The Capitals play on leg two of a back-to-back when they visit the Kings in the December 4th NHL betting free pick. Even on 0 days rest, the betting public will surely like Washington with a very manageable ML of just -145. The Caps are tied for 1st in all of hockey with 45 points, LA meanwhile is in last in the Western Conference with just 24. Is this one a trap?
Washington Keeps Rolling
The Capitals have gone 2 for 2 so far on their ‘gauntlet of gunk’ beating last place Detroit and the (albeit improving) Sharks. LA has another matchup with a last place team in the Pacific basement Kings in the December 4th NHL betting free pick. Washington then wraps up this 4-game road swing with the second-to-last-place Ducks so the Capitals have a great chance to build on their 7 point advantage over the Islanders in the Metropolitan.
Granted the Caps’ are on the back-to-back after Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Sharks. That was the 4th win in a row for Washington and their #2 scoring offense in the league. Alex Ovechkin missed all 5 of his SOG, snapping a 3-game scoring streak. He also logged just 16 shifts, his fewest of the last 5 games to try and be fresh for the B2B. Washington is extremely deep on offense, scoring 5 goals even without Ovechkin on the scoring sheet. John Carlson is just the 4th expansion era defenseman to score 40 points in the first 30 games of the season after a 3-point night vs. the Sharks.
Of course the biggest drawback of Washington playing on consecutive nights is that they lose the services of their top goaltender Braden Holtby, who has started the season 14-2-3. It will likely be Ilya Samsonov getting the nod instead. The rookie has posted a solid 2.58 GAA in 9 games this season. LA does fire up a ton of shots though at 34.7 per game (2nd).
Kings Have Been Solid (At Home) Lately
LA is 9-5-1 at the Staples Center this season, but 7 of those wins have come in the last 9 games. The home team is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings and for some reason Washington struggles going to Los Angeles, having almost inexplicably lost 8 of the last 9 in LaLa Land.
Overall the Kings are 5-4-1 in their last 10 but have lost 4 of the last 6. Los Angeles may not have the firepower to hang with the Capitals #2 scoring offense considering the Kings are 26th in the NHL in that department averaging just 2.6 goals per game. On the bright side, 7 of Anze Kopitar’s 10 goals have come at home on the season. LA has been held to 2 goals or less in each of the last three games and in 5 of 8 overall. The total for Wednesday’s tilt is on the high side though at 6.5.
Jonathan Quick gets the start in net for LA, after giving way to Jack Campbell in the last two. Quick has been very up-and-down in his last 5 starts – holding opponents to 2 goals or less in three of those games but giving up 4 scores in each of the other two. Quick does have a 2.50 GAA at home on the year though – compared to 4.46 on the road.
December 4th NHL Betting Free Pick
Nearly 70% of the public likes Washington in this one – and why not as they are one of the hottest teams in the league. The -145 price tag isn’t bad either but the Capitals are on the back-to-back. Washington also struggles in LA while Quick has been better at home in net for L.A. The Capitals are undoubtedly the better team, but that -145 seems like it should be -175ish. The Kings become the contrarian play:
Pick: Los Angeles Kings +125