- When: Tuesday, October 11, 2023 at 10:05 pm EST.
- Where: Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California
- Who is playing: Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings
The 2022-23 NHL season opener is set for Tuesday, October 11 as the Los Angeles Kings host the Vegas Golden Knights for the first West Coast battle of the year. Both teams have playoff aspirations this season and will be looking to get off to a hot start with a win in their first matchup of the year. Anze Kopitar will look to lead LA to a 1-0 start up against a Golden Knights squad led by 2021 trade acquisition Jack Eichel. Before we dive into the betting picks for the matchup, make sure to check out our NHL Stanley Cup betting guide for some tips and advice, as well as taking a look at our NHL prop betting guide.
Golden Knights vs. Kings Odds
|Puck Line||Money Line||Total|
|Golden Knights||-||+103||O6 (+102)|
Golden Knights Preview
The Vegas Golden Knights had a disappointing season in 2021-22, failing to make the playoffs despite entering the year with expectations of making a deep run in the playoffs, and potentially another push for a Stanley Cup Finals appearance. That was far from the case, as the Knights finished the year with a 43-31-8 record (94 points) missing out on the final playoff spot by three points to the Nashville Predators. The Golden Knights were solid offensively, scoring 266 goals, but their defense was less than stellar, surrendering 248. Their disappointing results saw them fire head coach Peter DeBoer and replace him with Bruce Cassidy.
While Cassidy will look to turn things around for the Golden Knights, the team had one of the NHL’s worst offseasons. The Golden Knights sent Max Pacioretty to the Carolina Hurricanes for practically nothing. Pacioretty was one of their best players throughout the past few seasons, so losing him without any return is a brutal blow. Evgeni Dadonov also left under similar circumstances, while the Knights didn’t make any marquee acquisitions. Their biggest move was landing the aging Phil Kessel in free agency, and it’s hard to say whether he has a strong season left in the tank. Additionally, star goaltender Robin Lehner is set to miss the entire season after undergoing offseason surgery, already leaving Vegas shallow in the net.
Still, not all is bad for the Golden Knights. They figure to get a full 82-game season out of Jack Eichel this year, so they’ll begin to see the fruits of their blockbuster trade with the Buffalo Sabres. Additionally, Mark Stone will be back in action after missing significant time last season. The Knights’ offensive top six is still a very strong group, and they shouldn’t struggle to get points on the board for Vegas.
The Kings were bounced in the first round of the playoffs last year by the Edmonton Oilers, but it wasn’t a bad year for Los Angeles. The Kings finished just ahead of the Golden Knights in the Pacific Division with a 44-27-11 record (99 points). While the Kings were one of the lowlier offensive teams in hockey last year, scoring just 239 goals, they made up for it on the other end with one of the better defensive units in the league. In 2021-22, the Kings’ defense, headlined by veteran Drew Doughty and hard-hitting enforcer Mikey Anderson, surrendered 236 goals, which ranked 10th in the league. There were still some major deficiencies within that defensive group, however. The Kings surrendered 53 power-play goals which ranked in the bottom third of the league and had a penalty kill percentage of 76.4 percent, which was also in the bottom third.
This year’s Kings team should be significantly better on offense than they were last year. The Kings managed to swing a trade for former Minnesota Wild star Kevin Fiala, and while that marked their only marquee move of the offseason, it was a significant one. Fiala registered a career-high 85 points last year and figures to build off that campaign in his first season in LA. He’ll share a line with top Kings’ offensive talents in Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe. Kopitar registered 67 points last year, while Kempe set a career-high with 35 goals.
The Golden Knights and Kings split their regular-season series 2-2 last year. In total, the Golden Knights outscored the Kings 16-14 in their two games. The teams averaged a total of 7.5 goals per contest last season when squaring off with each other, and none of their matchups saw a total score below six goals. The trend of high-scoring games between these two teams could very well carry into the new season.
These two teams matchup pretty evenly in the season-opening showdown, and the odds reflect that. The Golden Knights (+103) are considered slight underdogs, likely due to the fact they’re playing on the road. The Kings (-114) will look to defend the newly re-branded Crypto.com Arena against Eichel and Co. We’re expecting both offenses to try and make a statement in their first game of the year, and the score should reflect that.
Our best pick for this game is the score total of Over 6 goals, (O6 +102). Considering this was the minimum goal output from the Kings and Golden Knights’ four matchups last season, it’s hard to imagine they fall short of this mark again in the season opener. At (+102), taking the over could be an excellent pick for the game.
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