Take Kings -173 With Your NHL Picks Against Struggling Blues

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, January 9, 2016 6:39 PM GMT

St. Louis has lost 4 in a row and now find themselves at Staples Center where they have lost five straight. Our NHL handicapper analyzes the matchup to see if there is a reason not to keep fading the Blues.

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NHL Pick: Kings -173

Best Line offered: at Heritage

 

In the last NHL game that we drop the puck on on Saturday night the 23-14-6 St. Louis Blues continue their road trip against the 26-12-2 Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center. The Kings lead the Pacific Division of the Western Conference right now with 54 points, and the Blues 52 points is good enough for 3rd place in the Central Division of the Western Conference.  Opening odds have the home team Kings favored in this matchup -173 at Pinnacle on the money line, and -1.5 (+187) on the puck line. The current O/U total is listed at 5 at multiple books at about even money juice.

The Kings are coming off of a 2-1 win at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs as a heavy -195 home favorite on the NHL odds board. It was the first game for Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn after getting traded to the Kings on Wednesday from the Philadelphia Flyers. They had about 12 hours to get acclimated to their new team before getting inserted into the lineup. Lecavalier had an assist in the game so his presence was felt right away.

The Kings’ goalie, Jonathan Quick, had another solid effort in this game making 25 saves in the process. It was Quick’s third game in a row giving up only one goal and he hasn’t lost while starting since December 22nd against the San Jose Sharks. On the season, Quick is 23-9-1 with 2.09 goals allowed average and a .924 save percentage. He’s also picked up three shutouts this season.

The Blues come into this game with one more day of rest after losing 4-3 in Colorado on Wednesday to begin their road trip. It was an overtime game, as the Blues couldn’t hold a 3-2 lead going into the 3rd period. It was the Blues fourth loss in a row, putting them 4-4-2 in their last ten games. The team is getting healthier though, as center Patrik Berglund scored his first goal of the season after returning from the injured list on Saturday, January 2nd.  

Blues goalie, Jake Allen, gave up four goals to Colorado and is likely to sit in this game against the Kings. In his place backup goalie, Brian Elliot, is slated to get the start against the Kings on Saturday night. Elliot isn’t having his best season, allowing 2.41 goals on average and holding a record of 5-4-3 so far. His last game was on Monday against the Ottawa Senators so he will be rested. Elliot gave up 3 goals and stopped 29 shots in that losing effort against Ottawa.

Both of these teams come into the game relatively healthy, with only two players on each team currently listed on injured reserve.

Los Angeles has dominated this series over the last ten games, going 8-2 SU. This includes wins in each of the five last meetings at Staples Center as well. The O/U in the last ten games between these two teams has trended over, going 4-3-3. This is at odds with both of the season long O/U trends for them, as the Kings are 10-16-14 O/U and the Blues are 14-23-6 O/U. The under deserves a small lean in this matchup.

I like the prospect of the hot Los Angeles Kings being able to put up some goals on the Blues, either against Allen or Elliot in this game. There is also no indication that the Blues will get out of their funk after losing their 4th game in a row and going into Staples where they haven’t won in years. The value here is with the home team and the hot hand, so take the Los Angeles Kings as one of your Saturday NHL picks.