NHL Picks: Los Angeles Kings at Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo is still searching for its first home win of the season as they host the Kings Tuesday night at the First Niagara Center

 

Los Angeles blanked Buffalo 2-0 last Thursday at the Staples Center, just two days after the Sabres’ 5-4 upset win in San Jose. Those five goals were a season-high for Buffalo and the team ranks 29th in scoring at 1.63 goals per game (GPG), just a hair better than Philadelphia (1.62 GPG). Sports betting sites are posting LA at -180 or higher for moneyline betting and early indications are that money is flowing fast to the road squad but we’ve taken a different approach to this game.

 

FIRST PERIOD BETTING

Los Angeles has scored during the first period in eight of ten home games this season including the past four in a row but just three of seven road games. One sportsbook has LA -155 to win the first but if you lay a half-goal the payback is +158 and it’s probably for good reason. In three road games vs. teams from the Eastern Conference the Kings were outscored a total of 2-0 in the first period (CAR-FLA-TB) and to no surprise, each of the two goals were by the Lightning.

 

Tampa was the third stop on that tour and the Kings had just blanked the Panthers 3-0 two nights before. We don’t know LeBron James personally (but a few of the Kings do) and we’re thinking that maybe some of the younger players may have tipped a few back following the win at South Beach. The Bolts scored their first goal just 19 seconds into the game and chased Jonathan Quick after three goals on 17 shots.

 

The Kings have also not proven to be strong road starters when coming off a home game. Last season LA went 2-9-4 in this spot, scoring just five total goals and two were against the Ducks, the other against the Sharks (think global, shop local).

 

TWO WAYS TO PLAY

Bookmakers have posted a fair number on this game based on the Kings stats but as far as first period betting goes, Buffalo has cracked the mould this season. The Sabes have just three goals all season in the opening frame and they have not held a lead once through 20 minutes in any of their 19 games. Our recommendation is to bet this game two ways:

 

Risk 1 unit on the Kings -.5 in the first period (+158)
Take the Kings at Sabres UN 1.5 goals in the first period (-135), betting enough to win 1 unit

 

Quick and Ryan Miller are projected to start (unconfirmed but click here for updates) and if the game is scoreless through one it’s a push all around. Worst case, Buffalo leads 2-0 but the odds against that are stacked and the gravy starts to flow if the Kings lead 1-0 through one. Even at 2-0 LA you get your money back, plus the juice.

 

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