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Evan Bouchard (2) of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates with teammates as we offer our best Oilers vs. Stars predictions and expert picks for Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Evan Bouchard (2) of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates with teammates after his goal in Game 7 in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on May 20, 2024 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images via AFP.

The Dallas Stars host the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, as we offer our best Oilers vs. Stars prop picks and predictions based on the best NHL odds.

It's been 21 years since the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers last met in the Stanley Cup playoffs, which has happened five times previously. Dallas won all five of those series, and the Stars are -135 favorites to beat the Oilers tonight in Game 1 after ousting the last two Stanley Cup champions.

The series opener for the Western Conference Final begins at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT from American Airlines Center in Dallas, where the host Stars have lost four of seven games in this postseason. Both teams are top contenders in the Stanley Cup odds, even though Edmonton narrowly advanced past the second round.

The Oilers feature the top four scorers in the NHL playoffs, while the Stars boast the league's best defensive record. This clash of styles promises an exciting series.

Here are our best Oilers vs. Stars predictions and NHL picks (odds via our best NHL betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Oilers vs. Stars Game 1 expert picks

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Oilers vs. Stars Game 1 predictions for today

Evan Bouchard Over 1.5 points ⭐⭐⭐

Many Evan Bouchard naysayers and doubters will be doing more backpedaling today than cyclists at the Tour de France if you watch the footage on rewind.

People questioned his ability to impact proceedings in the playoffs and at the highest level. Some will even point to his Game 5 blunder that led to the Canucks' second-period equalizer. Others will say his outrageous postseason point tally, 20 in 12 games, is more down to Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid than his own prodigiousness. 

It won't matter to Bouchard what those brash and bellicose pundits thought. He has let his play do the bellowing. Bouchard is the first defenseman in NHL playoff history to amass 20 points in the opening two rounds. He sits just one point behind McDavid after securing at least two points in four of the last five games.

While the regular-season head-to-head tilts don't carry much weight at this time of the year, Bouchard scored two goals against the Stars in Big-D in February. At +185, Betway's odds imply a 35.09% probability. A $10 bet pays a profit of $18.50 if it hits. 

Best odds: +185 via Betway

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Leon Draisaitl Over 2.5 shots ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I jump on this prop like an impressionable youth jumping on a bouncy castle, with immediacy and as forcefully as possible. Draisaitl is by no means a shooting machine, unlike me playing Duck Hunt eons ago. The Oilers' power forward picks his opportunities to fire on goal, usually from his office, via a one-timer set up by the world's best passer. Draisaitl usually gets at least three shots on goal despite his selective nature, demonstrated by hitting the Over in nine of 12 playoff contests. 

He failed to get three shots on goal in Games 5 and 6 against the Canucks but rebounded with a three-shot Game 7. He is averaging 3.75 shots per game in the postseason. At -135, Betway's odds imply a 57.45% probability and a $10 wager pays a profit of $7.41 if it hits. 

Best odds: -135 via Betway

Miro Heiskanen Over 2.5 shots ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I'm drawn to Miro Heiskanen's ability to get pucks through on goal like Canucks fans are to Game 7 defeats. I know, way too early. The silky-smooth Dallas defenseman is like Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes in his ability to create space laterally along the blue line and by pinching in at opportune moments. 

Heiskanen led the team with four goals in six games versus the Avs. He also had at least two shots in eight of 13 playoff contests, including four of six against Colorado. I'm tempted to back him to score a goal in Game 1 due to his recent uptick in goals and the mouthwatering +375 odds Betway offers. 

The Oilers have been one of the playoffs' best shot-blocking teams, increasing the degree of difficulty for this prop. However, the impetus is squarely on Heiskanen's shoulders to create offense from the point, which is precisely what he should do in tonight's opener. The 24-year-old had at least two shots in two of three regular-season contests against the Oilers. At +100, Betway's odds represent a 50% probability. A winning $10 bet will pay a profit of $10.  

Best odds: +100 via Betway

Oilers vs. Stars Game 1 info & odds

  • When: Thursday, May 23
  • Puck drop: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas
  • How to watch: TNT, Sportsnet
  • Favorite: Stars (-135 via Betway)

Oilers-Stars predictions made Tuesday at noon ET.

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