The betting market has opened up for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final and the prices that we’re seeing line up with the lookahead lines that were discussed in Thursday’s VSiN newsletter. Unfortunately, that also means that I don’t see a whole lot of value here, and that’s ok with me as someone who has pending series bets on the favorite.
In three games vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Dallas Stars have only owned 40 percent of the shot attempts and 41 percent of the expected goals at 5-on-5 according to Evolving Hockey. Against the Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche, the Stars owned about 47 percent of the shot attempts and 48 percent of the expected goals. However, the Stars are learning that the Lighting are a different animal.
As good as the Lightning have been, -150 is probably a fair price for Game 4. The Stars were awful on Wednesday, but this team definitely has some fight left. Unfortunately, that still might not be enough. The Stars have a tired goaltender, starring down the daunting task of playing back-to-back games against the Lightning (Game 5 goes Saturday night) and their underlying numbers at 5-on-5 are atrocious.
During the Stanley Cup Final, I’ve shared my thoughts on some of the Lightning skaters and all of that remains true heading into this Game 4. Victor Hedman and the top line continue to dominate. Hedman (-118) and Ondrej Palat (-125) are my best bets to go over their shot totals (2.5) in Game 4. With that being said . . .
Shots! Shots! Shots?
The way the Lightning were able to shut down the Stars in the second and third periods of Game 3, despite holding a significant lead, was impressive. They held the Stars to eight shots in the final forty minutes of play. That wasn’t the case in Game 2. The Lightning led 3-0 after one period and held a 14-6 advantage in shots. The Stars would come out firing in the final forty minutes, though, outshooting the Lightning 23-17.
That was a rare occurrence for this Stars team, though. The last time they had over 29 shots on goal in a game was back in round two versus the Avalanche. In fact, they’ve only been averaging about 24 shots on goal per game. This has a lot to do with the fact that the Stars spent a lot of time with the lead but the Lightning spent even more time leading, and have far better peripherals to show for it. In a spot like this, I would typically look to forwards like Jamie Benn or Joe Pavelski to go over their shots on goal total of 2.5 but they just haven’t been generating shots at a consistent rate.
Will Tyler Seguin’s scoring drought reach 13 games?
Tyler Seguin hasn’t scored a goal in 12 games, and will be motivated to do so, but his shot total is set at 3.5. I actually lean to the under, in that case, even at -182. Seguin might score a goal, but it won’t have anything to do with him being ‘due’. At plus-255, there isn’t any real value in backing him to find the back of the net. Instead, I’d look to Jamie Benn to light the lamp in Game 4 at plus-285. The Stars captain leads the team in individual expected goals according to Evolving Wild.