NHL Hockey Betting Odds, Rangers vs Penguins Lines

NHL Odds

Rangers at Penguins Picks

By Adam Markowitz

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in serious danger of missing out on the postseason. The back-to-back Stanley Cup champions are currently sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and have a goal differential of -12. They have been playing better in recent weeks, but a terrible December put them behind the eight ball in the conference.

Pittsburgh will play host to the New York Rangers this weekend. The Rangers have overcome an awful start to the season and are battling for a playoff spot. A road win against a division rival would be nice.

New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins
Date and Time: Sunday, January 14, 2018, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Rangers at Penguins TV Coverage: NBCSN

Both of these teams will be playing on Saturday afternoon, so fatigue may be a little bit of a factor.

Pittsburgh has won three of its last four. However, the Penguins have not won a home game in regulation in quite a long time. The last time the Pens won a home game without going to overtime was all the way back on December 2, when they beat Buffalo 5-1. Since then, they have played eight home games. They lost four in regulation, won two in overtime, and won two in a shootout.

The Rangers have a knack of getting at least a point in each of their road games. Although they lost 2-1 to Vegas in their last road game, this team had ended regulation tied up in five straight road tilts prior to that. Under has been a great play in Rangers games recently, with 10 of their last 13 finishing under the total.

Injuries to Watch

New York’s Chris Kreider will be out for at least another month after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot. The Rangers might have another winger back for this one though as Kevin Hayes looks set to return from a concussion.

For Pittsburgh, Carter Rowney and Bryan Rust will be out for a significant amount of time. However, it looks like defenseman Chad Ruhwedel might be able to return for this one.

Key Stats

The main thing keeping Pittsburgh in the mix is its success on the power play. The Penguins have the NHL’s best power play, finding the back of the net on 26.6 percent of their opportunities this year.

This team has been on fire on the power play over its last nine games. Pittsburgh found the back of the net in six of those games and scored twice on the power play in four of those tilts. Through the nine games, the Penguins are 10-26 on the man advantage. That’s an incredible number over a significant period of time.

To make things easier, the penalty kill is one of the ten best units in the NHL. Pittsburgh has successfully killed off all penalties in seven straight games. Opponents had a combined 17 power play opportunities in those games, and the Penguins defenders helped them get some needed points by blanking them.

Player to Watch

New York has had a hard time generating offense over the last couple weeks. The Rangers have tallied just eight goals in their last five games, so one of their scorers needs to get back on track.

We all knew that Michael Grabner was going to come back down to Earth after his hot start, so now it’s up to players like Mika Zibanejad to start finding the back of the net for the Rangers. Zibanejad is second on the team in scoring, but has scored almost half of his goals on the power play. He needs to start scoring at even strength.

Rangers at Penguins Free Picks

These teams are very familiar with each other. They have already met twice this year with both games going over the total and the road teams winning each time.

Pittsburgh is going to be favored here, but with how it has played at home, the Rangers are a great bet. You can get them at a good price and should back them here.

Rangers at Penguins Pick: Back the Rangers on the road
Rangers at Penguins Score Prediction: Rangers 3 – Penguins 2

NHL Betting Odds, Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins Picks

NHL Odds

Lightning at Bruins Picks

By Adam Markowitz

The Tampa Bay Lightning have not got off to a good start on this recent road swing. The best team in the East dropped their first two games and has to face Buffalo on Tuesday night before traveling to face the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night in a nationally televised affair. Boston has been at home for the holidays and will have had two days of rest before this one, making the task for Tampa Bay that much harder.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins
Date and Time:Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
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Lightning at Bruins TV Coverage: NBCSN

Despite a two-game losing streak, the Lightning are the best team in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay is 16-5-2 this season and had won six of its last seven before dropping consecutive road games to Washington and Pittsburgh. Because of their dominance, Tampa Bay has been favored in almost every game this season, but might be an underdog here given the situation. The last two times the Lightning were underdogs, they won outright.

Boston got off to a slow start this season, but has recently rallied. The Bruins are 10-8-4, but have won four of their last five games. Surprisingly enough, Boston won each of the four games in which it was an underdog, but lost the one game in which it was a favorite. The boys from Beantown are 9-13 ATS this season.

Key Stats

Tampa Bay’s offense sputtered a little bit against Washington and Pittsburgh, but there’s no doubt that this is still one of the best teams in the NHL. The Lightning are averaging 3.7 goals per game and Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are trying to one-up each other for both the Art Ross and the Hart Trophy at this point in the season.

Kucherov is the goal scorer of the two and has tallied 17 goals on the season. The most impressive part of his scoring is the fact that almost all of it is done at even strength. All but three of his goals were at even strength, giving this team a huge edge on their opponents.

Stamkos is more of a distributor, but he has become the assassin on the power play. All but three of his goals were on the power play this season, and 16 of his 36 points came on the man advantage.

