NHL Picks: Finding Value In The Penguins vs. Red Wings Game

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, March 26, 2016 3:44 PM GMT

Let's review the NHL Odds in this Eastern Conference clash and cash a ticket on the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings Game.

The Penguins travel to Motown after watching their six-game winning streak snapped in their last outing while the Red Wings have won three of their last four. Let's review the NHL Odds in this Eastern Conference clash and cash a ticket on the Game.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins (40-33 SU, -2.3 units) spiraled up the standings from a team on the precipice of playoff extinction to a club now poised as a postseason contender and within striking distance of capturing second place in the Metropolitan Division. However, the logjam in both divisions is such that a team like Pittsburgh could find themselves tumbling out of the playoff picture if they begin losing while their rivals begin winning. And so it was that their six game winning streak could not have come at a better time which culminated in a 6-2 victory over the best team during the regular season, the Washington Capitals.

Yet the afterglow of one of their biggest wins may have led to one of their most stunning upsets of the season. In Pittsburgh's last outing, fresh off the heels of their win over the Capitals, the NHL odds makers installed them as -285 home chalk against the pedestrian at best, New Jersey Devils. When the dust settled it was the visiting underdogs and their rookie goalie Scott Wedgewood that skated out of Pittsburgh with a 3-0 blanking of the streaking Penguins. Sidney Crosby saw his 12-game point streak halted while the Penguins offense was held scoreless despite outshooting the Devils 39-24.

 

Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings (37-37 SU, -6.5 units) returned home after splitting their four-game road trip to face the Montreal Canadiens. Four year man and former first-round pick Riley Sheahan notched the first two goal game of his career as the Wings took a daunting 4-0 lead into the third period. But it would not be that easy as the Habs refused to go quietly and scored three times in the final stanza to make it a game. When the final buzzer sounded Detroit escaped with a 4-3 win and outshot Montreal 40-29.

As the season winds down the Red Wings find themselves in a similar spot to their opponents this afternoon. Every win is crucial to their postseason chances while each loss inches them further and further towards snapping their 24 year playoff appearance run. Petr Mrazek has gotten the majority of starts over veteran Jimmy Howard and has been one of the top goalies in the league this season with a 2.26 GAA and a .922 save percentage. It appears Mrazek will again be tending the twine this afternoon for the Red Wings.

 

Betting Analysis
Trying to determine which team to include in our NHL picks between these two clubs is a bit tricky as they both need the game to not only climb the ladder but at the very least to avoid playoff extinction. Therefore this game is not "bigger" for one team than another. In addition, the last four contests in Detroit between these clubs has split 2-2.

However, if there is one tipping point it has been the way Pittsburgh and Detroit have fared against each other this season. The Penguins skated away with a 5-2 victory at the Joe Louis Arena back in December and then welcomed the Red Wings to the Consol Energy Center in their last meeting a little over a month ago where they notched a 6-3 win as -130 home favorites.

The Red Wings are barely above .500 at home with a 19-18 straight up record (-7.0 units) while Pittsburgh carries a middling 17-18 road record (-2.0 units). I give the edge to the Penguins who boast a superior offense and, the statistics would tell you, a better defense with a 2.4 GAA versus Detroit's 2.6 goals allowed average. Let's side with the team that has won both prior meetings this season and will do so again in what can be viewed as a must win as they enter the homestretch.

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Free NHL Pick: Pittsburgh +1½ +265
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes