NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Kings vs. Oilers (March 30)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Kings vs. Oilers (March 30) article feature image

Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid.

  • The Oilers are heavy favorites tonight against the Kings.
  • Edmonton has been red hot of late under Jay Woodcroft.
  • Carol Schram breaks down whether bettors should back the Oilers again.

Kings vs. Oilers Odds

Kings Odds+165
Oilers Odds-200
Over/Under6.5 (-105 / -115)
Time9:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

We've got a huge Pacific Division matchup on tap on Wednesday, as the Los Angeles Kings visit the Edmonton Oilers.

The Kings currently hold a two-point edge in the standings, but are riddled with injuries and coming off a 6-1 home-ice loss to Seattle on Monday night. And while the Oilers are 2-2-1 in their last five games, their 6-1 win over Arizona on Monday extended their current home winning streak to seven games.

Wednesday marks the third of four meetings between the two sides this year. Each team has logged one solid road win, with the Kings winning 5-1 in Edmonton in December and the Oilers grabbing a 5-2 victory at Crypto.com Arena in mid-February. The season series will wrap up next Thursday in Los Angeles.

Here's the latest on both teams, and your best bet for Wednesday night.

Injuries Potentially Hindering Kings

It has been a successful season for the Kings. They sit second in the Pacific Division heading into Wednesday's contest and look poised to return to the playoffs for the first time in four years.

But injuries have been an issue all season long and continue to loom large.

On the blue line, Los Angeles is missing Drew Doughty, Sean Walker, Matt Roy and Mikey Anderson. Up front, Dustin Brown, Andreas Athanasiou, Brendan Lemieux and Blake Lizotte are all sidelined.

And while the Kings boast one of the deepest prospect pools in the league, it's hard to imagine that coach Todd McLellan was expecting to coach his 1,000th career NHL game on Monday night with a roster that included six rookies — forwards Quinton Byfield, Arthur Kaliyev and Rasmus Kupari and defensemen Sean Durzi, Jordan Spence and Jacob Moverare.

Despite the roster holes, the Kings have been keeping their heads above water. They're 4-4-2 in their last 10 games, but have played eight of those 10 on home ice. For the season, they're an impressive 18-9-5 on the road, but their last two road games have been big losses — 5-0 to San Jose on March 12 and 5-1 against Vegas on March 19.

Wednesday's game kicks off a 3-in-4 Kings road trip through Western Canada. They'll also touch down in Calgary on Thursday and Winnipeg on Saturday.

Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen have basically been splitting goaltending duties. Petersen has started the last two games, so Quick looks due to get the nod in Edmonton on Wednesday. Both have similar personal stat lines and won-lost records, but Quick has a much higher 14.5 goals saved above expected for the year, compared to -2.7 for Petersen.

For all their issues, the Kings have played a strong puck possession game at 5-on-5, ranking seventh with an expected goals rate of 53.26% and keeping that number consistent even through the last 10 games. Special teams have been an issue, though. They rank 28th overall on the power play and 25th on the penalty kill, and they're currently in a five-game power-play goal drought, as well as giving up three goals to Seattle while shorthanded in the last two games.

Edmonton Streaking Into Contention

After nearly falling out of the playoff race a few weeks ago, the Edmonton Oilers have surged back. Even with that embarrassing 9-5 loss in Calgary last weekend, they're 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. They also hold the tiebreakers against the Kings: if they win in regulation on Wednesday, they'll take over second place in the Pacific.

Over the last 10 games, the Oilers sit slightly ahead of the Kings in expected goals at 5-on-5, controlling 54.33% of the share. Edmonton's 4.80 goals per game during that stretch leads all teams, and the 33.3% power-play success rate is tied for second best.

That run support has helped give the Oilers' goaltenders some breathing room. Mikko Koskinen is confirmed as starter for Wednesday's game and is riding a personal five-game home winning streak. He has an 8-2-1 record since Jay Woodcroft took over behind the bench on Feb. 10, but his save percentage of .904 and 3.03 goals-against average over that stretch are still nowhere near the level of the NHL's top stoppers.

Unlike their opponent, the Oilers are basically healthy. The only expected absence is defenseman Kris Russell, who was placed in COVID protocol on Monday.

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Kings vs. Oilers Pick

The Pacific Division is still somewhat volatile in terms of final playoff positioning. But if the postseason started today, we'd see the Kings in Edmonton for Game 1 of the 2nd-vs-3rd-place matchup.

While the road team has prevailed in the previous two meetings between these clubs this season, that should change on Wednesday. Look for the Oilers to take advantage of their strong special teams and extend their home winning streak to six games against a tremendously undermanned Kings squad.

A puck line play offers good value.

Pick: Oilers -1.5 (+125); play down to +100

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