The success of Kucherov and Stamkos has overshadowed the emergence of a great second line, led by Vladislav Namestnikov. Namestnikov is on pace to shatter his career-best for points in a season by double and has 22 points in 23 games this season. He has been a power play ace too with nine points on the man advantage.

Player to Watch

It looks like Boston will continue to use Anton Khudobin as its primary goaltender for the time being. Khubodin started all four games in the Bruins’ recent win streak, and Tuukka Rask started in the loss against Edmonton on Sunday.

There’s been a stark difference in performance between the two this season. Khubodin has led his team to at least a point in all nine of his starts, while Rask has been in net for all eight of the Bruins regulation losses.

Khubodin will almost certainly be in net in this one, as his GAA is 0.7 goals better than Rask and his save percentage is 33 points higher at this point.

Lightning at Bruins Free Picks

Tampa Bay has a lights out goalie of its own in Andrei Vasilevskiy, however, he probably won’t get the start in this one. The last three times the Lightning played road games in back-to-back nights, Peter Budaj was in net for the second game. Budaj is a significant downgrade from Vasilevskiy and there is no question that the Bruins will be favorites if he is the starter. He has a 3.75 GAA and a .867 save percentage this season and just one win to his name.

I expect Budaj to get the start as the trend should continue on this road swing, but if Vasilevskiy is in net, hold off on playing Boston.

Lightning at Bruins Pick: Take Boston on the moneyline
Lightning at Bruins Score Prediction: Bruins5 – Lightning 3

NHL Betting Matchups Odds, Washington Capitals at Nashville Predators Picks

Nashville Predators

Capitals at Predators Picks

By Adam Markowitz

The Nashville Predators are the hottest team in the Western Conference right now. Nashville has won four in a row and has proved itself against some of the best teams in the NHL during that slate. The Preds went on the road to win against Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Columbus and followed that up with a shootout win over Pittsburgh in the Music City on Saturday. Their quest to top every one of the best teams in the league during this run continues on Tuesday night when they host the Washington Capitals in NBC’s Tuesday night hockey showdown.

Washington Capitals at Nashville Predators
Date and Time: Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
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Capitals at Predators TV Coverage: NBCSN

Recently, it’s been Nashville’s offense that has come alive in its wins. The Predators have tallied at least three goals in every one of their wins during this recent swing and that has overshadowed some uncharacteristically poor goaltender play. Nashville has allowed 11 goals during this timeframe and it comes as no surprise that three of those four games went over the total.

Washington has been on fire since the start of November. Although the Caps dropped one on national television to the Sabres last week, they have won five of their six this month. Under has been a great bet in Washington games as the last five tilts have had five goals or less.

Key Stats

The Capitals are a little fortunate to be tied for second in the Metropolitan Division at this point. They aren’t as lucky as the Penguins who somehow have the same amount of points despite being -18 in goal differential, but it’s interesting to see Washington with a winning record although it is breakeven in goal differential.

Any time you talk about Washington, the first player that comes to mind is Alex Ovechkin. However, Evgeny Kuznetsov may be even more important to the team this year and he has certainly been more consistent with his performances. Kuznetsov has 16 assists already this season and has played a big part in Washington’s wins. In the Caps’ 10 wins, he has 14 assists, but in the team’s eight losses, he has just two helpers.

While there is certainly correlation with those stats, that amount of correlation is off the charts. Averaging a point and a half per game in wins is extremely impressive and shows that he is coming through for his team.

Player to Watch

Pekka Rinne is the leader of Nashville and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Rinne has been phenomenal this season and has an 8-2-2 record when he is between the pipes. He boasts a 2.23 GAA and a .929 save percentage and continues to dominate into his mid-30s.

His performance has been even more impressive when you consider the fate of his backup, Juuse Saros. Saros has really struggled in his four starts this season, posting a record of 1-3. He has a 3.94 GAA and a save percentage of just .855.

There were doubts about Rinne coming into this season because of his age, but he is continuing to prove all the naysayers wrong. Nashville has to hope that he doesn’t go down with an injury though or else it could submarine its season.

Capitals at Predators Free Picks

The Predators have the advantage when it comes to special teams. Nashville is in the top ten when it comes to both the power play and the penalty kill. That has really helped a team that doesn’t score many goals keep finding ways to win.

Conversely, Washington is in the bottom half of the NHL in both categories. The power play is of particular concern as it should be better with so many playmakers and sharpshooters on this roster, but it has been lacking.

Nashville should be a short to moderate favorite in this one and the Predators are a solid bet. They play great at home and will have a loud, energetic crowd with the Caps in town.

Capitals at Predators Pick: Grab the Predators on the moneyline
Capitals at Predators Score Prediction: Predators 3 – Capitals 1