Wednesday’s NHL Betting Previews: Penguins-Capitals, Canadiens-Avalanche

Wednesday’s NHL Betting Previews: Penguins-Capitals, Canadiens-Avalanche article feature image

Eric Bolte, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jonathan Drouin

Betting odds: Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals

  • Penguins moneyline: +120
  • Capitals moneyline: -140
  • Over/Under: 6.5
  • Puck drop: 8:05 p.m. ET
  • Channel: NBCSN

>> All odds as of 11 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets

NHL record: 28-27, +11.57 units

Well would you look at that, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals are featured on NBC Sports Network on Wednesday Night.

It’s been a weird start first half of the season for both of these teams, but in different ways.

Let’s start with the Capitals. They won the Stanley Cup in June, lost their head coach to a divisional rival but, surprisingly, kept almost their entire core. Washington leads the division with a 20-9-3 record. The Caps have won five in a row and eight out of 10.

The Penguins have been up and down in the first three months of the season. They’ve dealt with a slew of injuries, mediocre goaltending and inconsistent play. Still, Pittsburgh is lurking in a weak division and its peripheral statistics suggest better days lay ahead.

Washington’s advanced stats don’t paint as rosy a picture, however. The Caps are sitting just below 50% Corsi, but their expected goals (xG) and high-danger chance percentages suggest they are over-performing. Washington averages 3.07 goals per 60 minutes at 5v5 but just 2.23 xG/60.

The saving grace for the Capitals, as usual, is that they are shooting the lights out. The Capitals lead the NHL with an 11.02 shooting % (5v5), and while they have the talent to outrun their metrics, they shouldn’t be this far up the ladder.

It does have to be mentioned that Washington has improved their game of late, and while Pittsburgh’s game has suffered over the past week or so, this matchup is closer than the odds suggest, even with Pittsburgh at a rest disadvantage.

If you covered up the team names and just looked at the stats, you’d probably suggest the Penguins are probably the stronger team. Yet, these odds suggest the Capitals would be around a -125 favorite on neutral ice. I like the Penguins at this number.

The Bet: Pittsburgh Penguins +120

Betting odds: Montreal Canadiens at Colorado Avalanche

  • Canadiens moneyline: +130
  • Avalanche moneyline: -150
  • Over/Under: 6
  • Puck drop: 8:30 p.m. ET

The Colorado Avalanche are punching above their weight again this season. Under the hood the Avs have the look of a perfectly adequate team. They are right around the break-even mark in Corsi (49.95%), high-danger chance % (50.4%) and xG% (48.6%).

Colorado has one of the best lines in the league but Jared Bednar’s team lacks depth and, until the Avs solve that problem, it’s hard to see a deep run coming from this unit.

Going by preseason expectations, the Montreal Canadiens are also beating expectations. The Habs came in with the odds of a lottery team but have put together an impressive 17-12-5 record in their first 34 games. Even though Montreal is occupying a playoff spot, there’s an argument to be made that it deserves to be higher up the ladder.

The Canadiens rank in the top five in expected goals for per 60, expected goals against per 60 and Corsi Rating. They just haven’t got consistent performances from either of their goaltenders.

These two teams are pretty close to equals and that means these odds are too wide, especially with Colorado playing its fourth game in six nights. I’d suggest grabbing the Habs at anything above +120.

The bet: Montreal Canadiens +130

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