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October 31, 2014

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Vegas Play of the Day: Stanley Cup Finals Game 1

Image

AP

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) can’t stop a San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) score during the first period in Game 6 of their second-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, May 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

The Astros curse struck again.

Ray Brewer claims he’s 0-5 betting against Houston in the Play of the Day, which began with the three of us gifted a fictional $10,000 bankroll to spend on the South Point betting lines, and Taylor Bern felt the wrath yesterday. Note to self: Stay away from fading Houston.

New York Rangers plus-145 over Los Angeles Kings: $220 to win $319

South Point opened this line tighter with the Rangers offered at plus-135. It’s less surprising than the Thrashers ditching Atlanta that the book had to boost New York’s price.

No one is picking the Rangers in the series. The Kings should start configuring the space where they’ll put their second Stanley Cup in three years, according to the vast majority of hokey fans. And apparently the betting market.

Reports indicate as many as eight out of every 10 tickets are on Los Angeles, despite its chalky odds. The question is why.

The sheer excitement of their seven-game series with the Chicago Blackhawks masked its sloppiness. Defensive breakdowns were the norm as the Kings allowed four goals or more in each of the last three games.

The Rangers, on the contrary, were sterling. Aside from a 7-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in game five, New York was dominant in a six-game series victory.

Henrick Lundqvist is playing at an extremely high level and could follow in the established path of goalies who have caught fire during the playoffs to lead their teams to a championship in the past. The Kings should know about that, as an impassible phase from Jonathan Quick led them to glory in 2012.

Los Angeles is 0-3 in Game 1s through the playoffs. New York has better than a 40 percent chance to extend the record to 0-4, making this a profitable bet.

Standings: Bern (29-20-1, $11,869), Keefer (24-27, $8,788), Brewer (18-27-3, $4,450)

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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