Kings vs. Oilers prediction, odds, picks

Kings vs. Oilers NHL playoff series odds

Odds provided by DraftKings

Kings (+200) vs. Oilers (-250)

There is a chance that the Kings are a trendy upset pick among hockey pundits and in playoff pools. The Oilers have won just one playoff series since Connor McDavid joined the NHL in 2015-16 and are coming off an unceremonious sweep at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets in 2021. In fact, the Oilers are 1-7 in their last eight playoff games . The perception that Edmonton can’t get over the hump, coupled with the fair questions about the goaltending should lead plenty of people to back the upstart Kings in this best-of-7.

However, these don’t look like your older brother’s Oilers. They did for the first part of the season, but since Jay Woodcroft took over behind the bench the Oilers look closer to an elite team rather than a paper tiger.

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Kings vs. Oilers NHL playoff series prediction

The Oilers have gone 26-9-3 in Woodcroft’s 38 games in charge. That is good enough for a 119-point pace over an 82-game season. To put that in perspective: The Stanley Cup favorite Colorado Avalanche finished this season with 119 points.

While a lot of Edmonton’s turnaround under Woodcroft can be chalked up to a remarkable resurgence from Mike Smith in goal, the case can be made that Smith’s surge in form has a lot to do with the Oilers playing a more cohesive defensive game under their new head coach.

Against deeper, more dynamic attacks the Oilers’ defense and goaltending could be called into question, but the Kings just don’t have the finishing talent that will likely be needed to skate with the Oilers.

Los Angeles does a great job at getting pucks to the net and generating quality scoring chances, but the Kings have underperformed by about 25 goals compared to their xG this season. Bad puck luck or running into hot goaltending certainly plays a part in that kind of underwhelming return, but it also shows that this team just lacks the high-end finishes you’re going to need against a team like Edmonton.

NHL playoff series betting
Mike Smith of the Edmonton Oilers
NHLI via Getty Images

There’s always the chance that Mike Smith reverts back to a pumpkin and the Kings are able to skate with the Oilers, but considering that the 40-year-old netminder has skated to a .918 save percentage and +10.5 Goals Saved Above Expected since Jan 1, it seems more likely that Smith does his job for Edmonton in a goaltending matchup against fellow grizzled veteran Jonathan Quick.

If Smith is on song, it’s hard to envision many paths to success for Los Angeles, which also lacks the depth on the blueline needed to cope with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

At -250 odds, the bookmakers give the Oiler a 71.4% chance of winning this series. Based on their history and goaltending issues, that may seem a bit rich but when you note that this team has been playing like an elite team for three months it starts to make more sense.

And given how the Oilers — and Smith — have been playing, there’s a decent chance this series gets away from the Kings pretty quickly. A play on Edmonton to sweep at 6/1 odds is more than palatable.

Kings vs. Oilers NHL playoff series prediction: Oilers to sweep +600 (BetMGM)


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