Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils has arrived, who will gain the upper hand early tonight? Ahead of the series, the Kings are 1.62 favourites to lift the cup with the Devils back at 2.20 largely due to the LA's ease of passage through to this stage but it's a close call between the two in all honesty. My prediction is LA to win in 6 games, but the first couple of games will give a much clearer picture as to how it's going to pan out.
LA, lest we forget, were seeded 8th in the West, but they have steamrollered over first the Vancouver Canucks, then the St Louis Blues and finally the Phoenix Coyotes, who were the first, second and third seeds respectively. Each of those teams were supposed to stop them, but they've lost only 2 games out of 14 including a perfect record on the road and come in to the finals with a huge amount of confidence.
New Jersey have been turning heads too of course, after having to scrap past the Florida Panthers in round one they have since dispatched two of the heavy favourites in the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers in impressive style. They look an incredibly balanced outfit and have greater final experience than their opponents, it's going to take some more big time performances but these playoffs have been a natural step up for them so far.
Betting is unsurprisingly tight for this one, the hosting Devils are 2.60 to win in regulation with the Kings just edging them at 2.50. I don't expect it to happen, but if New Jersey can't muster a better showing than LA's previous victims, then the odds on Kings wins are only going to get shorter.
Best Bet: Los Angeles Kings to win in regulation at 2.50