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Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby stops with the puck, with ice flying, against the New York Islanders.
ELMONT, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 26: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the New York Islanders at the UBS Arena on November 26, 2021 in Elmont, New York. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by BRUCE BENNETT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Clinging to a playoff spot, the Pittsburgh Penguins travel to Nashville to take on the Predators on Tuesday night. Here's sports betting analyst Scott Cullen's top NHL pick for the matchup based on the best NHL odds.

Coming off a 7-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, the Penguins continue to hold down the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference despite stumbling to an 11-13-5 record in 29 games since mid-December.

Nashville has won three straight games, though all three have come against non-playoff teams (Vancouver, San Jose, and Arizona). The Predators are six points out of the second wild-card spot in the West, with two games in hand on the Seattle Kraken.

Injuries and trades, however, have depleted Nashville's lineup.

Here is our best Penguins vs. Predators NHL pick (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence is based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Check out our NHL best bets for Tuesday.

Penguins vs. Predators pick

First Period Over 1.5 (-138 via FanDuel)

Look for the goals to come early in Nashville on Tuesday.

The Penguins have reached a total of two or more first-period goals in 14 of their past 20 games. And what makes my Tuesday bet so attractive is that the Pens' play at both ends of the ice is a major catalyst for this trend.

Pittsburgh has four 20-goal scorers – Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Rickard Rakell – and the offensive upside needed to get on the board early. Pittsburgh ranks 13th in the NHL in first-period goals on the season (56), but sits No. 2 league-wide since Jan. 18.

At the same time, the Penguins are allowing 33.7 shots against per 60 minutes, which ranks 29th. That suspect defensive play does leave them vulnerable, and it is a big reason why their record has been so mediocre over the past couple of months.

Nashville has been more balanced in terms of first period Overs and Unders, but has a depleted roster right now that should leave it more vulnerable. Injuries have knocked Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Juuso Parssinen out of the Nashville lineup while the Predators have traded wingers Nino Niederreiter and Tanner Jeannot. 

That roster shake-up provides an opening for the Penguins to jump on Nashville early and push this game toward the first period Over.

Check out our latest Stanley Cup odds and Hart Trophy odds.

Penguins vs. Predators best odds

FanDuel (-138) 

P1 Over 1.5P1 Over 1.5P1 Over 1.5P1 Over 1.5P1 Over 1.5
-150-138 🔥-154 ❄️-145-150 

There exists quite a bit of variance among our top-rated sportsbooks, when it comes to the first period total, but that variance reveals potential value.

FanDuel has the first period Over priced at -138, which is clearly more favorable than the rest. It is a niche market, so I wouldn't expect dramatic movement leading up to the game, but monitor any news on player availability.

Check out our Rocket Richard Trophy odds and Norris Trophy odds.

Penguins vs. Predators odds

Check out our Calder Trophy odds.

Penguins vs. Predators odds analysis

FanDuel opened with the Penguins favored at -132, compared to the Predators at +110. 

There has been an even balance in wagering, with 50% of the moneyline wagers on either side. Even so, there has been some line movement towards Pittsburgh, with the Penguins now at -138 and the Preds at +115. 

The total opened at 6.5, with opening odds at -108 for the Over and -112 for the Under. Again, there is a very even balance in the wagering, with 51% of consensus total wagers on the Under, moving the price to -120 for the Under and -102 for the Over.

Penguins vs. Predators game info

  • Date: Tuesday, Feb. 28, 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

Penguins-Predators pick made 2/28/2023 at 2 p.m. ET.

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