Mar 23, 2021
NHL Best Bets, Score Predictions for Wednesday Mar. 24
NHL Daily Free Picks & Predictions
VegasInsider.com NHL expert Matt Blunt provides his score predictions and best bets for one NHL game on Wednesday, Mar. 24, 2021.
Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks
- Money-Line Odds: Los Angeles -108; San Jose -108
- Total (Over-Under): 5.5
Score Prediction: Los Angeles 4 San Jose 3
Best Bet: Over 5.5
Although San Jose's defensive efforts have been slightly improving in recent weeks, the Sharks still rank 11th worst in the league in xGA/60 at 2.82. I bring that up because although the Sharks have been doing better at keeping the puck out of their own net, they still have a hard time stringing games like that together.
For instance, San Jose has now played six games this year where there has been three or less total goals (oddly enough, they've never had a single game this year with fewer than three goals), and three of them have now come in their last five games.
But in the previous five occurrences, San Jose's next contest have all seen at least five goals scored, posting a 4-1 O/U record and averaging 7.4 goals per game in those situations. After San Jose won 2-1 over L.A. on Monday, that's the precise situation we've got here.
The only other time San Jose won a game with three or fewer prior to Monday, was the only game in this history that did stay 'under' the total with five total goals scored, so that's important to note (San Jose lost 4-1 on Jan 22nd), and it's why the score selection does side with the Kings in this coin flip game.
But even with that lone 'under' coming off the lone San Jose win in this specific situation, I do believe we see the goal judge get a workout this evening.
To start, it's still the Kings sharing the ice with San Jose, and they are actually worse than the Sharks in the xGA/60 category at 2.92. In L.A.'s previous four games this year of seeing three or fewer total goals scored the O/U record in 1-3, but the average goals for those Kings games lands right on an even 5.
Considering that's the average for L.A. in this spot, and no Sharks game after a three or less goal game has seen fewer than five goals scored, taking the chance that tonight's contest finds a way to sneak over that hook of 5.5 is an easy risk to take.
Remember, the Kings are a much more offensive-minded team this year and in any of those previous four games of sub-three totals for the Kings, only once did L.A. score fewer than two goals themselves.
In the three previous instances of that occurring (LA scoring 1 or 0 goals in any total score), the following games for the Kings have resulted in scores of 5-2, 4-3, and 4-1, all L.A. SU losses too. Those scores average out to 6.3 goals per game, well above this total tonight.
Finally, this is also a four games in six nights situation for both sides, and if fatigue does end up showing up on either end, chances are it will manifest itself in lazy backchecking and too much stick work from guys, likely leading to the penalty killers seeing plenty of work.
The Kings are 4-1 O/U the last five times they've been in that four-in-six spot, while the Sharks are 1-4 O/U in the same scenario, making it a wash for trend bettors there. But there are too many other prospects here for me to be that concerned about a random trend that's still break even on the total.
We should get 6+ goals scored from these two tonight.
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