NHL Picks: Kings vs. Blues Game 1

PJ Laferla

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 1:44 PM GMT

The Los Angeles Kings will begin their title defense tonight on the road in the first game of the best of seven Conference Quarterfinals series when they visit the Scottrade Center to take on the St. Louis Blues.


NHL Game 1 Pick: Kings (5) vs. Blues (4)

Game time is schedule for 8:05 PM EST and can be seen live on television, with broadcast coverage provided by the Prime Ticket (Los Angeles) and FSN Midwest (St. Louis).

Online sportsbooks such as Bookmaker have listed the Blues as-125 money line favorites on the NHL odds boards, while posting an over/under number of 5 goals, with a hefty price tag of -160 on the UNDER.

If you want to back St. Louis and are looking for better value, you have the option of giving up 1½ goals on the puck line, which offers a generous return of +220. However, the Blues will need to win by at least two goals for the wager to be graded as a winner.

Now, let’s evaluate each team and determine where the best value lies for our NHL picks in this matchup.

[gameodds]7/228263/43/us[/gameodds]

Los Angeles Kings

The Kings played poorly on the road to finish off the regular season and failed to record a win, going 0-4-2 in their last six played on the highway. Tonight it won’t get an easier, as they face a Blues team, which won their final six regular season games at home.

However, Los Angeles has had success against Central Division opponents as of late, going 6-1 in their last seven. They are also 4-1 in their last five Conference Quarterfinals matchups.

The Kings are 8-3-2 OVER in their last 13 games played on the road and 4-0-4 in their last eight when playing on two full days of rest.

St. Louis Blues

The Blues enter postseason play with strong goaltending, which has proven to be the cornerstone of the team. Brian Elliott was a stellar 11-2-0 in the month of April and turned out to be a great substitute for Jaroslav Halak, who has been out of action nursing a groin injury.

Besides finishing strong at home, St. Louis has had a longer track record of winning games on their home ice, going 47-22 in their last 67 at the Scottrade Center. They are also 6-1 in their last seven versus Western Conference opponents and 5-1 in their last six versus teams from the Pacific Division.

St. Louis is 16-3-3 UNDER in their last 22 games overall and 13 of 18 played at home.

Kings vs. Blues Series & Picks

Head to Head

The Kings are an impressive 4-0 in their last four games versus the Blues in St. Louis and 10-1 in their last 11 overall.

The UNDER is 8-3-2 in the last 13 games between these two teams when meeting up in St. Louis.

This will be the fourth time these two adversaries will meet in the postseason, with the first three ending in series sweeps. The Blues took the brooms out back in 1969 and then Kings returned the favor in 1998 and once more last season.

NHL Free Pick

Even though this is a road game for the Kings, where they have been struggling, I like them this in this spot as underdogs against the Blues.

Kings +115 On The Money Line