Kings-Blackhawks Preview: A Struggling Team Provides Value

Kings-Blackhawks Preview: A Struggling Team Provides Value article feature image

Gary A. Vazquez, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Drew Doughty

Betting odds: Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks

  • Kings moneyline: +130
  • Blackhawks moneyline: -150
  • Over/Under: 5.5 (-125/+105)
  • Puck drop: 8:30 p.m. ET

>> All odds as of 12 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NHL odds and track your bets

The Los Angeles Kings are a mess. They are in last place in the NHL with 11 points, have already fired their coach and have scored the fewest goals this season.

Under the hood things do not much better, but they are better. The Kings are a below-average Corsi team at 48.1% and they only generate 9.23 high-danger scoring chances and 1.96 expected goals for per 60 minutes at 5v5. The Kings are offensively challenged but they should expect to see some positive regression in that area. Los Angeles currently owns the third-worst 5v5 shooting percentage at 5.83%, which is well below the league average.

Defensively, the Kings are sound. They allow the third-fewest high-danger scoring chances and expected goals against per 60 minutes in the league. That type of defensive structure will be important tonight as the Kings will be turning to unknown quantity Cal Petersen in goal against the Blackhawks.

Chicago, meanwhile, will likely have Corey Crawford in goal. Crawford is one of the league’s best netminders and gives the ‘Hawks a big edge in the blue paint, even though Crawford hasn’t come out of the gates hot since returning from a long injury layoff.

The Blackhawks haven’t made life easy on the 33-year-old, though. Chicago allows the second-most high-danger chances and fourth-most expected goals per 60 minutes in the NHL. That is why I think the Kings could actually have some success tonight.

I actually think the Kings should matchup well with the Blackhawks in this one and the gap between these two teams isn’t as wide as the market suggests right now. At the current consensus number (Blackhawks -150), Chicago has an implied probability of 60% and that means on neutral ice they’d be roughly -133 favorites, which overrates Chicago.

It’s never fun to put your money on a complete unknown in goal, but this matchup plays into the strengths of the underdog and I’d play Los Angeles at +125 or above.

The Bet: Los Angeles Kings +130

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