The Los Angeles Kings are hoping a change in scenery will help them get back into the Western Conference Finals after dropping the first two games of the series against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.
Down 2-0 in the series, the Kings will play on their home ice for Games 3 and 4, with the first of the two set to face off tonight at 9:00 pm EST from the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Will the Blackhawks take a commanding 3-0 and push the Kings to the brink of elimination or will Los Angeles capitalize from the support of their hometown fans rocking the Staples Center and turn this back into a competitive series?
Join us as we breakdown this matchup and decide where the best value lies for our NHL picks.
Sportsbooks are siding with the home team in this pivotal Game 3 matchup, listing the Kings as -130 favorites on the money line, while offering a return of +110 on the Blackhawks.
Supporters of Los Angeles also have the option of giving up -1½ goals, with an extremely generous payback of +230 on the NHL odds. Taking the +1 ½ with Chicago comes at a heavy price of -270.
The games total is coming in at just 4 ½ goals, but with a price of -140 on the over, while under gets you back +120 on the NHL odds. The Kings have stayed under the number in four of their last five games played at home. The Blackhawks are 9-1-1 under in their last 11 played on the highway.
The Blackhawks have the Kings on the ropes and they know how important it is to keep pressing forward – especially coming off their second round matchup against the Red Wings. Detroit failed to close Chicago out and let them back in the series, which they eventually won in seven games.
After winning the first two games of this series, the Blackhawks have now moved to a perfect 6-0 in their last six Western Conference Finals games. Additionally, they are an impressive 5-1 in their last 6 against the Kings when facing them at the Staples Center.
The defending champions have been virtually unbeatable on their home ice and they are hoping to continue the trend for at least the next two games. The Kings have dropped just four games at Staples Center in regulation during the regular season. Furthermore, the Kings have won 14 straight at home since March – a span that is approaching three full months.
Going back even further, Los Angeles is an astounding 41-12 in their last 53 games played at home and 21-10 versus Central Division opponents.
I believe the Kings will come alive in this matchup and take care of business on their home ice as they have done all season. I especially like the -130 price that comes with backing Los Angeles in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.NHL Free Pick: LA Kings -130 at bet365