NHL Picks: Penguins -140 Set To Ground The Flyers Tonight

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, April 3, 2016 1:00 PM GMT

A pivotal clash between Metropolitan Division rivals awaits as the Flyers travel to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins. Let's review the NHL odds in this contest with serious playoff implications.

Philadelphia Flyers (39-38 SU, +3.1 units)
There are eight playoff spots available in the Eastern Conference with nine teams left that have either clinched or are fighting for one of those coveted postseason seeds. The Philadelphia Flyers are the most likely candidate to be on the outside looking in when the regular season ends. However, Philadelphia has played some of their finest hockey of the season with their collective backs against the wall. The Flyers have won four of their last five and have five games remaining on the regular season slate which sees them jockeying for a wild card berth with the New York Islanders or an unlikely third seed in the division if both the Rangers and Islanders stumble into a late season swoon.

Unlike their previous five games the Flyers will not be an NHL odds favorite in this one. Here they will visit their neighbors to the west after a 3-2 win over the Senators in which Wayne Simmonds notched a pair of power play goals and Steve Mason turned aside 33 shots en route to the much needed victory last night. Speaking of Mason, the Flyers goalie made his eighth consecutive start and Philadelphia is now 10-3-2 over the course of their last 15 contests.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins (45-33 SU, +2.8 units)
Pittsburgh has guaranteed themselves a seat at the postseason table but where that seat actually is will depend upon how well they can play in their remaining four games. If they win out the string then second place will be theirs regardless of how the other teams jockeying behind them do. Currently the Pens have 98 points in the bank and are three points ahead of the third-place New York Rangers. Pittsburgh would like to hang on to the second seed which would assure them of home ice advantage in the first round. The Penguins have fared well at home with a 25-15 record yet rendered only +1.7 units as a return for all those who backed them in their NHL picks when playing at the Consol Energy Center.

No team in the league has been hotter than the Penguins who have been positively sizzling down the stretch, winning 11 of their last 12 contests. Ironically, their only loss was suffered at the hands of the New Jersey Devils when they were installed as one of the biggest home favorites all season at -285. That illustrates perfectly the mercurial nature of the game and if you make a habit of blindly betting the big chalk, the consequences can be devastating to your bankroll. Pittsburgh did not disappoint in their last outing when they blanked the Islanders in New York by the score of 5-0 last night.

 

Betting Analysis
Here we have two hot teams that both played last night so there is no advantage in terms of which team is fresher this afternoon. We do know that Marc-Andre Fleury will most likely be sidelined with a concussion and has been ruled day-to-day. However, 21-year-old backup Matt Murray has acquitted himself quite nicely with his first shutout of his NHL career last night and is 6-2 with a 1.86 GAA and a .933 save percentage in those eight appearances this season.

Philadelphia has owned the Penguins over the past three seasons winning eight of 11 contests and returning +8.4 units to their backers. But that stat is more than misleading because we care about this season far more than the previous two, so how have they fared in the 2015-2016 campaign against each other? A quick review shows the Penguins have won both games by the scores of 4-3 at home in January and then most recently claimed a 4-1 victory in Philadelphia on March 19th.

If the second seed was locked in for Pittsburgh I would surmise they might take their foot off the pedal and rest their starters, which would obviously be advantageous for the Flyers. But the Pens still have the Rangers nipping at their heels and the fact is they have a far more talented lineup than the Flyers even with Claude Giroux leading the Philly charge. Don't underestimate Pittsburgh's backup netminder Matt Murray. The kid can play and he will today when he stones the Flyers this afternoon.

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Free XXX Pick:  Pittsburgh -140
Best Line Offered:  at Bookmaker