Bet Home Underdog Devils As Your NHL Picks Against Crashing Penguins

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, March 6, 2016 2:28 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016 2:28 PM UTC

The Penguins are fresh off a stunning defeat to the Flames while the Devils try desperately to stay within the playoff spot. Let's see the NHL odds and determine which side to back.

Pittsburgh Penguins (33-31, -5.3 units)
Last night the dogs howled as Miesha Tate upset Holly Holm, Nate Diaz shocked Conor McGregor and the lowly Calgary Flames torched the Pittsburgh Penguins. If you decided to include Pittsburgh in your NHL picks last night you have my condolences as they were installed as -290 home favorites by the NHL odds makers and fell 4-2 in front of 18,000 plus fans. Calgary had lost 10 of the last 11 to the Penguins before last night.

If there was any silver lining to Pittsburgh's loss last night it was the pair of goals scored by Sidney Crosby. The Penguins' captain can be a transformative force at times but also frustratingly silent. Sid the Kid now appears to be the former with seven points over his last four games. The Pens will need Crosby to shine down the stretch if they are to maintain their tenuous grasp on the eighth and final playoff spot. The recently acquired defenseman Justin Schultz was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game while forward Kevin Porter will miss the remainder of the season with an ankle injury.


New Jersey Devils (31-35, +0.5 units)
After dropping six of their last seven the Devils got a boost with a big 5-4 overtime victory in Nashville. Offense has not come easy for New Jersey this season and scoring five goals is a rarity to be sure but it appeared that perhaps this was the game where things would finally turn around. That optimism was short-lived however as the club flew to Dallas and was summarily dispatched by the score of 4-2 on Friday night as +195 road underdogs.

In a season of frustration for players and fans alike the one thing the Devils cannot endure is a stretch without their starting netminder Corey Schneider. Yet that is exactly what they may be looking at as Schneider left Friday night's game with a lower body injury after allowing three goals on 18 shots. The former first-round pick and seven year veteran was replaced by capable backup Keith Kinkaid who saved all six shots he faced in the remaining minutes of the third period. Unless Schneider makes a hasty recovery expect Kinkaid to tend the twine this afternoon against the Penguins.


Betting Analysis
These clubs have split the series thus far with the Devils blanking the Pens 4-0 back in November in New Jersey and the Penguins answering in January with a 2-0 shutout of New Jersey on their home ice. However, if you research the last six games played in New Jersey between these two teams you will find that the Devils are 5-1 and +4.9 units in front of the fan friendlies. In addition, we have a Pittsburgh team dragging their gear into New Jersey after they were skated off the ice by the lowly Flames just last night. And finally we know that the highway has not been kind to the Pens this season as they are just 13-17 (-4.8 units) on the road and average just 2.2 goals per game.

Of course we cannot get carried away with betting New Jersey. They can't even be considered a good team this season as they score at an anemic 2.2 goals per game but their defense is stout and their goaltending amongst the best. Ironically the Devils are opportunistic on the power play connecting on 21.3 percent of their man-advantaged situations which ranks them 8th in the league. Conversely, the Penguins, boasting all that offensive firepower, rank just 17th in that category.

What we have here is a value play. The squares and the uninformed - I guess that's one in the same - will take a quick glance and note the high-flying Penguins (they're really not this year ranking 12th in goals scored) are playing the lowly Devils so lay the lumber and bet the Pens. Those common misperceptions cost money and if we can get a home dog with a legitimate chance of winning (remember the Devils have won five of their last six at home against Pittsburgh) against a team on zero days rest who cannot seem to win in a particular building why not grab the juice instead of lay it?

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Free NHL Pick: New Jersey +126
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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