NHL playoffs 2022 predictions, odds, picks: Kings vs. Oilers


After coming up short in Game 1, the Edmonton Oilers were feeling the pressure.

Known for their playoff shortcomings, the Oilers needed a strong effort to get their best-of-7 series with the Los Angeles Kings back on even footing before heading to California for Game 3. Unlike in years past, Edmonton did what it needed to do in Game 2, earning a 6-0 victory to level the series.

Now Edmonton finds itself as a -145 road favorite in Los Angeles for Game 3, meaning oddsmakers believe that the Oilers have roughly a 59% chance of getting the win on Friday night.




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That leaves bettors with the following question: Are you willing to bet that Game 1 was just a blip and these Oilers have turned a corner? Or is this team still not to be trusted in a spot like this?

The numbers would suggest that the former is true. While Edmonton’s 4-3 loss in the series-opener did send a shiver up the spine and remind folks that Mike Smith is an adventure in goal, it also was a tie game deep into the third period that was decided by a gaffe by the goaltender. It’s hardly worth looking back all that deeply into stuff like that when you’re looking ahead.

Mike Smith in goal against the Kings on May 4, 2022.
Mike Smith in goal against the Kings on May 4, 2022.

What is worth looking into is the big-picture form of Edmonton, a team that already had terrific upside thanks to Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. After an inconsistent first half of the season, Edmonton fired Dave Tippett and replaced him with Jay Woodcroft. The move paid off, as the Oilers played at a 119-point pace (the Avalanche ended the season with 119 points, for what it’s worth) over Woodcroft’s 38 games in charge.

If the Oilers play the way they did for the majority of the second half of the season, they will be tough to beat in any matchup, especially in one against a Kings team that doesn’t have the offensive upside to stay with the Oilers.

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The one way that this series could get off the rails for Edmonton is if Smith stumbles in goal. We’ve already seen Smith at his best and worst through the first two games of the set, but once again it’s worth noting that Smith’s long-term form indicates that he’s got his game together. Smith posted a .919 save percentage and a +10.93 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) from Feb. 1 until the end of the season — a span of 22 games.

Until they vanquish their playoff demons, the Oilers will be a polarizing team. But if you put that away and just look at the 30,000-foot view, all signs indicate that the Oilers are quite simply a much better team than the Kings.

The Bet: Edmonton Oilers -150 or better


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