NHL Betting: Majestic Kings to beat the Blues

The Stanley Cup Play-offs begin tonight and the focus is firmly on the Western Conference as three first round series get under way.

Minnesota are the longest shot to emerge from the West at 14.00 and are faced with the unenviable task of taking on the top seeded Chicago Blackhawks.

The Wild only just squeezed through in the end but that's now irrelevant. This is a team with plenty of talent that could shock anybody. 

Chicago will still be confident they can handle them. The depth in their line-up is unmatched within the conference and almost everybody can hurt you. 

It's hard to go against them when they possess the best home and road records in the NHL. Back the Blackhawks with a -1.5 handicap at 2.15.

A very even match-up is expected with the St Louis Blues and defending champion Los Angeles Kings, but the Kings have actually taken the last seven encounters between the two. 

That includes a swept series in last year's play-offs and all three meetings in 2013. Clearly St Louis need to reverse that trend quickly at home in Game 1. 

With Brian Elliott back to his best in net, the Blues have been one of strongest teams through the last month and much like the Kings their punishing style is suited to play-off hockey. 

LA's roster is mostly untouched from the one that tore through out of nowhere to win it all, who's to say they couldn't do it again? I think the Kings are good value tonight at 2.80.

After winning their last four games of the season the Detroit Red Wings represent a tricky test for the Anaheim Ducks. 

Relatively speaking, Anaheim have been slightly less convincing after being so good for a large part of the season. That's not to say they aren't still major contenders. 

Ryan Getzlaf has had to lead the Ducks' offense all year and needs better support, especially if Detroit have him constantly matched up against Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg. 

Many are predicting an upset in this series. However, I'm sceptical as to whether the Red Wings can carry their form through, considering the favourable quality of opponents during their run in. Take a regulation win for the Ducks at 2.10.

Best Bet: Los Angeles Kings to win at 2.85

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