Hockey betting action continues on Wednesday night with Game 1 of the 1/8 series in the Western Conference, as the Vancouver Canucks look to take down the Los Angeles Kings.
The Kings had themselves a terrible season offensively, and just one quick glance at the teams that are competing with them in the playoffs shows just that. LA scored just 2.3 goals per game this year, ranking second to last in the entire league. There are definitely some players on this team that can get the job done, though. Anze Kopitar is always a threat for a big game, and the combination of Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, and the newly acquired Jeff Carter can really do some damage. However, if the Kings are going to come into British Columbia and take a game or more in this series on the road, it is going to be on the back of Jonathan Quick. In other years, Quick would be the Vezina Trophy winner. He had 35 wins and a 1.95 GAA this year, and he was the man that was most responsible for getting this team to the playoffs. With a better offense in front of him, he could have won 45 games on the campaign, and that surely would have made him the Vezina winner with no other changes in his stats.
And then there’s Vancouver, a team that seemingly wins the Presidents’ Trophy every single season, only to ultimately fall flat on its face in the playoffs. The reason? Roberto Luongo has never been able to play as well in the postseason as he has in the regular season, and it is the reason that the Canucks haven’t been able to hoist a Stanley Cup. There isn’t a team that would die for better goaltending in the playoffs than this one, and though Luongo did post a respectable 15-10 record in the postseason last year, he was also sat down in favor of Cory Schneider against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round, which had to hurt his confidence. Vancouver really needs to get Daniel Sedin back in the fold, as he hasn’t played in well over a month. He and his brother, Henrik Sedin make up arguably the most lethal combination of forwards in the league. Without them together, this offense just isn’t the same, as there aren’t all that many others that can take over a game like these two can.
The Final Word: If there is a game that the Kings can steal in this series on the road, this is the one. Sedin isn’t likely to suit with that concussion, and if he sits, Quick has the goods to get the job done. This is a hefty price on an LA team that really legitimately has a shot at winning this first round series.
Los Angeles Kings @ Vancouver Canucks Free Pick: Los Angeles Kings +160
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.