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NHL Betting Picks: Bet of the Day | Minnesota at Los Angeles | 1/14/21

Geoff Ulrich



NHL betting picks for Thursday, January 14 2021 Wild vs Kings | Wild Moneyline and over 5.5 goals prop bets

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NHL Betting Picks: Wild at Kings | Jan. 14

The Wild are an interesting team, as they came on strong towards the end of 2020 but still ended last year in just 10th position in the Western Conference (prior to the COVID stoppage). They had just a neutral goal differential in 2019-2020 as well but did outscore four teams ahead of them in the conference despite playing fewer regular season games than most. Minnesota also went through quite a few personnel changes up front, trading away one of their core forwards in Eric Staal over the offseason. Despite Staal’s deletion, the Wild look leaner and more skilled up front, partially due to the addition of 2015 fifth-round draft pick Kirill Kaprizov. Kaprizov lit up the KHL and was the leading goal scorer there for two straight years. The combo of him and Kevin Fiala makes this Wild offense one to target right off the bat for betting and DFS purposes.

Los Angeles didn’t make as many changes and will likely be a bottom-10 team again in terms of goals scored. It’s not all bleak, though. This year they have a few more young forwards who could creep up and possibly make an impact, like Blake Lizotte. The Kings also added Olli Maatta on the backend. Their biggest boost could come in net, as many expect Calvin Petersen, who posted a .921 save percentage in six games last year, to play the most games for them this year.

Best Bet: Minnesota Wild Moneyline -118 (BetMGM)

I like the direction the Kings are headed, but at the same time, I like the moves the Wild made more. Stability early in the season should be provided by goalie Cam Talbot, who rebounded last year to post a solid .919 save percentage. He likely gets the edge in net here against Jonathan Quick, who is projected to start for the Kings. The Wild actually allowed more goals per game than Los Angeles last year but had a far better goal differential, and the arrival of Talbot and Kaprizov could make that difference even more profound between these teams in 2021.

On special teams, both teams ranked in the bottom eight in penalty kill last year, although the Kings’ addition of a solid defender like Maatta could help them a bit there. Still, it is Minnesota that has the firepower to actually take advantage of this special teams liability. The Wild ranked 10th in power-play efficiency last season, and the addition of Kaprizov should only help heighten the difference between the power-play units here.

Ultimately the shortened training camps and lack of preseason play should make it difficult on defenses at the start of the year. On night 1 we saw four games with seven or more goals. If shootouts are the name of the game early, I’d rather be on the Wild here, which has a far more dynamic offense and, quite frankly, a deeper team at most positions. While we’re not quite at pick-’em levels, the juice to take the Wild here on the moneyline is pretty small and can be had at just under even odds at a couple sportsbooks up on the OddsShopper (by Awesemo). It sets up as a solid line to take for night two.

Bonus: Wild/Kings over 5.5 goals +100 (betMGM)

As an addition, the first night has likely been a good sign that we should expect plenty of goals early in the year. Three of the five games hit eight goals or more, and four different teams scored five or more times. With just a 5.5 over/under attached to this game, I also like taking the over here, as there are solid lines as high as +100 if you look on the Awesemo OddsShopper tool.

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