Islanders-Penguins Betting Preview: Is Pittsburgh A Sure Thing?

Islanders-Penguins Betting Preview: Is Pittsburgh A Sure Thing? article feature image

Perry Nelson, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Matt Murray

Betting odds: New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Islanders moneyline: +203
  • Penguins moneyline: -227
  • Over/Under: 6.5 (-115/-105)
  • Puck drop: 7 p.m. ET

>> All odds as of Monday at 11:45 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NHL odds and track your bets

Coming into play on Monday night, underdogs have had a lot of success in the early part of the 2018-19 season.

According to Bet Labs (which uses Pinnacle’s closing number), pooches are 63-85 but +4.58 units (3.1% ROI). Underdogs +130 or longer are even better, going 38-54 for +7.01 units (7.6% ROI). That being said, those numbers will eventually even out as the season progresses and the market becomes more efficient. Still it’s interesting to note.

The Pittsburgh Penguins return home after sweeping a four-game road trip, outscoring their opponents, 23-6.

The Pens will host the New York Islanders, who come into this one on a two-game winning streak, on Tuesday night.

The odds tell you the story of this game — Pittsburgh is the far superior team — but is the price on the Penguins too short? I think it is, even though I expect the Penguins to win this game.

Pittsburgh is a legitimate contender in the East but its 6-1-2 record and +14 goal differential flatters them too much. Believe it or not, Pittsburgh has been average at driving play this season (49.85 Corsi Rating) and are below average in terms of expected goals (xG).

Through nine games, the Penguins have a -1.42 xG differential and are allowing the second-most xGA per 60 minutes (2.75) in the league.

The Islanders, despite giving up 62.7 shot attempts per 60 minutes at 5v5, have done a decent job at limiting scoring chances. The Islanders’ goaltenders have the highest expected save percentage in the NHL on unblocked shot attempts at 5v5 (score adjusted).

The Islanders will, in all likelihood, get caved in all night by the Penguins but their structure in their own zone gives them a puncher’s chance in this one.

The odds right now suggest the Islanders win this game 33% of the time. That sells them a little bit short and it’s not a bet you win more often than you lose, but the value is on New York and I’d suggest them down to +190.

The Bet: New York Islanders +203