Game 1 between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils sets up as an
interesting matchup. It would seem that all the dynamics in play are
predictable, which is a dangerous assessment to make given how unpredictable
the 2012 playoffs have been.
From the Kings, NHL bettors are expecting the same level of
intensity that we’ve seen all postseason long along with no rust. We’ve seen
them win all three of the Game 1’s so far this postseason and two of them were
after long layoffs, and it didn’t seem to affect them.
So, how can the Devils steal Game 1? For starters, they
need to hope that they win the battle on special teams. The Kings penalty kill
has been awesome in the playoffs, and the Devils will have to find a way to
supplement their scoring through it. They’ll have to stay out of the box
themselves and hope that the Kings power play continues to struggle. Next,
they’ll need Ilya Kovalchuk to be the best player on the ice – on either side –
in Game 1.
Those factors aren’t unrealistic but, personally, I’d
rather bet on the Kings, fully expecting to continue seeing what I’ve seen rather than
betting on the Devils and expect to see something that I haven’t seen yet
Three better defensive teams were not able to slow down
the Kings in Game 1, so I don’t see how the Devils pull it off. Take the Kings.
NHL Picks: Kings
Los Angeles Kings vs. New Jersey Devils
NHL Odds: OVER/UNDER 4.5
The perception exists that the New Jersey Devils
are still the same old defensive-minded, stingy team that we’ve come to know
over the last decade, and that’s simply not true. So far this postseason, Devils
contests have averaged 5.2 goals per game and 5.75 when you remove their series
with the low-scoring New York Rangers from the equation.
To be quite frank, these Devils should not be associated
with totals of 4.5. At that number, the
OVER would be 13-5 for the Devils this postseason.
We’ve seen the totals drops from their usual range of 5
or 5.5 down to 4.5 because of teams like the St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes
and New York Rangers, who are all built around playing a tight, defensive
style. While the Kings fit that mold, the Devils don’t and this series should
see nothing lower than five.
Throw in the fact that the Devils are awful at holding
leads and that they’ve scored three goals or more in 11 of their last 13
playoff games, and there’s a good chance that we see plenty of OVERs in this
series if the totals sit at 4.5.
I’m not necessarily expecting six, seven or eight goals
in Game 1 but 4.5 moves us off a key number of five as a 2-2 tie now gets you a
win instead of a push. Take the OVER.
NHL Picks: OVER
-110 & OVER 4.5 -117 ($100 @ 3.54 pays $354.08)