|STL (-133) @ pinnacle|
3 of 4 Experts (75%) with a pick on the moneyline are aligned. 9* play on the St. Louis Blues (Straight-up).
Anthony Stalter: SUNDAY PUCKS: ANTHONY’S 8-STAR PLAY OF THE DAY
The defending Stanley Cup champs have been a mess in their first two games back from the layoff. In fact, if you count their 4-0 exhibition loss to the Blackhawks before the round-robin began, the Blues are now 0-3 and look nothing like the club that hoisted the Cup last season.
That said, if there’s ever a time for the Blues to flip the switch it’s now. Led by Craig Beurbe, this is a well-coached team that is much sounder defensively than it has looked in its last two games. Jordan Binnington won’t start today versus Dallas but Jake Allen is a capable backup and I expect the Blues to clean up a lot of their defensive issues in front of Allen today. In fact, most of their struggles on the back end can be attributed to not being in game shape and facing a couple of faster teams in Colorado and Vegas.
Meanwhile, the Stars are also 0-2 in round-robin play and have been outscored 9-3 in those two contests. While I expect the Blues to focus and sharpen their play, I don’t like Dallas’ odds of turning things around as quickly. The Stars don’t posses the same speed as the Aves and aren’t playing as well as the Golden Knights, so I expect the Blues to look and play much better today. Dallas also doesn’t have the defensive pieces like St. Louis does for a quick turnaround.
Power Sports: Sunday ROUND ROBIN POWER-HOUSE ~ *LIMITED TIME* 1/2 OFF!
Saturday determined the 1-seeds in the respective conferences, but Sunday is all about who gets seeded 3rd and 4th. In the West, St. Louis and Dallas have each opened 0-2. With all the upsets that transpired over in the qualification series, even the loser here is going to get a weaker than expected Round of 16 playoff opponent. It comes down to the simple fact that I think the Blues are the better team.
St. Louis came into the bubble having finished first in the regular season with 94 points, two more than Colorado and eight more than Vegas, the two teams that will play Saturday to determine the #1 seed. Losses to the Avs (2-1) and Golden Knights (6-4) mean the Blues can finish no higher than 3rd when the playoffs get going proper. Worth noting that the loss to the Avs came at the buzzer and then the Blues led the Golden Knights 2-0 early in the 2nd period. So being 0-2 is a tough pill to swallow.
As for Dallas, they too blew a multi-goal lead to Vegas (ended up losing 5-3) and then were shutout by the Avalanche 4-0. This was one of the coldest teams in the league at the time of the shutdown. They’re actually now on an 8-game losing streak going back to March. The Stars’ goal differential for the season is now negative while the Blues can still claim to be +29. I concede that St. Louis hasn’t looked great in either game and Vladimir Tarasenko’s injury is a concern. But they’ve taken six of the last seven meetings w/ Dallas, who isn’t in the same league as either Colorado or Vegas.
Tim Michael: 10* AFTERNOON ANNIHILATION (+$11,000 ALL NHL YTD!)
This is the last game of the round-robin stage of the Western Conference and the winner of this gets the 3rd seed, while the loser gets the 4th. These teams are similar in many regards, as evidenced by the money line that Las Vegas has set. The Stars though have completely looked terrible in their two games, conceding a total of eight unanswered goals. Stars' goalie Anton Khudobin is 0-1 with a 4.00 GAA. The Blues are 0-2 as well, but they've looked more competitive to this point, losing 2-1 to Colorado and 6-4 to the Golden Knights. Blues' goalie Jordan Binnington is the more experienced netminder in this matchup and I think that matters here. Also note that the Blues are 6-1 the last seven in this series, while Dallas is 0-8 in its last eight overall. I'm laying the very reasonabel price on what I believe to be the much better overall team right now.
Scott Rickenbach: Rickenbach NHL *Divisional Dominator* Sun *He is 13-7 / 65%*
Best of luck!
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