NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Picks for Golden Knights vs Penguins (Sunday, November 19)
Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jonathan Marchessault.
Golden Knights vs. Penguins Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-120|
|Over / Under|
-110 / -110
Here's everything you need to know about Golden Knights vs. Penguins on Sunday, Nov. 19 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.
The Golden Knights travel to Pittsburgh for a date with the Penguins Sunday night, with both teams skating on the second legs of back-to-back games.
That could be an advantage for Vegas (13-3-2), which has the luxury of rostering a pair of high-quality goaltending options.
For a team that played deep into June last season, there is nothing better than stockpiling a ton of early points. That is exactly what the defending NHL champs have done, even while seemingly coasting through parts of the season.
After winning 11 of their first 12 games, most of them blowout victories, the Knights have lost two of their three games this week, including a 4-3 overtime loss to the Flyers on Saturday night. At some point, a regression was going to happen, but they are still offering no meaningful flaws and are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender again.
Vegas has often played without two or more regular skaters from its excellent defensive core, but the team is nearly at full strength now. Nic Hague is the only roster mainstay likely to be out of the lineup on Sunday.
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Perhaps the most positive note for the Knights early on is that both pieces of their goaltending tandem continue to play at an elite level, despite each holding small cases for regression this season.
Logan Thompson was injured late last year, which helped opened the door for Adin Hill's surprising Cup run. Thompson hasn't missed a step since returning, though, with a +7.2 GSAx and .925 save % in seven appearances.
Meanwhile, Hill's brilliant form en route to a league title last year came out of the blue. His excellence has carried over into this season, with a +6.7 GSAx and .928 save percentage in 10 starts.
Having such a strong goaltending tandem is an advantage that is most clearly pronounced in back-to-back spots such as this one, as either of Hill or Thompson offer a drastic edge over the vast majority of backup goaltenders.
The Penguins have looked as expected based upon their roster composition in the early going this season. Bringing in Erik Karlsson meant an even more potent offensive attack, but it did not necessarily mean Pittsburgh's modest defensive play would improve. The team's bottom six is starting to look improved compared to last season, and overall they are getting the better of the opposition in a high-event brand of hockey.
The Penguins' 3.92 xGF/60 is the top mark in the NHL, and they own an xGF% of 54.8.
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Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have both been in tremendous form in the early going, compiling an elite 1-2 punch down the middle. With two goals on Saturday, Crosby has 12 goals and 22 points in 15 games. He very much could end up in the relatively open Hart Trophy conversation, and is currently priced at +7500 to win it at some books.
At times, the Penguins have displayed some of the same lackluster defensive play as last season. Some of their breakdowns off the rush still look to be more concerning than other playoff hopefuls, but those concerns have dissipated a bit lately.
Backup goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was recalled from his condition stint Saturday. He will likely make the start in this matchup as Tristan Jarry played Saturday vs. Carolina. Nedeljkovic owns a -0.7 GSAx and .914 save % in two appearances this season.
Golden Knights vs. Penguins
Betting Pick & Prediction
As someone who views the Penguins in high regard relative to the market, it is hard for me to see how this matchup has opened close to pick-em. They really should be a larger underdog in this matchup.
The Knights have offered the more well-rounded play altogether out of these teams and are far sharper defensively. Which is not surprising considering the way they dominated last season and returned with the majority of their roster intact.
They should have a notable goaltending advantage in this matchup with Hill likely to take on Hellberg or Nedeljkovic. Both teams played Saturday, but the Knights are still getting the better of the scheduling situation. Vegas played a matinee in Philadelphia, while Pittsburgh played Saturday night in Carolina prior to traveling home.
It is hard for me to see how the Knights aren't closer to -140 here. They should get there, particularly if goaltending confirmations come in as I am expecting. Anything better than -130 is a play for me on the Knights.
Pick: Golden Knights -115 (Play to -130)
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