Now this is a playoff hockey betting series I can get behind! After rallying to stomp the San Jose Sharks in the quarterfinals, the hockey universe got behind the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Quick. This is a team that simply knows how to get it done in the playoffs and when they’re on, they’re extremely difficult to beat.
The thing is that the Kings also don’t always make it look easy. Anaheim has been a prickly thorn in the side of their California rivals, going 5-2 SU in their last 7 meetings overall. The Ducks were easily one of the best regular season teams in the league this year but top-line heavy teams, which seem to be the trademark of Bruce Boudreau, usually don’t fare well in the playoffs. Neutralize that top line and you can pretty much sink the ship.
Boudreau has also been tepid on utilizing the legend that is Teemu Selanne in the playoffs, and the Finnish Flash came up massively on Thursday night with a power play goal that helped push the Ducks back in to this fist fight. Speaking as a handicapper, it’s hard for me to suggest that the Anaheim Ducks are the better wager in NHL playoff betting, but they’re also a wildly resilient team and worth a gander in this California state rivalry matchup.
Jonathan Quick was a bit off as he allowed three goals against 22 total shots and should return to form, but there’s no telling how much pressure Anaheim will bring. Either the Kings tighten up defensively, as their known to do, and protect Quick much better or Anaheim blows the gates wide open and makes this series far more interesting that any of us expected. That’s how unpredictable this series and playoff hockey betting can be.
So point a gun to my head and I’m going to tell you that the Kings and Quick are the team to back. That’s as much personal as it is professional – I do not like how the Ducks are built for the playoffs. If you’re willing to go against the grain, the +135 moneyline on Anaheim is an attractive shot in the proverbial darkness. Still, for my money, bet the Kings.