You have to wonder just how bad the Los Angeles Kings are this season? Sure LA is tied for the fewest points in the league but tonight the Kings are huge underdogs in St. Paul despite the fact that the Wild are playing on a back-to-back. Oddsmakers opened Minnesota at -200 in the January 15th NHL free pick (down to MIN -172) even though the Wild lost a 4-7 contest in Philadelphia last night. Can bettors pull the trigger on the Kings +150?
Kings Have Shown Signs of Life at Times
Los Angeles heads on the road Tuesday where they are 3-8 over their last 11. Despite their woes at the bottom of the Western Conference, the Kings haven’t been a total pushover. They’re coming off a 5-2 home win over Pittsburgh on Saturday (although the Penguins were in a B2B – much like Minnesota tonight). LA also beat Vegas 4-3 on December 23rd when the Golden Knights were in a back-to-back. Sprinkle in an impressive OT win in Colorado on New Year’s Eve and at the very least the Kings have the potential for the upset in the January 15th NHL free pick.
Los Angeles has had a tough time getting their offense going lately as they’ve scored two goals or less in 4 of 6. The Kings will be facing Minnesota’s 2nd string goaltender Tuesday so Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Co. should be able to net a few (O/U 5.5). Jonathan Quick is in net and he’s shown signs of a resurgence lately going 6-3-1 his last 10. Quick has held six opponents to 2 goals or less over that span and will face a fatigued Wild offense tonight.
Can Wild Bounce Back In Fast Turnaround?
Last night was supposed to be a nice business trip for the Wild when they traveled to Philadelphia as -121 road favorites. With a very winnable game vs. LA tonight, Minnesota was supposed to lock up wins on consecutive nights to help them add some padding to their 8th seed in the West position. Instead, Minnesota allowed 7 goals on just 26 Philadelphia shots and now the Wild have some serious questions heading into the January 15th NHL free pick. Bruce Boudreau’s team has dropped two in a row and three of their last four. Minnesota plays their 3rd game in four nights Tuesday vs. a Kings team that has been off since Saturday.
It’s not all doom and gloom tonight for Minnesota. After all, this is the Kings – a Kings team that has dropped 5 of 6 in St. Paul. The home team is also 7-2 in the last 9 head to head meetings. The Wild used both of their goaltenders in last night’s loss but Alex Stalock is expected to get the starting nod. Stalock has made just 1 start the last 5 weeks so maybe LA does have the edge in this one.
January 15th NHL Free PIck Betting
There was a time when a trip to the Xcel Energy Center meant nearly an automatic loss for the road team. That’s not so much the case this season as Minnesota is a modest 11-8-2 on their own ice this year and have dropped 5 of the last 6 on their own ice. Recently the Kings have scored wins over quality opponents who were in part two of a B2B. That’s the situation the Wild are in tonight – and the result will likely be the same.
NHL Free Pick: Los Angeles Kings +150