in New Jersey on the +185 odds that Florida scores at least four times again Saturday.

FLORIDA PANTHERS OVER 3.5 GOALS

The Stars are actually favored in this game at the legal sports betting sites in New Jersey, ignoring the fact Dallas has just three wins in 14 tries against the leading trio in the Central Division. We are getting excellent odds on Florida in this game at +155 for the Panthers to win in regulation. These are two teams that tend to play a lot of overtime games, but just one of the first five games between the team required more than 60 minutes to decide a winner. The Panthers have won six straight against teams not named the Hurricanes, while the Stars have lived up to their .500 record without major runs of wins since the start of the season.

FLORIDA PANTHERS WIN IN REGULATION

Best Odds

Dallas Florida
888Sport
-114 -107
FanDuel
-118 +100
BetMGM
-110 -110

Statistics

Head to Head

This is the sixth matchup this year between Dallas and Florida with the Panthers winning four of the first five games against the Stars this season.

Stats

  • This is the best regular season in Panthers history as Florida has gained 68.3 percent of available points, more than six percentage points more than they earned in 2015-16 when they won the Atlantic Division.
  • No team has lost more games in overtime than the Stars, who have lost 10 games in extra time. Dallas has lost five of those games in a shootout, the most shootout losses in the league this season.
  • Florida has two of the seven players in the NHL with a plus/minus rating above +20 in Carter Verhaeghe, who is tied for second at +23, and MacKenzie Weegar with a +21 rating.
  • Roope Hintz is on pace to have a career season for the Stars during this abridged campaign. His 12 goals and 16 assists are just five points off his career high, which he set last season. His 16 assists are a career-high already and he’s just seven goals away from his career high in that category.

Our Prediction for Dallas vs. Florida

Florida Panthers to win

One of the biggest reasons the Dallas Stars are on the outside of the playoffs at the moment is their poor record against the top-end of the division. Dallas is 3-9-4 against the top-three teams in the division, proving it has regressed since playing in the Stanley Cup Final last season. Florida has won four of the first five games against the Stars this season, but they have also won 23 of the 31 games against teams outside the top trio and lost just six times in regulation. As much as the Panthers still has a lot to prove in the postseason, they have at least proven they can take care of business against inferior competition like Dallas.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

All Reviews by Josh Walfish

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