Stanley Cup Playoffs: Series odds, probabilities, and bets for L.A. Kings versus Edmonton Oilers

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Los Angeles pushed Edmonton to the brink in 2022, taking the Oilers to a seventh game in their first-round series, but Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were too much for the Kings to overcome. Both teams are improved heading into the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the Kings strong play down the stretch was not enough to sway sportsbooks from listing the Oilers as a big favorite. To get a sense of each team’s strengths and weaknesses, let’s take a closer look at their respective statistics and compare them head-to-head.

 

Here’s a tale of the tape for the upcoming series:

Edmonton has a clear advantage on offense, ranking among the top-five teams in goals and expected goals at even strength, and they’ve got the most dangerous powerplay in the league. So dangerous that the Oilers are the first team to have a trio of 100-point scorers (Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) since the 1995-96 season. Edmonton lost the first game of the season series in decisive fashion, but that game was back in January and in the two meetings (March 30th and April 4th) since then the Oilers have outscored the Kings 5-1.

Of course, the Kings have been one of the best teams in the NHL over the last couple of the months, and the improvements they made at the trade deadline have paid off so far, but no team has scored more goals than the Oilers since the start of December and adding Mattias Ekholm to their defense corps brought everything full circle. The Oilers are finding ways to win games that McDavid and Draisaitl aren’t winning for them, so this as close to a complete team as there has been in Edmonton since McDavid was drafted.

Can the Kings stop Connor McDavid?

McDavid scored 123 points in 80 games last season but then increased his production by more than 30 percent in the playoffs scoring just over two points per game. He showed us all that he had another gear, or two, and he followed it up with the most dominant season in decades, so the answer is probably no. The Kings did hold McDavid to just two points in three games this season, which is an impressive feat considering that he scored two-plus points more often than he didn’t, but McDavid has already shown us that he can ramp it up in the playoffs and the Kings won’t be able to focus all their efforts on stopping him because players like Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins and Evander Kane are big time threats, too.

Who will win the goaltending battle?

Year-to-date, Stuart Skinner has been the best goaltender. The 24-year-old rookie has saved the team approximately 18 goals above expected and his 29-14-5 record is the reason we don’t have to talk about Jack Campbell. More recently, though, Joonas Korpisalo has been tending the goal for the Kings, and his strong play has closed the gap quite a bit. We’ve only seen the good side of Skinner so far in his NHL career and Korpisalo has shown us more good than bad. However, I don’t discount the fact that he’s stepped up big in the playoffs before. Still, the Oilers have a slight edge in goal and that’s bad news for the Kings.

Can the Kings get the jump on Edmonton in Game 1?

Last season, Los Angeles opened their best-of-seven series versus the Oilers up with a win in Edmonton and I think it’s one of the more interesting storylines heading into Game 1 of this series. The Oilers will tell you that they’re a more mature team after what they went through last season, and that’s probably true. Up until that point, Edmonton hadn’t found a way to transfer their success in the regular season over to the playoffs. The Oilers fell behind against the Kings and the Flames but managed to battle back and win each series, and I would like to think that the Oilers would not be rattled should that happen again. However, I would be surprised if the team isn’t more intent on making quick work of teams now that they know how hard it is to go all the way. The Oilers (unsurprisingly) lead the league in first-period goals, and should start this series on time. DraftKings Sportsbooks +145 odds on the first period handicap (-0.5) are currently the best odds in the market.

Bet: Edmonton Oilers 1st Period Puck Line (-0.5) +145

Who will win the series?

There are many ways a best-of-seven series can play out and it’s important to consider the entire range of possibilities when making series predictions. I calculate the probability of each team winning in four, five, six, or seven games and then use those predictions to price series prop markets such as the series winner, series spread, correct score, and total games. Here are my predictions:

Series Probabilities: Edmonton Oilers

Series Probabilities: Los Angeles Kings

Los Angeles is a much-improved team, but so is Edmonton. The Kings have talent, but the Oilers’ talent is generational and the way they’ve put everything together over the last few months means that everything seems to be coming together at the wrong time for their opponents. The Kings can win the series if their offense shows up every game and Korpisalo is able to steal a game or two, but Edmonton should come out on top around 68 percent of the time.