Not long ago, it seemed as if the Kings season may be over not long after starting. After struggling out of the gate, the Kings have rebounded as of late, winning the last two, including a 4-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild. With those victories, the Kings point percentage is up to .464, while our Tonge’s Ticket percentage is .407. That number should be higher, as we had Gabe Vilardi to score last game, and his line looked fantastic. Oh well.
Thursday will see the Kings step onto the ice to take on the Arizona Coyotes for the first time on the season. Last year, a lot of the success they found relied on stellar goaltending from Darcy Kuemper, who will get the nod for today’s game. Unfortunately for the Kings, after a slow start to the year, Kuemper seems to have turned his game up to similar levels that he displayed last season. He’s won three of his last four and his last appearance saw him shutout the St. Louis Blues. On a side note, the Coyotes as a team must be thrilled for this game against the Kings, as their last seven games have all been against the Blues.
Those who have followed along since we started Tonge’s Ticket will know that we’ve focused on the Kings scoring by period, as they’ve been an abysmal first period team but tremendous in the middle frame. Interestingly, the Coyotes are fairly similar, though their -5 goal differential in the first is certainly better than the Kings -10.
We’re going to continue stressing the importance of the Kings getting off to a good start. When they lead after the first, they are 3-0 on the year. On the flip side, their record is 1-6-1 when trailing at the first intermission. If LA can take advantage of another team who is slow to start games, they’ll be in good position to walk away with two points.
Let’s look at the best bets for Thursday’s game:
Under 5.5 goals
There’s always the possibility that any game features a ton of goals, but all indications are that this won’t be one of them. Arizona’s 2.6 goals scored per game is 22nd in the league. We’ve already talked about Kuemper’s stellar play of late, but he also holds a career .923 save percentage against the Kings in 11 appearances.
For LA, they played well against a weakened Wild team, scoring four while Jonathan Quick pitched a shutout. Arizona doesn’t have many, if any, game-breaking offensive talents. This will likely be a low-scoring affair, similar to the last four meetings between the two clubs. Take the under.
Over 2 third period goals
Arizona has an interesting goal distribution by period. To date, Arizona’s games have seen 23 goals in both the first and second. That total jumps to 33 in the final 20 minutes. Four of the last five Kings games have seen two third period goals.
The line of thinking used here is this: the two teams haven’t met this year, so there may be a feeling out process early. As the teams begin to feel more comfortable, more chances should open up. At +102 odds, I like the trends to continue. On a side note, for those newer to betting, if the goal total hits the exact number, the bet will be a push. Thus, if only two goals are scored in the third, the bets are essentially void and bettors will receive their money back.
Drew Doughty to score 1+ points
Quiz time: What team has Doughty scored the most points in his career against? Wrong. It’s not the Coyotes, but it’s close. Doughty has 35 points against the Edmonton Oilers, and Arizona is not far behind at 34. Those are coincidentally the only two teams where he has scored double-digit number of goals against. He scored an empty netter on Tuesday, and we think he finds the scoresheet again. DraftKings has -112 odds on him getting a point.
Looking for more betting picks? Make sure you follow @HockeysBestBets for my daily picks from around the league. You can also follow my personal account at @AndyTonge1 for my insight on the Kings and much more. Good luck and happy betting!