NHL Picks: Penguins vs. Flyers

David Lawrence

Friday, January 18, 2013 8:44 PM GMT

On Opening Day, The Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins clash in the battle for Pennsylvania. Let's break down this game to get winning NHL picks to take to the ticket windows.

NHL Betting – Penguins vs. Flyers NHL Picks

Although the NBC television previews for this games might have you believe that the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the playoffs last year – “Claude Giroux and the Flyers have their sights set on revenge for last season's playoff loss to Pitt!” the commercial said – the reality was the other way around. While many people thought that the Penguins were set for a long playoff run, the Flyers throttled them rather easily, abusing goaltender Marc-Ande Fleury like a cheap piñata.

Now the two Pennsylvania rivals meet in the first match-up of the 2013 season and we’ll find out if either team has learned anything.

The Pittsburgh Penguins can win because…

The Flyers defense is really bad. When you start to take a closer look at the Flyers blue line, it’s in dire shape right now. Chris Pronger is out (and might never be back), Andrej Meszaros (ACL) is questionable and 37-year-old Kimmo Timonen is coming off back surgery. They added Luke Schenn to the mix but there’s hardly a shutdown man in this group that will be necessary for the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Speaking of which, the Pens front lines are finally healthy as Sid the Kid is back and he’ll reunite on the top line with Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz. The second line watched Malkin emerge into an Art Ross winner last year while James Neal developed into a 40-goal scorer. Yes, they’ll miss Jordan Staal but they have ample scoring here to give the Flyers – and Ilya Bryzgalov – fits.

Bryzgalov is head case and while he’d like to put last season behind him, the Pens talented offense will make sure that doesn’t happen.

The Philadelphia Flyers can win because…

They have the Penguins number. In their postseason series with Pittsburgh last year, the Flyers scored 30 goals and they should be able to shred Marc-Andre Fleury once again. And the Pens did nothing to improve their defense over the course of the offseason. If anything, trading away Zbynek Michalek downgraded their already-weak unit.

The Flyers offense is big, strong and awesome, which is why the Pens have a tough time with them. Even with Jaromir Jagr gone, the Flyers still have ample weapons including up-and-comer Brayden Schenn, who was averaging a point-per-game in the AHL this season. Along with Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Scott Hartnell, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read, the Flyers are deep. They had eight players with 43 or more points last season and the same should happen again.

The Flyers are deep upfront and will keep coming in waves. Eventually they’ll break through and score in bunches just like they did in the meetings last year. That should put them in good shape on Saturday. Maybe even good enough shape to cover the NHL betting odds.

[gameodds]7/218097/43/us[/gameodds]

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:

The bet that makes sense to me in this game is the over. As far as the sides go, who knows. The two teams are evenly matched up and the game could go either way. However, the one thing that I see happening here is the game being high scoring and that is how I am going with my NHL picks.

The Flyers just have Fleury’s number but their own defense has degraded in the offseason. That should allow Pittsburgh to match them tit-for-tat and push this game over the number.

NHL Picks: Over 6 at Bovada

See our Betting Tips for Opening Day here~