Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:50 AM
NHL Best Bets, Score Predictions for Friday Apr. 9
NHL Daily Free Picks & Predictions
VegasInsider.com NHL expert Matt Blunt provides his score predictions and best bets for one NHL game on Friday, Apr. 9, 2021.
Los Angeles Kings vs San Jose Sharks
- Money-Line Odds: Los Angeles +115; San Jose -125
- Total (Over-Under): 5.5
Score Prediction: San Jose 4 Los Angeles 3
Best Bet: Over 5.5
This two-game set for the Kings and Sharks will be the 5th and 6th time they've played one another since March 22nd. That many meetings in less than three weeks mirrors what teams get in the playoffs, something that's likely going to elude both of these franchises this season.
It's been the Sharks who've made the most of these recent head-to-heads as they've won all four meetings, but the line of thought here is more along the lines of this piece from one of those earlier meetings.
The same scenario of the Sharks being off a game with three or less total goals scored doesn't apply, but with San Jose throwing up all over themselves as -170 home chalk to Anaheim last time out (5-1 loss), it's the Sharks team total from that outing that puts the 'over' in a nice spot here.
San Jose was always going to be a team that was going to find their most success through offensive production. I mean, when the Sharks have a multi-time Norris Trophy winner in Erik Karlsson giving three-word answers mid-snack as to whether or not a two-goal night was his peak offensively, you've got an entire dressing room that's loaded with confidence offensively.
So when it doesn't pan out for them in certain games, it's a reasonable expectation to think that any offensive issues in San Jose aren't going to be prolonged. Meaning it's that single goal for San Jose's team total that puts the 'over' – whether it's full game or Sharks team total – in a spot that's worth a serious look.
San Jose has scored one or fewer goals in games nine different times prior to the other night and the 'over' is 7-2 the next time San Jose took the ice. The two 'unders' both finished with five goals exactly to just stay below the total, as the Sharks themselves scored 5, 5, 4, 3, 4, 3, 4, 2, and 4 goals themselves in those spots.
That's why I mentioned the idea of playing or adding San Jose's team total 'over' as well to this game. The Sharks are 6-3 SU in these spots for those looking for something on the side, but with the Kings still being one of the worst defensive teams in the league in teams of xGA/60 at 3.15, it's the 'over' that should be the play that leaves much more margin for error.
Los Angeles isn't a bad offensive team themselves as they are almost forced to be with their struggles on defense. The offense hasn't been as consistent as the Kings would like, but they still reside in the top half of the league in xGF/60 at 2.71.
San Jose's previous results in these post one-goal or less outings has had the Sharks allowing 3, 5, 5, 2, 5, 2, 3, 4, and 3 goals themselves in this specific situation, so there should be plenty of opportunities for the Kings to score tonight as well.
The fact that three of those recent four meetings between these two teams did cash 'under' tickets could bring some tentativeness with an 'over' play here, but the overall record this season is still 3-3 O/U between these teams.
Both teams have strong enough offensive numbers and poor enough defensive numbers that it's tough to think the season series between these two will end up with a majority of 'under' tickets cashing too.
Tonight's situation in terms of San Jose's specific history this year off their last performance (one goal or less) is the tipping point for me to not have any problems firing away on this 'over' in the end.