Kings-Capitals Betting Preview: Will Washington’s Struggles Continue?
Gary A. Vasquez, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Drew Doughty
Betting odds: Los Angeles Kings at Washington Capitals
- Kings moneyline: +188
- Capitals moneyline: -210
- Over/Under: 5.5
- Puck drop: 7 p.m. ET
Season record: 36-38, +11.72 units
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If you look at the NHL standings it would make sense that the Washington Capitals are sizable favorites over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.
The Caps have 67 points thanks to a 30-18-7 record and own a plus-10 goal differential. The defending champs are a near-lock to make the postseason and should be in the mix for the Metropolitan Division title when all is said and done.
The Kings are a different story with a 23-27-5 record, 51 points and a -33 goal differential in the same amount of games played. Los Angeles is not going to make the playoffs and has already started to sell off assets ahead of the trade deadline.
But a deeper look reveals that these teams are a little bit closer than the odds suggest.
Washington allows 2.72 expected goals against and 13.08 high-danger chances per 60 minutes, both of which rank in the bottom three league-wide.
The Capitals clearly have trouble suppressing scoring chances and over their last 10 games things have gotten worse, as the Caps have allowed 15 high-danger chances and 65 shot attempts per 60 minutes in that span.
Every team ebbs and flows in an 82-game season, but the Caps are certainly struggling at the moment.
Los Angeles, on the other hand, has found a little bit of a grove over the last two weeks. In their last 10 games the Kings have a 6-2-2 record and a 55.1% Goals For percentage.
The Kings’ biggest flaw is that they lack any real punch on offense. They average the fewest high-danger scoring chances per 60 in the NHL and their 2.17 xGF/60 is the third-worst mark in the circuit.
Defensively things are more promising for Willie Desjardins’ charges. The Kings allow 2.32 xGA/60 and 10.2 high-danger chances against per 60, so it’s pretty clear that this is a defense-first outfit.
That type of matchup should suit Los Angeles backers at these odds, as there’s a clear path to success. The Kings’ anemic offense should hopefully create some scoring opportunities against a poor Washington defense and LA’s strong defense has a chance to slow down Alex Ovechkin and his merry band of sharpshooters.
Even though Washington is the better team and should be expected to win this game, this number is too high. At the current odds, the Capitals have an implied probability of 66.1% assuming no vigorish. That number overrates Washington’s chances in this game and I’d suggest playing the Kings down to +175.
The Bet: Los Angeles Kings +188