New York Rangers vs. Los Angeles Kings Game 1 Moneyline Pick
Few NHL betting experts expected a New York Rangers matchup against the Los Angeles Kings in this season's Stanley Cup Finals, but this best-of-seven showdown is set to get underway at the Staples Center this Wednesday night with Game 1. The puck is set to drop at 8 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on NBC.
Moneyline: New York +140 Los Angeles -155
Over/Under Line: 5 Under -115
New York came into the playoffs with the fifth-most points in the Eastern Conference, but it has proved it is actually the best of the bunch on that side of the ledger with victories over Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Montreal as a series underdogs in all three rounds. The Rangers needed back-to-back victories over the Penguins to win that series in seven games and they won the first two games on the road against the Canadiens to wrap up the conference title in six games. The total has stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in 13 of their 20 postseason games with the line set at five for every contest.
The Rangers have never been known as one of the more potent scoring teams in the league, but the addition of Martin St. Louis through a regular season trade with Tampa Bay has paid huge dividends in these playoffs. He leads the team in points with six goals and seven assists. Carl Hagelin has also tallied seven goals and the team has a trio of scorers with five goals. New York's biggest asset heading into Wednesday night is Henrik Lundqvist in goal. Through 20 playoff starts, he has a 2.03 goals-against average and a save percentage of .928.
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If you like an over-the-top flair for the dramatic, then Los Angeles is your team. It needed four-straight wins in the opening round to get past San Jose. After blowing a 2-0 series lead against Anaheim, the Kings had to rally for two-straight victories to win that series in seven games. They jumped-out to a commanding 3-1 series lead over Chicago in the Western Conference Finals, but took an overtime goal in Game 7 as 123 road underdogs to earn a spot in the NHL Finals with a 5-4 win. The total has now gone OVER in their last six playoff games.
The firepower in the Kings' lineup runs deep with 11 players scoring at least four goals in the postseason. The name at the top of that list is Marian Gaborik with 12 goals. Jeff Carter has nine goals and Anze Kopitar leads the team in total points with five goals and 19 assists. One concern heading into Game 1 has to be the play of goalie Jonathan Quick. He continues to make some big saves when his team needs them the most, but in 21 postseason starts he as a GAA of 2.86 and a .906 save percentage.
The Rangers are 4-1 in their last five road games and 7-2 in their last nine games against a team with a winning record. The total has stayed UNDER in nine of their last 15 games against the Western Conference.
The Kings are a perfect 6-0 in their last six games against a team from the Metro Division and 20-7 in their last 27 games following a win. The total has gone OVER in six of their last 10 home games.
These two met twice early in the regular season with the road team winning both contests. The total stayed UNDER the 5-goal line in both games.
Stanley Cup Final Game 1 Moneyline Pick
I really like New York's chances to steal a win on the road in Game 1. Despite the three days off, there could be some lingering metal fatigue from an extended Chicago series that carries over for the Kings into this game.