NHL Betting Picks and Odds: Penguins vs. Blue Jackets, Hurricanes vs. Devils and More (Thursday, March 12)


Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Elvis Merzlikins, Nick Foligno

There’s obviously a lot more important stuff going on than betting on hockey.

Good on the Columbus Blue Jackets for being aggressive and proactive in the face of these unprecedented times. It’s a tough decision to make, telling their fans and visiting supporters to stay home from the arena, but it’s clearly the right move (even if they really had no choice). The Jackets put the long-term health of their fans, players and staff over some short-term revenue. Hopefully other teams, in this sport and the next, follow along.

It’s way down the pecking order in terms of importance, but let’s just get this out of the way. I’ve got no idea what an empty arena means for handicapping a professional hockey game. To my knowledge, this has never happened before in the modern NHL. I won’t lie to you and say I’ve got an edge on either side of this game because the rink will be quiet.

Do you want to consider whether or not an empty arena takes away from home-ice advantage? Sure, you can make a good case that it does. But you can also argue that these are professional athletes and, whether they’re playing in an empty arena or in front of the pope, they will be very good at their trade.

Instead of focusing on whether or not the empty arena in Columbus helps or hurts the home or away side, I’m approaching this fixture like it’s any other game on the schedule — even though it isn’t.

Odds as of Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET and via PointsBet. Get up to $25 FREE and $250 in free bets at PointsBet today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets Odds

  • Penguins odds: -150
  • Blue Jackets odds: +130
  • Over/Under: 6
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets both got hot — and cold — at the same time this season. When these two Metro Division rivals were going well, it was because of their defensive play.

Through the first half of the season the Blue Jackets and Penguins allowed 1.99 and 2.01 expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, respectively. Since Jan. 1, the Blue Jackets are allowing 2.2 xGA/60 while the Penguins are ceding 2.45.

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