Dallas or Vegas — who’s the bet to make in the 2023 NHL Western Conference Finals? The matchup isn’t exactly easy to pick with both having clear-cut advantages in certain areas. Still, we’ve analyzed the series and we’re confidently making two bets on the Stars-Golden Knights matchup. Keep reading to get out expert advice, for free!
Before we go any further with Western Conference Finals preview and picks, it would quite literally pay to know what the betting odds even are. Before Game 1, the best betting sites for the NHL have pegged the following two teams’ odds at advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals:
Neither team’s path to the conference championship was easy. The Golden Knights might’ve been the number one seed out West, but they were betting underdogs against the Oilers last round, only to dispatch them in six games. The Stars, on the other end, fought tooth and nail to get here. In the first round, they were down 2-1 in the series to the Wild before pulling out three straight wins. They needed a Game 7 win over the Kraken to advance out of the second round too.
But what makes this matchup especially interesting is the relative familiarity each should have. For one, Dallas coach Peter DeBoer held the same position for Vegas for the past three seasons before being fired. Nevermind the revenge factor, DeBoer knows the tendencies of most of the Knights roster that’s remained intact from his time there.
For the Golden Knights, how the Stars play is not too unlike the Oilers, the team they took care of. Both Dallas and Edmonton are anchored by a dominant offensive front. While the Oilers had a two-headed attack in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the Stars have three playmakers in Roope Hintz, Jason Robertson, and Joe Pavelski. Hintz’s 19 points are second to only McDavid this postseason.
We should also mention that these two sides squared off three times in the regular season. All resulted in wins by Dallas — two of which came in a shootout, but the other was a 4-0 beat down in Vegas’ own home.
We’ll be offering two different NHL Western Conference bets. One is a “safer” bet, but the other one, we went “risk on” and really went for it. We’ll explain below:
The Knights have offensive firepower of their own to match the Stars. Dallas may lead the postseason in goals at 47, but that’s partly because they’ve played 13 games. Vegas has 41 scores in 11 games, thus a higher goal-per-game average than the Stars.
But this late in the playoffs, defense and goaltending become more of a premium. These two teams are statistically neck and neck in this category. The Knights are allowing 3.7 goals per game in the playoffs, while the Stars at 3.6 — so it’s a wash.
If there’s an X-factor in this series, it may be Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger. Many netminders have vanished for their teams in the postseason, but not Oettinger. He led the Game 7 win by stopping 22 of 23 shots (the only goal came in the waning seconds) for a .957 save percentage. In particular, Oettinger shines most following a loss, where he is now 24-2-3 this season. That’s a shockingly good figure, which will make it hard for Vegas to win two in a row.
We’re taking the Stars to win out here. It won’t be easy (which we’ll explain with our next pick), but having Oettinger and DeBoer will be the edge they need to advance.
Alright, this bet isn’t for the faint of heart. It involves picking the winning team AND in how many games. Because of the natural difficulty of this bet, the odds are priced pretty high across the board:
Vegas will be far from an easy out for Dallas, especially with the home-ice advantage. At the very least, they take it to six games. We’ll take seven games for added betting cushion.
If betting this, no need to bet big — not at these prices. The lion’s share of your betting money should go on the series winner eager. Treat this more as a longshot bet with low-risk, high-reward potential.
If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for betting on the NHL playoffs, then your “best bet” (pun intended) is one of the bookmakers featured in the table underneath. They have every bet you need from now until the Stanley Cup Finals — futures, moneylines, pick lines, props, and more. Just sign up to any sportsbook, a process that takes a few short minutes, and you’re set:
Obviously, there are many different sportsbooks to pick from. We’d recommend one of the five below since all of these rated the highest in our latest sportsbook reviews.