Capitals vs. Penguins Odds
|Over / Under||6|
|Time||3 pm ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Washington heads to PPG Paints Arena on Saturday for a date with bitter rival Pittsburgh. These matchups never seem to let anyone down, so we should have another excellent one here.
The Penguins suffered a frustrating loss in a very heated game Thursday at Madison Square Garden and return home looking to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat.
Pittsburgh’s offense has been stifled by three elite defensive clubs during the losing streak, but could a date with Washington be the right way to get back on track? Let’s see whee we can find some betting value ahead of this games.
After holding a players only meeting Tuesday, the Capitals bounced back with a solid 4-3 win over the visiting Lightning. Similar to what we have seen consistently from this Washington group, the offensive looked strong, but the defensive play was less sharp and Ilya Samsonov was shaky in behind.
Even the Capitals’ top defenders in John Carlson and Dmitri Orlov’s best strengths are generating offense, and liable to allow odd man rushes the other way at times.
Washington continues to focus on cleaning up its play in the defensive zone. It has still allowed 4.16 goals against per game over the last six contests, and this will be a tough contest to keep those issues in check.
In those 11 games, the Capitals hold a 3.28 xGA / 60 rating and appear prone to dangerous breakdowns in the defensive zone, so it’s hard to say the goals against has simply been the play of Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek in goal.
Offensively, the Capitals continue to shine, especially with the power play continuing to surge back into form. They sat in 31st place at the turn of the new year in regards to power-play efficiency, but have worked their way up to a 21st-best 19.9% rating after finding more success the last six weeks.
Samsonov projects to start in goal and has played to a -8.5 goals saved above expected rating with an .899 save% in 37 games.
Pittsburgh’s struggles continued at MSG, as Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers clearly put together an inspired effort and allowed very little in the game.
Playing short Sidney Crosby did not help things either, but it sounds more likely the Penguins will have him back in the lineup after missing the previous game due to non-COVID illness.
Regardless, we know this offense is deep and capable of producing at a far stronger rate than what we have over the last five games, all of which have come against above-average defensive teams. The Penguins have played the Rangers and Colorado twice, as well as Minnesota during the lull.
Looking toward a larger sample size, Pittsburgh still generated chances at an effective clip, producing a 3.41 xG per 60 minutes, and this group will snap out of that funk soon with the talent on hand.
Tristan Jarry should get the start in goal for the Penguins and has been sharp this season with a +12.9 GSAx rating and a .920 save% in 56 games.
Capitals vs. Penguins Pick
However, the Capitals seem to strive to play, the makeup of this roster continues to lead to high-scoring contests.
This is another game between bitter rivals where there’s some logical reasoning as to why it could stay tighter and low scoring, but I still can’t imagine this contest staying under 6.5 goals too often.
Washington continues to produce at effective rates and enters off what was clearly an excellent night against Tampa Bay. However, Vanecek and Samsonov continue to post middling play, which always becomes more prominent due to the Capitals’ shaky team defense.
Pittsburgh has fallen into an offensive lull in three contests against elite defensive clubs in Colorado and New York, but this could be the spot for the franchise to snap out of it.
I lean toward Washington as a side considering the price of +120 and would jump in there if moves to +125 or better, but find the most value on the total clearing 6.5 goals at -110 odds and will make it my top pick.
Pick: Total Over 6.5 Goals (-110 | Play to -130)
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