Free NHL Picks: Sharks Will Devour Stars In High Value Matchup

Jason Lake

Friday, March 25, 2016 5:13 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 25, 2016 5:13 PM GMT

The Dallas Stars have already clinched a playoff berth. The San Jose Sharks are just about in the clear, too. Only one of these Western teams can beat the NHL odds Saturday night.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of March 25: 2-1 ATS (0.15 units), 2-9 ML (–9.42 units), 0-1-2 Totals (–1.00 units)

Rumor has it there's some hockey going on. March Madness has taken over the betting scene, but fear not, puckheads, that just makes the NHL odds even softer as we wind down the 2015-16 regular season. And we'll take every little advantage we can get here at the ranch. It's been a wild and crazy ride this year.

Our next attraction: Saturday's matchup (4:00 p.m. ET) between the Dallas Stars and the San Jose Sharks. That's an interesting starting time. What gives? Ah, I see the San Jose Barracuda are playing Saturday night at the SAP Center. That's a whole other story for another time, though. The parent club is a –130 favorite as we go to press, or –1.5 (+240) on the puck line, with a chunky total of 5.5 goals.

 

Hockey Jones
So if we give 0.30 goals (or 30 cents on the moneyline) for home-ice advantage, and we ignore vigorish for the moment, that means the market values these two Western teams pretty much equally. Let's see what Hockey-Reference has to say: Yup, there's almost no difference between Dallas (+0.35 SRS) and San Jose (+0.30 SRS) according to Simple Rating System.

But which goalies will be in net on Saturday? According to Left Wing Lock, it figures to be Kari Lehtonen (.905 save percentage) for the Stars and Martin Jones (.920 SV%) for the Sharks. This hasn't been a particularly good year for Lehtonen, but at least he's done a bit better than his time-share partner, Antti Niemi (.901 SV%). Jones, meanwhile, is the man in San Jose. He's made 60 starts already this season. Should be a close game overall, then.

 

Cuts You Up
Well... one thing about that: center Tyler Seguin (33 goals, 40 assists) is out for Dallas. He got cut across the Achilles tendon in last week's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yikes. Fortunately, the cut “only” went about one-sixth of the way through the tendon, so Seguin should be good to go for the playoffs. Wear ankle guards, kids.

The Stars (44-22-9) are 2-1 since Seguin's injury, at a combined score of 10-5, so losing one of their Top-2 scorers doesn't necessarily spell their doom. But it is enough to make us lean slightly toward the Sharks (41-27-6) on the moneyline. They won this matchup 4-3 in overtime as –127 home faves back on January 16, in a game where Seguin had a goal and an assist for Dallas. The Stars have already clinched a playoff spot in the West, while San Jose is almost certainly going to take third place in the Pacific, but has yet to nail that down. That dose of added motivation gives us all the more reason to recommend to a small bet on the Sharks for your NHL picks this weekend.

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NHL Pick: San Jose –125
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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