NHL Betting Guide: Saturday 5/1/21

This is the first NHL betting guide of May! I know nobody wants to hear this, but this was originally scheduled as the second-last Saturday of the NHL season. Subsequently, the NHL added an extra Saturday to their season, but it features just one game, so for all intents and purposes, this will be the second last Saturday of the season.

As usual, we've identified some games from the betting board that present value, as per our daily projections. These are the bets we're looking at today.

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets moneyline (+265): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
Blue Jackets +1.5 (-102): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

The Central Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes look to pad their lead atop the standings. The problem is, they're working against a few factors tonight when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.

First, the Canes have been on an unsustainable run over their last nine games. Their PDO is 1.049 over that sample, bringing their season-long average up to 1.016, which is the eighth-highest in the NHL. Both save and shooting percentages have crested above sustainable levels, suggesting that Carolina could come crashing back down.

The other factor impacting the Canes' success tonight is their condensed schedule over the last couple of weeks. Tonight's game will be Carolina's eighth over the last 13 days -- in their fourth different city.

The Blue Jackets have had limited offensive upside this season but have been on the verge of big offensive output. Last time out against the Detroit Red Wings, the Jackets attempted 39 scoring chances and 17 high-danger chances but managed just one goal. It was the fourth time over their last nine games that they had more than 10 high-danger chances in a game and the sixth time in nine games that they scored fewer than three goals. It's far too little and too late, but the Blue Jackets should see increased output over their last five games.

Based on our projections and analysis, the Blue Jackets are the right side to be on. As such, betting them to upset the Hurricanes is a one-star wager. If they win as underdogs, then they also cover the +1.5 puckline, which is rated as a two-star play.

Nashville Predators vs. Dallas Stars

Stars moneyline (+100): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
Over 5.5 (+126): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The Dallas Stars are a buy-low team that should make one final push for the postseason. That starts tonight as they try to catch the team ahead of them in the standings, the Nashville Predators.

The Stars have been on quite a run over their last 14 games. Over that span, they have attempted at least 10 high-danger chances in 12 of 14 outings and are averaging 12.6 chances per game across all strengths. Increased offensive production hasn't come at the expense of their defensive structure, as they have been out-chanced in high-danger chances only three times over the 14-game sample.

Despite their offensive dominance, the Stars have dropped three of their last five decisions. In that time, they have put up a combined .907 PDO thanks to decreased offensive output and subpar goaltending. We're expecting improvements to both as the Stars bring their season-long PDO back up to 1.000.

Nashville is due for a correction course. The Preds have been outplayed in six of their last seven games but have outplayed their metrics by collecting three wins. They have overcome some pretty spectacular defensive inefficiencies in that time. Their opponents have posted 16 or more high-danger attempts in three of the six games, and Nashville goalies have responded by stopping more than 93.7% of shots in four of their last six. We're anticipating the Predators' goalies coming back down to earth against a Stars team that is due for increased output.

Dallas can surpass the Preds in the Central Division standings and take the final playoff spot with a regulation win. Based on our projections, the Stars have a 55.0% chance of winning, which is greater than the 50.0% implied probability of their +100 moneyline price. That makes the Stars moneyline a one-star play. There's also value in taking the over, and we rate it as a one-star bet.