The puck drops for Game 1 tonight at the Staples Center, and the matchup is slated to get underway at 7 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast nationally on the NBC Sports Network
San Jose finished the regular season in sixth place in the West and drew No.3 Vancouver in the opening round. After stunning the Canucks 3-1 in the series opener as 130 road underdogs, the Sharks kept the pressure on by sweeping the series with four straight wins by a combined score of 15-8. The total went OVER in the final two games of that series. The NHL odds for this series have San Jose listed as a +135 underdog with the Kings opened as 155 favorites.
This team’s success during the regular season hinged on the play of its defense after averaging just 2.4 goals a game, but its ability to average 3.75 goals against the Canucks had to be a welcomed sign. Another huge plus is the continued solid play of Antti Niemi in goal, who had a goals-against-average of 1.86 in the opening series after posting a 2.16 GAA in 43 regular season games. He stopped 118 of the 126 Vancouver shots he faced for a save percentage of .937.
The Kings started their defense of last season’s Stanley Cup title with a 4-2 series victory over St. Louis. They lost the first two games on the road by identical 2-1 scores before rattling off four-straight wins that all had a margin of victory of just one goal. The total stayed UNDER in four of the six games as the Kings only averaged 2.0 goals in the six games. That actually proved to be enough behind a stifling defense that held St. Louis to a total of 10 goals.
Johnathan Quick has appeared to regain the form that led to winning the MVP award in last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. He went the distance in goal in the opening round and comes into this matchup with a GAA of 1.58 and a .944 save percentage in the postseason. This was after he struggled at times during the regular season with a 2.45 GAA in 37 games. If he continues to perform at his current level, our NHL picks on who will win this series would have to swing in Los Angeles’ favor.
Sharks vs. Kings Betting Lines and Trends
Bet365 has opened the Sharks as 140 road underdogs on the money line for Game 1 with Los Angeles listed as a 160 home favorite. The total line for this contest has been set at 5.
The Sharks are 11-4 in their last 15 games following a win but just 17-35 in their last 52 games on the road. The total has stayed UNDER in five of their last eight road games.
The Kings are 37-14 in their last 51 home games and 7-1 in their last eight games playing on three or more days’ rest. The total has stayed UNDER in six of their last nine games.
Head-to-head in this division rivalry, the home team is 9-1 in the last 10 meetings and the total has gone OVER in four of the last seven games. This season’s series was split 2-2 with the home team winning all four games.
Sharks vs. Kings Free NHL Pick
This should end-up being a tight series between two defensive teams that both have a hot hand in goal. Do not rule out a play on the UNDER in this game but the free pick on the side is with Los Angeles based heavily on the strong home-team betting trends in this series.
Kings 2 Sharks 1 (lines provided by Bet365)YTD NHL Free Picks: 37-21-2