Oilers are unsurprisingly betting underdogs versus the Stars

As the Oilers and Stars prepare to clash in game one on Thursday night, Edmonton fans have to accept the reality that their team is not favoured to advance.
Edmonton Oilers v Dallas Stars
Edmonton Oilers v Dallas Stars / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Thursday night sees the beginning of a series which the Edmonton Oilers hope will propel them to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since the 2005-06 season. Standing in their way though are the Dallas Stars.

The Oilers are the top scoring team up to this point in these playoffs and have the most efficient special teams units both in terms of the power play and penalty kill. However, they'll have their work cut out versus a strong Stars team, which has the added benefit of home-ice advantage.

The Stars finished the regular season with the best record in the Western Conference, and just one point behind the New York Rangers for the Presidents' Trophy. Versus the Oilers specifically they took five out of a possible six points, including overpowering them 5-0 in their last meeting in early April.

The Oilers might have the star power in respect of individual players, but the Stars arguably have the better overall roster. As a result, it probably won't surprise fans that Kris Knoblauch's team are considered underdogs for the Western Conference Final.

Dallas Stars are the betting favourites

This underdog status extends to the gambling world, with most betting companies earmarking the Stars as favourites to advance to the Stanley Cup. This includes FanDuel and DraftKings.

Starting with FanDuel, they have the Oilers as 1.5 underdogs to win game one on Thursday night in Dallas. Meanwhile, DraftKings have the Stars as -125 favourites to win the series overall, compared to +105 for the Oilers as underdogs.

What's interesting is that despite the Stars being favourites to advance, it's the Oilers who have individual players listed among the most likely to be an anytime goal-scorer. Consider that FanDuel have Zach Hyman, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid listed respectively as favoured to score, followed by the Stars' Wyatt Johnston. (DraftKings have the same top four, albeit Johnston is listed third favourite instead, followed by McDavid.)

Despite the Stars' overall strength versus the Oilers, this series is still expected to be a closely contested affair in respect of how long it goes. Consider that DraftKings has the Western Conference Final most likely going six or seven games, with both outcomes at +200, followed by five games at +275 and four games at +600.

One underlying aspect which will play into how people decide to bet, is the health and injury status of both teams. For the Oilers, Adam Henrique is the only major doubt due to his lingering high ankle sprain, although is also noteworthy and slightly concerning that there is apparently a bug currently going around the locker room.

Western and Eastern Conference Final predictions. Western and Eastern Conference Final predictions. dark. Next

Along similar lines, as per Stephen Kerr of The Hockey News, Stars' starting goalie Jake Oettinger left practice on Wednesday due to feeling under the weather. The belief is that he will still play in game one, but it's certainly worth keeping an eye on, as his absence would be a tough blow for the favourites.

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