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Betting analysis of Monday's showdown between the Calgary Flames and the Los Angeles Kings. Jason Yamaguchi breaks down the matchup.
ANALYSIS

Calgary Flames vs. Los Angeles Kings Prediction: Don't Underestimate the Kings

Monday's NHL slate only consists of four games, but there are a couple of great matchups for us to consider. To start, the Maple Leafs will travel to Tampa Bay to face the defending cup champions for a potential round one preview. On the opposite side of the country, the Kings will host the Flames for a bout between the top two teams in the Pacific Division. Just last week, the Kings edged out the Flames in a shootout. Should we expect a repeat performance from LA? Maybe. Here's why.

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Calgary Flames vs. Los Angeles Kings Prediction

The Kings, despite a slew of injuries that have significantly set their lineup back, have managed to continue winning. They will be looking for their third straight win here against the Flames, returning home after a three-game road trip. LA's underlying numbers are encouraging—even with multiple AHLers in the lineup, they've managed to frequently outplay their opponents in terms of expected goals over the last few weeks.

Just a week ago, the Flames seemingly had an iron grip on the top spot in the Pacific. Since then, however, they've lost three straight, a run that has allowed the Kings to pull within three points of the lead. Calgary is still one of the league's best teams, but one has to wonder if this skid is indicative of a larger issue rather than being just a small bump on the road. Only time will tell.

The Flames are one of the league's top teams at even strength. Their 5v5 expected goals share of 56.22% ranks second in the NHL, trailing only the Bruins. The Kings are also in the top 10 with a share of 52.8%. This means that the Flames tend to generate a lot of high-quality looks on offense while minimizing the chances that they concede, and that the Kings often do the same (to a lesser extent). Calgary gets the edge, but there isn't a massive difference between the two squads.

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In terms of goaltending, the Kings have a slight edge. Jonathan Quick has enjoyed a resurgent year, saving 14.8 goals above expected. That total ranks 10th among all NHL starters. On the other side, Jacob Markstrom will likely go for the Flames. He is 13th in the GSAx rankings with 9.3, but that number is somewhat misleading. He was at or near the top of the rankings through the first couple months of the year and has since fallen off. He's still a quality goaltender, but Quick is in better form at the moment.

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It's also favorable for the Kings that they are the ones hosting this game. The Flames are 21-8-7 at home this season, but only 19-11-2 on the road. They are deserving favorites in this spot, but the price is tilted a bit too far in their direction. The market isn't giving the Kings enough credit for the level of play they've exhibited in recent games. They outplayed the Flames last Thursday, and that game was in Calgary. I like the value on LA here, and I'm willing to bet them down to +140.

Calgary Flames vs. Los Angeles Kings Pick

Pick: Los Angeles Kings ML (+155) (Bet $100 to Win $155)

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Article Author

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Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.

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