NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick: Coyotes vs. Penguins (October 13)
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar. Pictured: Sidney Crosby
- The Penguins host the Coyotes in a matchup of two teams headed in different directions.
- Pittsburgh is much better than Arizona, and Jonny Lazarus expects the Penguins to win with ease.
- Lazarus previews the game and shares his best bet below.
Coyotes vs. Penguins Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Arizona Coyotes are eager to start their respective seasons, though expectations for these teams couldn't be more opposite.
The Coyotes were a horrible team last year and didn't make many moves over the summer in order to improve the team. The Penguins re-signed Kris Letang, as well as Evgeni Malkin, and are beginning an era of what will be their last dance with this duo and Sidney Crosby.
Can the Penguins start off hot or will the Coyotes spoil the party and pull off an upset?
The Arizona Coyotes have a very difficult year ahead of them. They were the second-worst team in the league last year and finished only ahead of the Montreal Canadiens. That being said, they did finish dead last in offensive proficiency. The Coyotes averaged only 2.51 goals per game and also ranked worst in goals expected with a 2.41 xGF.
The offensive struggles will most likely continue, but the one player to keep an eye on is Clayton Keller. Last season, Keller tallied 28 goals and 35 assists in 67 games, but he is going to need some help if Arizona wants to be even remotely competitive.
The Coyotes weren't much better on the defensive end either as they finished third to last in goals against per game (3.77). Their blue line is not very strong and their goaltending tandem should be tested early and often. Karel Vejmelka is the expected starter and he didn't have a very strong season last year. He skated to a 13-32-3 record with a .898 SV% and a 3.68 GAA.
I don't expect much from the Coyotes this season and going up against a healthy Penguins team might be a tough start.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are starting the season fully healthy, which is a huge relief for them due to their injury trends over the past few seasons. When they have everyone in their lineup the Penguins could easily be one of the best teams in the league.
Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang both had fantastic seasons last year and Evgeni Malkin had 20 goals to go along with 22 assists in just 41 games played. These three aren't the only threats that Penguins have as Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust have also become consistent goal scorers. This will also be Rickard Rakell's first full season with the team.
Not only does Pittsburgh have a ton of talent up front, but it was also one of the best defensive teams in the league last season. The Penguins had the fifth-best goals-against average as they only allowed 2.71 goals against per game and also maintained the league's third-best penalty-kill percentage (84.4%).
Tristan Jarry was very solid in the blue paint last season and he can definitely build off of that. He had a .919 SV% and a 2.42 GAA with a 34-18-6 record. Jarry should have an even stronger season this year and if the Penguins can stay healthy, they will be a very tough team to play against.
Coyotes vs. Penguins Pick
The Arizona Coyotes are going to try to come out and surprise the league, but the Penguins have a lot to prove as well. Pittsburgh had a very rough playoff exit last season as it blew a 3-1 series lead to the New York Rangers. The Penguins should come into this season with a bit of a chip on their shoulder.
The Penguins are a much more dominant team on all ends of the ice and Arizona is going to struggle out of the gate. I know the -2.5 puck line could seem a little bit intimidating, but at the plus value, I think backing the Penguins to cover is the best pick for this game.
The Penguins will have their way with Arizona and I expect them not to allow many scoring chances. I like the Penguins to cover the puck line.
Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins -2.5 (+120 at BetMGM)