Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames (5/11/22) Betting Odds, Prediction, Line Combination, Starting Goalies
The wildcard Dallas Stars are hanging on in this series, taking one on the road and dropping one at home to force a 2-2 series tie.
Calgary is still the overwhelming favorite to advance to the next round, and the over -200 odds reflect that.
But, is that undervaluing the Stars? It’s hard to answer that question with a yes, as the Stars actually finished under .500 away from Dallas this season.
There’s value to be found in this game somewhere. So, let’s dive into the betting odds and my prediction for Wednesday’s battle.
Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames Betting Odds
I found an interesting trend when digging through these odds.
A lower-seeded NHL team in the first round coming off a loss is 87-103 since 2005 with a 17% ROI. So, I’m already automatically looking the Stars’ way with odds over +180 at some books.
Maybe it’s smarter to back the total. The Stars and Flames are 4-1 to the under in their last five meetings. It’s sitting at 5.5 with the under juiced to -125, so perhaps the odds aren’t there.
Let’s dive a bit deeper.
Dallas Stars Analysis
The Stars may be, simultaneously, the luckiest and unluckiest team in the playoffs this season.
The Stars were lucky just to make the playoffs. Going 19-20-2 on the road and posting a -8 overall goal differential is not the formula for a winning hockey team. The fact the Stars finished sixteen games over .500 is baffling.
However, their Expected Goal Differential this season was a whopping +31.14, which would’ve placed the Stars among the top-10 teams. In terms of Goals For Above Expected, they finished with a -31.52 mark, meaning they likely deserve some positive regression.
Moreover, the Stars have scored seven playoff goals and allowed seven playoff goals. But, their Expected Goal Differential is -2.34, which is the third-worst among playoff teams and only better than Nashville (eliminated 4-0) and New York (down 3-1).
There just isn’t that much talent on this team. But lucky for Dallas, they’ve been carried by goalie Jake Oettinger, who has been standing on his head this run.
Over these four playoff games, Oettinger leads all goalies in Goals Saved Above Expected (6.4) and Wins Above Replacement (1.07). He’s been miles ahead of Edmonton’s Mike Smith, who is second in both those categories.
If Oettinger can continue to run this hot, Dallas has a chance to knock off Calgary.
Calgary Flames Analysis
It was a damn good season for the Flames, who locked up first in the Pacific Division for the first time since 2018.
It’s all about defense, defense, defense. The Flames led the whole Western Conference in goals allowed this season at 208, racking up a +85 goal differential on the way. The only team in the NHL that bested them was Carolina.
Jacob Markstrom has been fine, but the defense has been the stalwart of the team. Their 210.92 Expected Goals Against was tops in the NHL by over 13 goals.
Three defenders led the Flames in average time on ice. Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin, and Chris Tanev were the only Flames to average more than 20 minutes per game, and those guys lead a style of play that is very structured and can beat others 1-0 or 2-0.
But let’s not forget that the Flames had three 40-goal scorers this season. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm all can take over a game if needed.
But Dallas shouldn’t have made the playoffs and now Calgary is in a do-or-die situation. This team might be slightly nervous in this spot.
Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames Picks & Prediction
My pick: Over 5.5 (+105 at Caesars)
So, the Flames won 4-1 in Game 4 to move unders to 3-1 in this series. But that’s not the full story.
The Flames’ post-game win expectancy was over 82%, based on an offensive performance that they underscored. According to Money Puck’s Expected Goals Scored formula, the final score was Flames 6.33, Stars 3.81.
That means we should see slight positive regression in scoring and the over at plus-money is too big of a steal not to bet.
I think both goalies are underperforming, and that Markstrom is maybe slightly overvalued in the market considering his regular-season performance wasn’t outstanding.
If we’re catching 5.5 at plus-money, I’ll be betting the over in this big Game 5.