Nothing will top that incredible Big Game last Sunday, but we’ve got plenty of sports betting action on tap this weekend to heat things up again.
In this edition of the Showstopper, we’re featuring a marquee NHL® matchup between the Kings and Golden Knights. Then, we’ll turn to the hardwood for Alabama vs. Kentucky in college basketball, and the NBA All-Star showdown between Team Durant and Team LeBron!
Los Angeles Kings vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Friday, February 18 | TV: ESPN+
In an enticing Pacific Division matchup, the Vegas Golden Knights prepare to face off against the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night. The Golden Knights will do so with a valuable weapon in their arsenal: Jack Eichel. The 25-year-old star center made his season debut on Wednesday night against the Colorado Avalanche, just over three months after undergoing neck surgery. Eichel went pointless as the Avs cruised to a 2-0 shutout. For Friday’s division showdown, Eichel looks to get on the scoresheet for the first time since March 7, 2021, and the Golden Knights hope to avoid a three-game losing streak.
The Golden Knights doubled up on the Kings, 6-3, in the teams’ first matchup of the 2021-2022 season back in December. Vegas forward Jordan Marchessault, currently leading the team with 20 goals, netted two tallies in that victory. Heading into their second clash of the season, the Golden Knights sit in second place in the Pacific Division, just behind the red-hot Calgary Flames. The Kings, meanwhile, own the fourth spot in the division, and hope to avenge that December loss to the Golden Knights.
Both teams boast similar offensive numbers over their last 10 games. The Golden Knights are averaging 2.6 goals and 4.4 assists per game over their last ten contests, while the Kings have registered 2.9 goals and 4 assists per game over that same span. It won’t be a smooth skate for Vegas though, as they will have their hands full with Los Angeles forwards Adrian Kempe and Viktor Arvidsson. Kempe leads the Kings with 19 goals, while Arvidsson is on a hot streak with 8 points in his last 10 games.
No. 25 Alabama vs. No. 4 Kentucky
Saturday, February 19 | TV: CBS
After a 13-point loss to Tennessee, the Wildcats try to rebound with another top-25 showdown against a familiar foe. Kentucky used a balanced scoring attack to win the first matchup, 66-55, on Alabama’s home court. The Crimson Tide shot a lowly 28 percent from the field and 10 percent from beyond the arc in that defeat, so they’ll need stronger performances from their backcourt duo of Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly this time around. Alabama has momentum on its side, with a victory over Mississippi State and a three-game winning streak heading into Saturday.
Keep a close eye on the status of Kentucky guard TyTy Washington. The freshman star left Tuesday’s game against the Vols and continues to deal with an ankle injury. With tournament action right around the corner, head coach John Calipari will likely play it safe and not rush him back into the lineup again. If Washington sits, things get a bit easier for Alabama on the offensive end, and you can also expect more scoring contributions from Kentucky forwards Oscar Tshiebwe and Keion Brooks Jr. Both clubs are averaging just over 80 points per game, so this could be a fast-paced affair, in spite of Alabama’s volatile offensive display last time out.
Team Durant vs. Team LeBron (NBA All-Star Game)
Sunday, February 20 | TV: TNT
Here’s a safe prediction: A lot of points will be scored. The All-Star Game that amounts to a non-stop offensive exhibition should be fun to watch, but very little defense will be played, as per the norm. Last year, Team LeBron won 170-150 over Team Durant, and LeBron James stacked his squad once again (at least on paper). With Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, Nikola Jokic, Donovan Mitchell, James Harden, and Luka Doncic on his side, LeBron has plenty of scoring options in the mix. But the real ace up Bron’s sleeve is MVP candidate DeMar DeRozan, who recently broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record by scoring seven straight 35-point games while shooting over 50 percent from the field.
Kevin Durant took a playmaker-heavy approach to forming his All-Star unit, adding Ja Morant, Trae Young, LaMelo Ball and Dejounte Murray, so there will be no shortage of drive-and-dish attempts from Team Durant in this game. Following last year’s 20-point loss, Durant opted for more help in the paint by including centers Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Rudy Gobert. Still, on a pure talent level, Team LeBron definitely has the offensive edge, including the more dangerous long-distance shooters.