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Golden Knights vs. Kings Prediction: Los Angeles has value on Opening Night

Check out our betting preview for Tuesday's NHL game between the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights.

Jack Eichel of the Vegas Golden Knights waits for a faceoff in the second period of a game against the Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena on March 19, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights defeated the Kings 5-1. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Jack Eichel of the Vegas Golden Knights waits for a faceoff in the second period of a game against the Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena on March 19, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights defeated the Kings 5-1. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)Read moreEthan Miller / Getty Images

After missing the postseason for the first time in franchise history and a turbulent offseason, the Vegas Golden Knights enter the 2022-23 NHL Season with more questions than answers.

The Knights are in a cap crunch that forced them to trade Max Pacioretty to Carolina for nothing. They have an unproven goaltending tandem. And one of their key defensemen is not on the roster because of a contract holdout. But aside from that, all is well in Sin City.

Even with all that turmoil, the betting market is expecting a bounce-back season for the Knights. Vegas is -220 to make the postseason and has an Over/Under set at 96.5 points. That puts the Knights squarely in the mix for a playoff spot.

One of the teams they’ll be competing with for a ticket to the spring fling is their Opening Night opponents, the Los Angeles Kings.

Golden Knights vs. Kings prediction: Pick

Kings -120 (FanDuel)

Golden Knights vs. Kings prediction: Analysis

Despite being in a very different spot as a franchise, the Kings and Knights come into the season with very similar expectations. The Kings are -190 to make the postseason and their Over/Under is one point shy of Vegas’ at 95.5 points.

It’s not that surprising that bookmakers are having a tough time separating these two clubs. The Kings are -118 home favorites on Tuesday night.

There are reasons to believe that the Knights will return to their usual form in 2022-23. Despite missing the playoffs last season, Vegas still posted decent underlying metrics, finishing eighth in shot attempt rate, 10th in expected goals percentage and 13th in high-danger scoring chance share. Unfortunately, the Knights ran into terrible injury luck and just didn’t have the depth to overcome the carnage.

With a healthy roster and Bruce Cassidy in town as the new head coach, it’s pretty easy to see a path to improvement for this team, which has plenty of high-end skill at the top of the roster. Cassidy’s former team, the Boston Bruins, were one of the NHL’s stingiest defensive clubs during his entire tenure. If Vegas can improve in its own zone, it not only will fix one of its major flaws from last season, but will also help insulate the goaltending duo of Logan Thompson and Adin Hill.

But it will likely take some time for Vegas to adapt to Cassidy’s structured style of play. Eventually, the Knights should be a solid team at 5-on-5, but to expect to see results right out of the gates seems a bit unrealistic.

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The Kings are no pushovers, either. Like Vegas, Los Angeles finished the 2022-23 season with strong 5-on-5 metrics. The Kings ranked fifth in shot attempt rate, seventh in expected goals percentage and 11th in high-danger scoring chance rate.

Also like Vegas, the goaltending situation for Los Angeles can go in a number of different directions. Jonathan Quick enjoyed a resurgent campaign in 2022-23, but he’s 36 years old and was supposed to back up Cal Petersen last season. Petersen’s struggles and Quick’s strong form meant the plans to turn the keys over to Petersen were delayed.

Everything about this matchup screams coin flip, so getting the Kings as a slight home favorite seems like an appealing bet against a team that will be adjusting to a new coach and playing without a key defenseman.

Golden Knights vs. Kings odds:

  1. Golden Knights: +100

  2. Kings: -120

  3. Over/Under: 6

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