The Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights (41-16-4) will play the first game of a home-and-home series with the Los Angeles Kings (33-24-5) on the road Monday when they visit Staples Center in a pick'em matchup.
The Golden Knights have won the first two meetings in the season series by a combined score of 7-4, taking the most recent one 3-2 at Los Angeles on December 28.
Betting line: This game opened as a pick'em; the total is at 5.5 goals, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. Line updates and matchup report.
Why the Golden Knights Can Pay on the NHL Lines
Vegas has one of the best road records in the Western Conference at 17-11-2, which is one of the reasons the expansion team has a shot to win the Presidents' Trophy.
The Golden Knights are only one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for the NHL lead and one ahead of the Western Conference champion Nashville Predators in the playoff race.
This squad is a tight-knit group focused on not only winning the division but also playing for the Stanley Cup in the team's first year.
Why the Kings Can Pay on the NHL Lines
The Kings have much more experience in these types of situations, and they are used to playing with their backs against the wall.
They would not be in the postseason for the second year in a row if the season ended today, which is unacceptable for a team that has won two Stanley Cups since 2012.
Despite making a coaching change in the offseason and some trades recently, Los Angeles has found it difficult to get its groove back. However, the Kings had won three of four prior to Saturday's disappointing 4-3 home loss to the Edmonton Oilers, which saw a potential game-tying goal waved off in the final seconds. They should be extra motivated to win here after seeing their rally fall short.
Smart Betting Pick
This is a much bigger game and series for Los Angeles than Vegas. The Golden Knights are a virtual lock to make the playoffs, while the Kings must find a way to finish strong and overtake the Calgary Flames and/or Anaheim Ducks in their final 20 games to get into the postseason.
That is no easy task considering how well the Flames and Ducks have played lately. Los Angeles has won its past two when playing the first game of a back-to-back situation, though, so look for the home team to come through in this key divisional matchup.
NHL Betting Trends
Vegas is 5-1 in its past six games.
The total has gone over in eight of Vegas' past 11 games.
Los Angeles is 3-7 in its past 10 games at home.
All NHL odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.