Sharks at Kings Picks and NHL Game 7 Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 5/28/2013
It all comes down to this. One game for all the marbles. What has been a surprisingly brilliant series comes down to 60 minutes to decide which team reigns supreme in California this year and which will head to the Western Conference Championship.
The NHL Playoffs are brilliant in so many ways — a massive step above the regular season — but it is in situations like this that they really shine. Things don’t get much better than this for handicappers, either. We know that the teams will be at full intensity and will give everything they have. You don’t have to guess at effort levels. It’s just all about which team is better and which team is more likely to have the better day. It’s as pure as handicapping can be.
Sharks at Kings Betting storylines
The Kings are getting a lot of credit for their experience, given their Stanley Cup win just last year. In this case, though, that experience isn’t particularly relevant. Last year the Kings had a remarkably easy run through the playoffs — especially considering that they were ranked eighth in the conference. They beat top-seeded Vancouver in five games, swept the Blues, needed just five games against Phoenix, and won the Cup over New Jersey in the sixth game. They beat the top three seeds in the West and never had their backs even remotely against the wall. This year they beat the Blues is six in the opening round. The Darryl Sutter-coached Kings have yet to face an elimination game, and so they have no experience in these situations to draw from. In fact, the franchise hasn’t played a seventh game since 2002, and they lost. A seventh game is very different from every game that comes before it, so it would be easy to overvalue the experience the team has and the importance of it.
While experience can be overstated, the importance of home ice in this series really can’t. The home team has won all six games so far. San Jose won all three home games by a 2-1 score, while the Kings have won two home games by a shutout. L.A. won all three home games against the Blues in the first round as well and had a league-best 19 home wins in 24 regular season contests. They lost to Vancouver at home on March 23 and haven’t lost again in 13 home games. Needless to say, they are going to be very comfortable here.
A seventh game provides more than enough incentive for teams as it is, but there is another level of significance here. The winner of this series will play the team that wins the seventh game in the epic Chicago-Detroit series. If Detroit can pull off the road upset, then the winner of this series will host the Red Wings in the series opener and will have home ice advantage in the series. That would be a huge edge over the Wings, and that is significant given how tough the Red Wings have been to beat.
To handicap this game you can just start by looking at which team is more likely to score first. The first goal has led to the eventual win in each of the six games so far. That’s not to say that the team that scores first has led throughout — though Game 2 was the only time when the team that scored first ever trailed — but they have eventually capitalized on the fast start. Two goals has been enough to win four of the six games, and the goaltenders have been excellent on both sides, so there just isn’t time to ease into the action.
Sharks at Kings Odds and NHL Game 7 Betting Trends
The last four games in the series have gone “under” the total, and so did the series opener. San Jose has lost their last five games in L.A.. The home team has won 19 of the last 26 meetings between these teams.
Sharks at Kings Picks and Game 7 Betting Predictions
I’m not going to overthink this one. The Kings are the deeper team, and they are extremely tough at home. The Sharks were a lousy 8-14-2 on the road during the regular season. Geography alone makes the decision here — the Kings are the pick.
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