NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Sharks vs. Kings
Andrew Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Fiala
- The Los Angeles Kings host the San Jose Sharks in NHL action late on Wednesday night.
- L.A. is a significant favorite, but advanced metrics say it's not quite as good as its record so far this season.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Sharks vs. Kings Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Sharks and the Kings are a fun rivalry, but its been one-sided so far this season. The Kings earned a 5-2 victory in San Jose on Nov. 25 then followed up with a 3-2 shootout win against the Sharks on Dec. 17.
At a glance, those results weren’t surprising given Los Angeles’ strong play this season coupled with the Sharks’ seeming race to the bottom.
To make matters worse for San Jose, Wednesday’s contest will be the second half of a back-to-back while the Kings will be rested and at home. So is there any reason to believe Los Angeles isn’t on track for a third straight victory against the Sharks?
Sleeping San Jose Sharks
The Sharks started the season with a five-game losing streak and things haven’t gotten any better from there. Their best winning streak was a three-game stretch from Nov. 11-15 and at the time of writing, San Jose has already endured six losing streaks of at least three games. If the Sharks are defeated by Arizona on Tuesday, it will be the seventh time they’ve had a losing streak reach three games.
The Sharks are tied for the 21st-ranked offense with 3.05 goals per game, and they hold the 28th-ranked defense with 3.68 goals per game. In short, the Sharks have been bad, but even they aren’t without their silver linings.
Erik Karlsson is having his best season in a while and perhaps the best of his career. He leads all defensemen with 13 goals and 54 points in 41 contests. No Sharks player is close to him in scoring race, but forwards Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture are all having great campaigns with 40, 37 and 33 points respectively. It hasn’t been enough on most nights, but it at least gives the Sharks a fighting chance.
San Jose has also killed 84% of their penalties, which is second in the league behind only Boston. The Sharks don’t allow a ton of shots — just 30.2 per game, which is 11th best. It’s just a shame those defensive achievements haven’t reflected better on San Jose’s goaltending.
James Reimer has a 7-12-3 record, 3.22 GAA and .895 save percentage in 22 games while Kaapo Kahkonen has fared even worse with a 4-7-4 record, 3.79 GAA and .869 save percentage in 16 starts.
False Los Angeles Kings?
With a 24-14-6 record, the Kings are a close second in the Pacific Division and tied for the second-best record in the Western Conference. And yet, on paper, they’re not a dominate team.
Los Angeles ranks 11th offensively with 3.27 goals per game, so they’ve been good, but not amazing in that regard. The Kings are noteworthy for number of weapons they have though.
Kevin Fiala has led the charge with 15 goals and 46 points in 44 contests this season, and he’s one of just six players with at least 10 goals. That beats the Sharks’ four players who have reached double-digits in terms of goals.
The problem, though, is the Kings also have the 21st-ranked defense with 3.36 goals per game, which slightly counterbalances their offense, leaving Los Angeles with a minus-1 goal differential. While that’s small, being negative at all is surprising given their record. The next worst goal differential among the league’s top-10 teams is Carolina, which stands at plus-19.
Looking at it another way, the Kings have an expected goals differential of plus-8.71, per Moneypuck, which at least looks better than just their raw goals differential. However, the Sharks with their far inferior record, have an expected goals differential of plus-3.942, so by that measure Los Angeles doesn’t look like much better of a team.
Sharks vs. Kings Pick
Even with those concerns, it’s hard not to see how Los Angeles has an edge against the lowly Sharks. There is an argument to be made that the odds are favoring them a bit too much, though. Taking Los Angeles on FanDuel’s moneyline offers a potential payout of -215 while the Sharks are at +176. The puck line +1.5 goals toward San Jose, but that causes the possible return for taking the Sharks to drop to -138 while Los Angeles climbs to +112.
I’m not a huge fan of any of those bets weighed against the odds. Instead, I’m going to recommend taking the Kings on BetMGM‘s 3-way, which means I’m suggesting Los Angeles will win in regulation time. The upside there is the Kings don’t have to beat the spread while the potential payout is -125 — far greater than if you were to simply take Los Angeles on the moneyline. The tradeoff is you’d lose even if the Kings win in overtime or the shootout, but I think that’s a fair risk to take.
If the odds between the Sharks on the puck line and the Kings on the 3-Way become close to even, then I would recommend going with the Sharks on the puck line instead. Please note that at the time of writing, the Sharks on the puck line have better odds on FanDuel rather than BetMGM, so if that’s the direction you decide to go in, then be sure to check out FanDuel.
Pick: Los Angeles 3-Way -125 (play down to -135)