NHL Picks: Penguins vs. Panthers Betting Preview

Ross Benjamin

Friday, October 11, 2013 1:02 PM GMT

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers square off on Friday night at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida with faceoff set for 7:35 PM ET.

NHL Preview

According to current NHL betting odds the Penguins are a -185 money line road favorite and the total is 5.5. Pittsburgh is -1.5 (+160) on the puck-line as well. Pittsburgh is 19-7 in their last 26 games versus Florida.

Futility in Florida 

After opening the season with 4 consecutive road games the Florida Panthers will finally play in their home opener this evening. The Panthers had an encouraging start to the season with a 4-2 win at Dallas. Since then they’ve dropped 3 in a row and have been outscored by a whopping 16-3 in the process. Last night they were hammered at Tampa Bay 7-2 and it marked the 2nd time in 3 games they allowed 7 goals. With the veteran Tim Thomas out with a groin injury the Florida goaltending is suspect at best. The current Panthers goalies Jacob Markstrom or Scott Clemmenson have failed to step up to the challenge in Thomas’ absence. Their leading scorer after 4-games is a defensemen Brian Campbell. This will be the Panthers 3rd game in 4-nights. Florida is a dismal 2-14 in their last 16-games in that exact scenario. 

I check out my other pick on the Coyotes & Flyers~

It’s Pittsburgh Perfect 

The Penguins have shot out with a 3-0 start to the season. It would be very difficult to find any flaws in their game at the moment. They’ve outscored their 3 opponents by a combined 12-3, have converted on 33% of their power play chances, and are #1 in the NHL in the faceoff circle winning 58% of their draws. What’s been extremely encouraging for Penguins fans has been the play of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. The 29-year old veteran has been in goal for all 3 wins and has posted a 1.00 goals against average in addition to a terrific .963 save percentage. As per usual Sydney Crosby has led the scoring parade for Pittsburgh with 2-goals and 2-assists. Seven different players scored goals in the first 3-games highlighted by Jussi Jokinen’s hat trick in a 5-2 win over Carolina on Tuesday night. The game in Florida will be the first road game of the season for the Penguins. The Penguins are 44-14 in their last 58-games after allowing 2-goals or less in their previous game.

Have you seen David Lawrence's NHL Picks of the Day?

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Final Analysis

Regardless of the public money which is sure to go the way of the Penguins in this contest I won’t let that deter my rationale. The Penguins are clearly the superior team, are rested, and have a huge edge in goal at this time. My NHL picks advice is to lay the 1.5-goals on the puck-line with Pittsburgh.

Free Pick: Pittsburgh -1.5 (+160) over Florida