Los Angeles Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers Odds, Pick & Preview: Over/Under Has Value in Game 1
Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid
- The Oilers are home favorites on Monday night against the Kings in Game 1.
- Can the Kings defense hold the Oilers in check to pull the upset?
- Greg Liodice breaks down this matchup and shares his best bet below.
Kings vs. Oilers Game 1 Odds
|Series Moneyline||LAK +200/EDM -250|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.|
It may not be the holiday season, but it’s certainly the most wonderful time of the year.
That leads us to Sunday, when Los Angeles flies north of the border to a raucous Edmonton crowd that has been begging for a winning team for years.
LA made some serious moves in the offseason, but no one expected them to make a jump like this, pleasantly surprising the doubters. They finished the season 44-27-11 with 99 points.
Edmonton, on the other hand, had all the expectations in the world, and seemed like they were destined to disappoint. It really came to fruition when they fired Dave Tippett and made Jay Woodcroft as interim coach.
Since, the Oilers have posted a 26-9-3 record with Woodcroft behind the bench.
|Stat||Los Angeles Kings||Edmonton Oilers|
|Goals For per 60 minutes (5-on-5)||2.3||2.7|
|Expected Goals per 60 (5-on-5)||2.8||2.7|
|High-Danger Chances/60 (5-on-5)||12.8||11.9|
|High-Danger Chances Allowed/60 (5-on-5)||11.4||11|
|Power Play %||16.1%||26.1%|
|Penalty Kill %||76.7%||79.2%|
|Save % (projected starting goalie)||.909||.914|
|Goals Saved Above Expectation||+12||+6.9|
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
Oilers Figured it Out Down the Stretch
The Oilers can pack a punch with their devastating firepower thanks to Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but acquiring Evander Kane has done wonders for this franchise. As good as McDavid and Draisaitl have been, it’s typically always been on their shoulders. With Kane, they at least have a buffer.
In April, the Oilers have done a great job controlling play, ranking in the top 10 in expected goals with a 51.74 xGF%.
What’s fascinating is that many believed they were lottery bound at one point. After a very strong start to the season, Edmonton lost seven in a row after the COVID break, and it seemed that things were falling apart in Northern Alberta. When Woodcroft came aboard, it instilled confidence that the Oilers haven’t had since 2017.
Along with Kane, they made some quality depth acquisitions during the trade deadline that helped bolster both ends of the ice. Brett Kulak and Derick Brassard both provide this team with exceptional experience and steadiness that the Oilers have needed.
Kings Still a Defensive Stalwart
The Kings are so different from the Oilers, so this should be an intriguing duel.
Even though they have a superstar in Anze Kopitar, he’s not deadly as a McDavid or Draisaitl. Adrian Kempe, however, was an immediate bright spot, becoming an All-Star with 35 goals. Center Philip Danault has always been heralded as one of the top two-way centers, but this season had himself a career year, netting 27 goals.
Despite the hot offensive production from their top guys, team scoring was never their M.O., as they only managed to score 2.87 goals per game, and no player topped 70 points all season.
In April, LA really dominated play, ranking seventh in expected goals with a 54.41 xGF%. It can pose a problem for Edmonton considering the Oilers have always been a wishy-washy team defensively.
One of the kickers is that the Kings will be missing Drew Doughty. The superstar defenseman was having a great season before injuring himself in March, and many thought the defense would slip. But it hasn’t missed a step one bit as LA managed to pick up the slack behind him.
They’re close to the same team they were when they started in September. GM Rob Blake has a ton of faith in what he built, as the only acquisition he made over the deadline was defenseman Troy Stecher, a steady presence who can also help with the culture in SoCal.
Kings vs. Oilers Pick
Both teams are specialized in different ways. While Edmonton can dazzle you with its high-end talent, Los Angeles can lull you to sleep with its structure and defensive capabilities.
Special teams can be a bit of a difference though, as LA may be a great defensive team 5-on-5, but they can’t stop the puck when down a man. Their penalty kill is among the worst with a 76.6% success rate, while the Oilers are a top-three power play unit, scoring at a 26.1% clip.
Both teams have been pretty underwhelming in the crease all season, but it hasn’t mattered much, given where they are now. Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen seemingly swapped starts all year, but it looks like the veteran Quick will be the guy moving forward. After a few rough seasons, Quick has managed to have a resurgent campaign with a .910 SV% and a +17.8 GSAx.
On the other side, it looks like Mike Smith will be the guy moving forward. The 40-year-old got hot at the right time. After a very rough season, battling injuries and inconsistent play, Smith went undefeated in April. Goalies are typically hard to predict, especially given Smith’s age, but the veteran has managed to produce at a high level by the time the lights get brighter.
Sportsbooks have favored Edmonton by a large margin, as they’re a -250 favorite in this series, and all signs point to this being a healthy series. Both teams have two different strengths, and they can counter their strengths with one another.
While the Oilers have struggled to sustain any playoff success in the past few years, I do see them making the jump and advancing to the next round. An Edmonton win in 6 games is a healthy bet at +350.
For Game 1, I’m betting the under at 6.5. I don’t think Edmonton’s offense will fully dominate they way it did against many of the Pacific Division’s weaker teams. The playoffs are always tight checking, and McDavid was limited in the playoffs last season.
Pick: Game 1: Under 6.5 (-115) | Series: Edmonton wins 4-2 (+350).