Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings Prediction: Can We Count on an Abundance of Scoring?

NHL handicapper Jason Yamaguchi provides his best bet for Saturday's deciding Game 7 between the Kings and the Oilers.
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Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings Prediction: Can We Count on an Abundance of Scoring?

As the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs approaches its final weekend, just three teams have been eliminated. 10 teams remain in the hunt for the five remaining second-round berths, meaning that we will see five(!) Game 7s this weekend, the most in a single round in over two decades. Three of them will take place on Saturday, one of which will serve as the deciding game between the Oilers and the Kings. Let's examine how the two teams match up ahead of a game that will send one team packing and the other to the second round. Here's a deep dive into my predictions and the Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles odds.

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Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings Prediction

Up to this point, the series between Edmonton and LA has been perhaps the most chaotic of the eight, as neither team has been able to sustain much momentum from game to game. It has also been among the highest scoring series, with 42 total goals being scored in the first six games for an average of seven per game. This is a solid baseline from which we can evaluate the line on the over/under for Game 7.

Arguably the biggest factor in the series thus far has been Edmonton's power play. The unit has converted seven times in six games at a 38.9% scoring rate, a conversion rate that ranks second behind Colorado amongst all playoff teams. The Oilers also scored four goals in Game 6 despite failing to convert on their lone power play opportunity. If the Kings cannot stay out of the box in Game 7, expect the Oilers' goal total to creep up even further.

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Although they've scored 17 goals through six games, which isn't a bad total by any stretch of the imagination (2.83 goals/game), the Kings have generated more offense than that number indicates. One of the main reasons that they haven't been sufficiently rewarded for their efforts has been the play of Edmonton goaltender Mike Smith, who leads all playoff starters with 8.3 goals saved above expected. Unless you're of the opinion that Smith is the best goaltender in the NHL, it seems likely that he is bound to regress. Perhaps that will start (and finish?) in Game 7 against LA.

Up until now, these playoffs have been producing goals at a higher rate than any in recent memory. This is due to a variety of reasons, such as the fact that coaches have been particularly aggressive in pulling their goaltenders early when trailing in the third, even if down by three goals. This trend has led to an abundance of empty net goals, something that the oddsmakers may not have adequately priced into the over/under lines. The evidence that supports a failure to bake this in is that the goal totals in each series have seemed to be set based on a minor adjustment to the line of the prior game in said series, with no systematic, league-wide odds shifts (yet).

The LA/EDM series is no different—in fact, the over/under for Game 7 is more favorably priced for the over than Game 6 was. This is (probably) due to the fact that Game 6 went just under the 6.5 total with a 4-2 final score. I don't agree with that movement, especially given the number of goals that have been scored in this series as a whole. Thus, there seems to be value on the over for this winner-take-all game.

Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings Pick

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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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