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Vegas is giving the Wild too much respect

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With just four points separating the Minnesota Wild and the West division leading Vegas Golden Knights, bettors can expect there to be a playoff atmosphere when the teams meet Monday and Wednesday in the North Star State. On the surface, these are two of the hottest teams in the league. The Golden Knights have gone 9-1 in their last 10 while the Wild have posted a record of 8-2. Therefore, many bettors will view this matchup as a pick ’em or a game where the road team should be a short favorite. However, it’s imperative that bettors dig deeper as results-based analysis often misses the mark.

The Golden Knights have been rolling over teams in impressive fashion since the beginning of April. According to Evolving Hockey, the team has managed to hold a territorial edge over the competition generating 67 shot attempts on average while only allowing 55. Meanwhile, the Wild’s wins aren’t backed up by strong underlying numbers. Unlike the Golden Knights, the Wild have been outshot more often than not, specifically at even strength where they’ve only been able to create 45 percent of the shot attempts on average. The Wild have only outshot their opponents six times in their last 15 games and have only owned 49 percent of expected goals.

Of course, bettors should take the season series into account as well. This back-to-back set will make up the final two meetings between the teams. The Wild have won four out of six straight up against the Golden Knights, including the two most recent games that took place a month ago. In fact, the Wild are the only team in the division that the Golden Knights don’t have a winning record against, but the games have been close, both in terms of the score and the compete level of both teams. Given that the Golden Knights have been so much more dominant than the Wild during this recent stretch of games the time is now to buy low on a matchup that we could very well see in the playoffs.

Over at DraftKings the opening odds of -121 imply that the Golden Knights will win the game roughly 55 percent of the time. The last time the two teams met in Vegas, the home team carried a price tag of -160 or 61.5 percent. That’s an adjustment of about 7 percent, which is far too much for a simple venue change. If this game had taken place a month ago, the odds would make a little bit more sense. The NHL is a league of highs and lows and in order to find value bets in hockey markets, many bettors often feel like they’re trying to catch a falling knife.

However, in actuality, the goal is to catch falling prices. To the untrained eye, both of these teams are firing on all cylinders given their recent record, but sharp hockey bettors can tell the difference between a legitimate contender in the Vegas Golden Knights and a Wild team that doesn’t have the same level of superstar talent. By my estimation, the Golden Knights should carry a price tag of -145 as they will win the game about 59 percent of the time on average, and I would be comfortable laying as much as -140 while adjusting my stake in accordance with my perceived edge. At -121, bettors are getting a bargain.

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