NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Bruins vs. Penguins Pick, Best Bet (November 1)
Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Sidney Crosby.
Bruins vs. Penguins Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
However, lately, Boston has been soaring high, posting a 8-1-0 record, while the Penguins have been flightless, dropping each of their last four games. So are the close-to-even odds being offered on the moneyline a bit generous?
Nothing Slowing The Bruins
The Bruins haven't just been winning games, they've been cruising past their opponents.
Six of Boston's eight victories have been decided by at least two goals, and the Bruins have outscored their opponents 12-2 over their last three games. Even the loss of David Krejci (upper body) didn't stop the Bruins from posting a 4-0 victory over Columbus in the second half of a back-to-back Friday.
Boston leads all teams with 4.22 goals per game, thanks in no small part to David Pastrnak, who has seven goals and 17 points in nine games. He's been far-and-away Boston's offensive leader, but scoring depth is also something the Bruins have excelled at. They have seven different players with at least three goals and nine players with a minimum of five points so far this season.
Boston has managed to accomplish most of that without one of its best forwards, Brad Marchand. He missed the start of the season due to a hip injury, but he made his return Thursday and picked up right where he left off, scoring two goals and three points in the Bruins' 5-1 win against Detroit. He took Friday's game off rather than play two straight nights immediately after returning from injury, but he's projected to play Tuesday night on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk. That leaves Pastrnak to play alongside Taylor Hall and Pavel Zacha, giving the Bruins what is essentially two first lines.
To top it all off, the Bruins have been nearly as strong on their own end of the ice. They're tied for second in the league with just 2.33 goals per game allowed. Linus Ullmark was one of October's top goaltenders with a 1.70 GAA and .945 save percentage in seven contests. Jeremy Swayman wasn't nearly as effective in the backup role, but he bounced back from a 7-5 loss to Ottawa on Oct. 18 by stopping 28 of 29 shots in Boston's win versus Detroit on Thursday.
Boston was always expected to be a good team, but there were some doubts about how good going into the season. The age of some of their players like the 37-year-old Bergeron gave people reason to believe Boston was a team on the decline. Certainly there are still long-term questions about the franchise, but for now there's a lot to like.
Speaking of a teams with big long-term question marks, it's hard to argue that the Penguins' window isn't closing given that their core of Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Evgeni Malkin are now all in their mid-30s, with Letang being the oldest of the trio at 36. They're not the only Penguins players on the backend of their career, either. Jeff Carter will turn 38 in January, while Jeff Petry will celebrate his 35th birthday in December.
If you take a list of Penguins forwards averaging at least 15 minutes and defensemen logging at least 18 minutes, the youngest among them is Marcus Pettersson at the age of 26. The only other players under the age of 30 who meet those requirements are Jake Guentzel (28) and Rickard Rakell (29).
There's no getting around the fact that this team is up there in years, but that doesn't mean they're too old to be competitive. Crosby might not be in his prime, but he's still an elite forward. He has four goals and a team-leading 11 points in nine games. Malkin hasn't been far behind with four goals and eight points. Guentzel, Bryan Rust, Rakell, and Danton Heinen have regularly made their presence felt too with at least three goals each. As mentioned above, Boston was the league's best offensive team in October, but the Penguins weren't too far behind. With 3.56 goals per game, Pittsburgh finished the month sixth in the league.
Of course, that's how they've done overall. More recently, the Penguins' forwards have gone cold. Pittsburgh has scored just three goals over its last three games. Granted, it was during a road trip, but two of the Penguins' opponents during that stretch — Seattle and Vancouver — are among the worst 10 teams defensively so far this season, so to be unable to generate much against them is distressing.
Pittsburgh's special teams needs work, too. They had a mediocre 18.8% conversion rate on the power play during the team's recent four-game road trip, and they're in the middle of the pack with a 22.9% success rate this season. Meanwhile, the Penguins' penalty kill has been one of the worst in the league at 71%.
That all said, Pittsburgh should be able to bounce back. One of the nice things about having a veteran team, especially one with so much combined success on their resumes, is that they know how to shake off a rough patch. With the personnel Pittsburgh has, there's every reason to believe things will get better. The only question is if it will start Tuesday night.
Bruins vs. Penguins Pick
There's an opportunity here for the Penguins to have a statement win after a troubling road trip, but I would be very hesitant to take them on the puck line. Even if the Penguins do win, I wouldn't count on it being by a significant margin, so the fact that the spread is 1.5 goals in Boston's favor is a bit too much for me. In fact, I'd be tempted to take the Bruins on the puck line with that spread, but the potential payout there is just -250.
All things considered, I'm going to recommend the Over instead. These are two of the best offenses in the league. Granted, the Penguins went cold on the road, but Crosby has now gone three straight games without a point and he typically isn't kept down for long. In fact, the last time Crosby had a point drought of more than three games was a four-game stretch from Nov. 2-9, 2019. Even his current three-game slump is fairly rare territory for him.
Plus even in the event he doesn't get going, the Penguins as a whole should start to pick up and then of course, at the other end of the ice, Boston is likely to generate plenty of chances, potentially turning this into a high-scoring affair.
Pick: Over 6.5 +100 (play down to -115)