NHL Monday betting preview: Stars holding on for dear life

Glenn James / National Hockey League / Getty

Into the final week or so of the regular season, there's very little left up in the air ahead of the postseason's start. The playoff field is virtually set, with seeding all that's really left to play for.

It's going to lead to plenty of uncertainty over these final games, so be sure to choose your spots wisely. I'm going to be a bit more selective as we head into the closing stretch with a 133-123 (+7.15 units) record.

Jets (-155) @ Senators (+135)

Losers of six in a row, the Jets are in danger of dropping to fourth place in the North Division and setting up a dreaded first-round date with the Leafs. The first three losses came with Nikolaj Ehlers in the lineup, but you can see over the last three just how crippling his absence is for this team at both ends of the ice. Adam Lowry could return tonight, which would help their cause, but this team is in a bad way right now and hardly worthy of this price tag.

Winnipeg has posted a miserable 35.29 xGF% rate over this six-game losing streak and outscored 26-9. The elite goaltending the Jets were getting has also started to dry up, and the team is turning to Laurent Brossoit tonight to give Connor Hellebuyck a breather.

A date with the Senators is hardly the get-right spot it was early in the year, either. Ottawa's played really well of late, winning six of its last eight and posting an impressive 54.35 xGF% at five-on-five over the last month - a top-10 mark in the league. There's way too much value here with the hosts to pass up.

Pick: Senators (+135)

Stars (+125) @ Panthers (-145)

One of the few playoff spots still up for grabs is in the Central Division, where the Stars are desperately trying to catch the Predators for fourth place. Dallas might need to win out to have a realistic chance with just five games left, and it begins tonight in Florida.

The Stars are getting a bit of a break here as the red-hot Sam Bennett will sit for the Panthers with an upper-body injury, joining Carter Verhaeghe and Patric Hornqvist in the press box. Spencer Knight will also get the start with Chris Driedger still injured, creating all sorts of value on the Stars at this number.

Pick: Stars (+125)

Alex Moretto is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, despises how the NHL handles starting goalie announcements, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

NHL Monday betting preview: Stars holding on for dear life
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