Avalanche vs. Kings | NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Adrian Kempe.
- The Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings square off on Saturday night in a battle between NHL Western Conference playoff teams.
- The Kings have lost two straight, but they have value on the moneyline in a bounce-back spot.
- Continue reading for Ryan Dadoun’s Avalanche vs. Kings preview and pick.
Avalanche vs. Kings Odds
|Over/Under||6 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Avalanche and the Kings have each secured a playoff berth, but both still have plenty left to compete for before the postseason begins. Colorado is in a three-way battle for the top spot in the Central Division while Los Angeles can climb as high as second in the Pacific or drift down to a wild-card slot.
With plenty at stake, who will come out ahead on Saturday? Continue reading for my Avalanche vs. Kings preview and betting pick.
The defending Stanley Cup champions have been tested by injuries all season — that will be the case again on Saturday. In addition to missing Gabriel Landeskog (knee) and Artturi Lehkonen (finger), the Avalanche are likely to be without star defenseman Cale Makar (lower body). That’s a lot of high-end talent out of the lineup. Colorado will also be missing a couple complementary players in Josh Manson (lower body) and Darren Helm (lower body). Every team has injuries, but the Avalanche have endured more than their fair share.
Colorado, however, has done an impressive job adapting. Even with noteworthy absences, the Avalanche can’t be counted out in Los Angeles. The Avalanche still feature an effective attack led by Nathan MacKinnon (37 goals, 104 points), Mikko Rantanen (52 goals, 98 points) and Valeri Nichushkin (17 goals, 44 points in 48 appearances).
The projected absence of Makar doesn’t leave them devoid of offense from the blue line either. Defenseman Bowen Byram has been particularly effective lately with three goals and five points over his last six contests while Devon Toews has four assists over his last four contests.
In net, Colorado is likely to feature Alexandar Georgiev, who has won his last three games while posting a 2.29 GAA and .915 save percentage in that span. He’s been a key part of the Avalanche’s success with a 37-16-5 record, 2.53 GAA and .918 save percentage in 58 outings.
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings aren’t the model of perfect health either. Los Angeles’ injury situation arguably isn’t as bad as Colorado’s, but the Kings might still be without one of their top forwards in Kevin Fiala (lower body) and an important secondary scorer in Gabriel Vilardi (upper body).
Without Fiala and Vilardi, Los Angeles managed just three goals over its losses to Edmonton and Vegas, so there is certainly cause for concern if those two can’t play. Still, the Kings have other options. Anze Kopitar, Adrian Kempe and Viktor Arvidsson have each contributed at least 25 goals and 55 points this season. That trio didn’t step up in the Kings’ past two contests, but they might get going again.
It’s not clear who will get the start for the Kings, but there’s a good chance it will be Pheonix Copley. He’s done well lately, saving 77-of-80 shots over his last three outings, and he has been decent throughout the campaign with a 24-5-3 record, 2.60 GAA and .905 save percentage in 36 contests.
He has benefited from Los Angeles’ strong defense. The Kings’ expected goals allowed in 2022-23 is 230.94, per moneypuck, which is tied for the seventh-fewest in the league. Whoever deserves the credit though, the outcome is the same: Los Angeles typically does well when Copley is between the pipes.
It doesn’t hurt that the Kings won their first two meetings against Colorado — a 5-4 shootout victory on Dec. 29 and a a 5-2 win March 9 — so Los Angeles will be entering this contest looking for the series sweep.
Avalanche vs. Kings Pick
Even with the game in Los Angeles, Colorado is the oddsmakers’ favorite on the moneyline — but not by much. That’s understandable, especially given how hot the Avalanche have been lately, winning 12 of their last 14.
Los Angeles is a real threat and its squad might get some reinforcements in Fiala and/or Vilardi. Neither is guaranteed to be back, but the odds of either returning appears to be higher than Colorado seeing any of its key injured players dress.
I see this game as basically even with both squads having a fair shot at victory. To say that the Avalanche are moderate favorites in this spot somewhat underestimates what the Kings are capable of. So in a toss-up like this, I’d rather chase the bigger payout.
If you want a safer bet though, an alternative would be to take the Kings on the puck line — the spread is 1.5 goals in their favor. The potential payout is poor, but this should be a close game, so I feel good about Los Angeles at least beating the spread even if it ultimately loses.
Pick: Kings ML (+106 | Play to -105)
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