Free NHL Picks: Blue Jackets at Kings Odds
by George Monroy - 2/5/2014
The Los Angeles Kings are in a deep slump to start 2014 and may be in danger of falling out of the Western Conference playoff race if their poor play continues. Los Angeles has lost 16 of its last 21 matchups and nine of its last 10. The team dropped to the seventh spot in the playoff standings while also taking up the position of the 29th-ranked offensive squad in the NHL. The larger question, however, is what is wrong with the Kings and how can they fix it.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are on the opposite trajectory of the Kings and have won 11 of their last 14 matchups while collecting a three- and eight-game winning streak in the process. Columbus even positioned itself as contender for the final playoff spots in the East after spending much of the season on the outside looking in. The squad is currently tied for the seventh seed in the playoff standings and may even be able to climb further up the ladder once the postseason rolls around. Let’s take a look at Thursday’s Blue Jackets versus Kings matchup and figure out which side of the wager has the most value to bet on.
Blue Jackets at Kings Betting Story Lines
Los Angeles’ offense has fallen apart since the last week of December. During the team’s recent four-game skid, Los Angeles managed to score only four goals on a whopping 130 shot attempts. Kings points leader Anze Kopitar collected a goal and two assists in his last outing against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, but outside of that performance the seven-year veteran has struggled to stay productive during the team’s losing streak, and he has produced only three points in his previous seven games.
Los Angeles’ defense has continued to put forth an excellent effort even in the face of an extended losing streak. The squad is still ranked first in the league in goals allowed with only 2.1 per game. Starting goaltender Jonathan Quick struggled over his last few starts, but has still been decent in front of the net. Los Angeles is coming off a 5-3 loss to the Blackhawks and will begin a two-game road trip after its matchup against Columbus on Thursday night.
Columbus opened up a four-game road trip with a big win over the NHL-leading Anaheim Ducks on Monday night. The squad has not played since and will have two more games, against the Kings and San Jose Sharks, before the hockey season is put on hold for the Olympics over the next three weeks.
Staring goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 138 shots over his last five outings while allowing only 11 goals in that span. Bobrovsky has won three straight games while not allowing more than two goals to be scored in that span. Columbus’ point’s leader, Ryan Johansen, has been on a tear over his last five games, collecting six points on four goals and two assists.
Blue Jackets at Kings NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
Los Angeles opened as a -163 favorite over the +148 underdog Blue Jackets at BetOnline. The total was set at five goals, with the “under” being favored at -116. Los Angeles has struggled recently and is 5-16 over its last 21 overall matchups and 1-4 against the Metropolitan Division. The team is 0-6 in its recent matchups against the Eastern Conference and 1-5 over its last six games against teams with winning records. Los Angeles has also gone “under” in four of its last six home matchups.
Columbus is 4-0 in its recent games against the Pacific Division and 9-1 in its last 10 games following a win. The team is 4-1 over its last five Thursday games and in its last five against Western Conference teams. Head-to-head, the home team has won five of the last six meetings, while Los Angeles is 4-1 during the last five home games.
Free NHL Picks: Blue Jackets at Kings Predictions
Los Angeles is really struggling to put together solid and efficient performances, and hosting the streaking Blue Jackets on Thursday won’t help matters at all. Columbus is playing its best stretch of hockey all season and is coming off the longest winning streak in franchise history. Los Angeles’ offense has been non-existent, and one game will probably not be enough to reverse that trend. Columbus is showing excellent value at a +148 road underdog. Take the Blue Jackets on the moneyline.
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