NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Wild vs. Kings (November 8)
Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Eriksson and Marc-Andre Fleury defend the Wild’s goal against Anze Kopitar
Wild vs. Kings Odds
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Los Angeles earned a crazy 7-6 victory over Minnesota on Oct. 15, which immediately begs the question: Is Tuesday's game going to be another goal fest? Over 6.5 looks awfully tempting, but first, let's dig deeper to see what has and hasn't changed over the past few weeks.
Minnesota lost its first three games of the season in no small part due to its defense and goaltending.
Marc-Andre Fleury and Filip Gustavsson combined to allow 19 goals over those first three games with a 20th goal against coming on an empty net. The loss to Los Angeles came during that ugly start, but things have been a better for Minnesota since.
The Wild are 5-2-1 over their last eight game. And while they rank 25th defensively with 3.64 goals against per game, those numbers are heavily skewed by that weak start: Dating back to Oct. 20, they actually have the seventh-best defense with an average of 2.50 goals allowed.
Meanwhile, Minnesota's offense has been good enough, but nothing special. The Wild clearly miss forward Kevin Fiala, who had 33 goals and 85 points with Minnesota last season, but was dealt to Los Angeles over the summer for cap reasons.
It does help that Matt Boldy has stepped up, scoring six goals and 10 points in 11 contests so far in his sophomore season. Mats Zuccarello and Kirill Kaprizov are also largely meeting expectations with 12 and 13 points, respectively. The Wild lack offensive depth, though — those three, along with Joel Eriksson Ek, are the only players on the team with at least three goals. By contrast, the Avs — who have also played 11 games thus far — have six players who have reached that milestone.
The Wild have averaged 3.09 goals per game, which puts them in the middle of the pack at 17th place offensively. Good, but nothing special and a far cry from their 3.72 goals per game last season. At least their goaltending has stabilized though, which is more than can be said for the Kings.
Not Fit for Kings
The Kings have an okay 7-6-1 record, but have yet to win a contest in which they scored fewer than four goals, with the arguable exception of their 4-3 shootout victory on Oct. 18 against the Predators.
Part of that speaks to the Kings' strength offensively. Fiala is working out nicely in Los Angeles, providing three goals and 14 points in 14 games this season. Gabriel Vilardi is finally living up to expectations with nine goals and 14 points. Anze Kopitar is still playing like Anze Kopitar, contributing two goals and 12 points.
The Kings have scoring depth, too, with 12 players who have recorded at least two goals.
Los Angeles still isn't a top-tier team offensively, but its 3.43 goals per game is still good for 11th place in the NHL. If nothing else, that's a significant step up from 2021-22, when the Kings ranked 20th offensively with an average of 2.87 goals.
The Kings have needed that offense to power them through, though, because their goaltending has been lacking. Jonathan Quick bounced back in 2021-22 after a few disappointing campaigns, but that might have been his last hurrah. At 36, he's 4-4-1 with a 3.34 GAA and .890 save percentage in 10 games this season.
Calvin Petersen isn't a great alternative, either — he's 3-2-0 with a 4.30 GAA and .868 save percentage in five contests.
Unlike the Wild, whose goaltending numbers are held down by a poor start to the season, that isn't the case for the Kings. Even if you look at their last three games, they've surrendered 11 goals. To be fair, there have been games in which the Kings have held the fort — Quick, specifically, has three contests in which he's allowed two or fewer goals. Their goaltenders just haven't been nearly reliable enough.
Wild vs. Kings Pick
With Minnesota's goaltending doing better than it was at the start of the season, the over is a riskier bet. In fact, I'm going to recommend the under.
It's true that the Kings' goaltending has been leaky, but the Wild's offense hasn't exactly been stunning, either. As noted above, they lack scoring depth and is overall fairly mediocre — "mediocre " might actually overselling how the Wild's forwards have performed recently.
Since Oct. 20, the Wild have scored just 2.75 goals per game, which puts them tied with the Coyotes for 26th place. Right now, the Wild aren't the best positioned team to take advantage of the Kings' goaltending — their strong defensive play lately should keep them into the game regardless, but this is shaping up to be a low-scoring affair.
These are also fairly evenly-matched teams, so predicting a winner would be like flipping a coin. Minnesota is the better team, and the fact that the spread is 1.5 goals in its favor makes the Wild an easy choice on the puck line. But the Wild on the puck line is just -275, so that's not a particularly great payout. You could still take them on the moneyline, if you wanted, but this under is a better balance of risk and potential reward.
Pick: Under 6.5 -120 (to -140)