NHL Picks: Predators vs. Kings

David Lawrence

Thursday, January 31, 2013 1:22 PM GMT

The Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators both made impressive runs in the playoffs last season. But if you look up at the standings today, neither team would even qualify for the postseason.

NHL Betting – Predators vs. Kings NHL Picks

Combined, both teams have won just three of their 11 games. One of these two teams will add to their win total on Thursday as they square off at the STAPLES Center.

The Nashville Predators can win because…

The Kings have been wildly inconsistent this season. On one hand, the Kings do enter the game on a two-game winning streak but people making their sports picks can’t be too confident laying this kind of juice with a team that scored their first power play goal on Monday. Prior to Jeff Carter’s tally on the man-advantage, the Kings had failed to score on their other 23 opportunities.

Beyond that, the Kings only two wins have come against a struggling Phoenix Coyotes team and a Vancouver Canucks squad that hasn’t been like their usual selves.

This game will be played at Nashville’s pace. They like low-scoring, nip-tuck affairs and that’s exactly what this will be. If they can somehow eke out a goal, that might be all they need to get the two points.

The Los Angeles Kings can win because…

The Predators can’t even score goals. While the Kings have scored a mere 10 goals in five games this season, the Predators have done even worse with just 11 goals in six games. Nashville has scored just two goals in their last three games while getting shutout twice. As long as the Kings don’t do anything stupid, they should be able to keep the Predators under wraps on Thursday.

The NHL odds makers have made the Kings a big home favorite not because of anything they’ve accomplished this season but rather because of how big of a failure Nashville has been. While everyone wants to point to their futile offense, it might be worth noting that their defense hasn’t been stellar either. They’ve allowed at least three goals in five of their six games this season while last year’s Vezina candidate, Pekka Rinne, has yet to win a single game.

One of the reasons why Nashville is struggling so much is that they’ve been dealt a challenging schedule to start the season. They’re in the midst of a seven-game road trip and they’ve only played two home games so far this season. This will be stop No. 5 and clearly, the away games are starting to wear them down.

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:

The Predators have had a couple of days off to regroup and that should lead to an improved defensive effort. Whether it helps their offense remains to be seen as their offense looks like it’s lacking talent, not rest.

On the flip side, the Kings are also laboring to score goals. Add 'under' the number to your hockey picks.Unless one of these teams takes a slew of penalties, betting under the total should be the money ticket. 

NHL Picks: Under 5 at Bodog

Don't forget tosS get the edge on this Thursday's matchups by reading my Hockey Picks of the Day!