The NHL Stanley Cup Finals begin on Wednesday from southern California when the Los Angeles Kings host the New York Rangers.
Los Angeles will be attempting to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in the past three seasons. The Kings won the Cup back in 2012.
The last time the Rangers were in the Stanley Cup final was the same time they last won it. In 1995, New York with Mark Messier took the Cup in seven games versus the Vancouver Canucks. That Cup win in 1994, was the first for the team since 1940.
With the home-ice advantage, Los Angeles has been made the favorite to win the best of seven games series and is currently priced on Bovada and sportsbook.com at -165. The Rangers are currently priced at +145 on betonline and topbet.
Odds makers will have Los Angeles as high as -155 for Game 1. If both teams were equal, the King would be going off at home at about -130, but bookmakers believe that the Kings are the better team.
The Western Conference’s strength has had a lot to do with bookmakers giving the Kings the advantage. The top teams out west all were given shorter odds all season.
In the West there were the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado, St. Louis and oh yeah did I mention the Los Angeles Kings.
In the East, the only teams that were given much respect by bookmakers were Pittsburgh and Boston.
The Bruins were thought by bookmakers to have the easiest route to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, Boston did not match up well versus the Montreal Canadians and were eliminated early.
New York was able to overcome Pittsburgh, and then bypassed Boston to face Montreal. The Canadians top goalie Carey Price went down in the first game, and New York eventually won in 6.
The Rangers at one time were as high as 30-1 to win the Cup, but with Henrik Lundqvist in net, the team has reached the finals.
Jonathan Quick, the Los Angeles goaltender has not been as good as in the past. Against the Blackhawks, Quick’s save percentage was just .889.
However, odds makers do not seem concerned as they consider Quick one of the top five net minders in the league.
Game 1 is Wednesday and the Kings opened at -155 but are now -150, while the Rangers opened at +135 and are sitting on +140.
During the regular season, the teams played twice head-to-head. New York won 3-1 on the road last October, while Los Angeles won 1-0 in November on the road.
Kings -165, Rangers +145
Game 1 Line and Total
Kings -150, Rangers +140
Total: 5 with the UNDER -120, OVER +100