NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Penguins vs Blue Jackets (April 13)
Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
- For the first time in 16 years, the Pittsburgh Penguins aren't going to the postseason.
- However, our expert still expects them to finish the season strong.
- Greg Liodice is backing the Penguins and details his best bet for Penguins vs Blue Jackets below.
Penguins vs. Blue Jackets Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||+198|
|Over/Under||6.5 (-138 / +112)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Pittsburgh Penguins head to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. It’s been a disappointing season for Pittsburgh as the Penguins will miss the playoffs for the first time in 16 seasons. It’s not like they helped themselves either. Pittsburgh has played very mediocre hockey down the stretch, going 5-5 in the past 10 games.
Columbus is priming themselves for the Connor Bedard sweepstakes. The Jackets are statistically the worst team in the NHL by one point. They’re also 2-6-2 in their past 10 games and have lost four in a row.
Here’s a look at the odds, as well as a betting prediction for the Pittsburgh Penguins vs Columbus Blue Jackets.
While this season was ultimately a disappointment, Pittsburgh has no shortage of talent. Sidney Crosby has had yet another dynamic season, as has Evgeni Malkin — both are averaging over a point per game. Jake Guentzel and Rickard Rakell are also having exceptional seasons, which makes the struggles so surprising.
Pittsburgh has had an up-and-down season and over its past six games, the offense has been mediocre. The Penguins are 16th in expected goals with a 50.36 xGF% and the power play is scoring 21.2% of the time.
Defensively, things could be better. Since April 1, Pittsburgh has a 2.89 xGA/60, but the penalty kill has held strong, succeeding at an 82.6% rate.
All season, the goaltending situation was extremely up and down. Tristan Jarry battled through injuries while Casey DeSmith tried his best to keep the Penguins competitive. Since Pittsburgh is missing the playoffs, it’s hard to predict who will play in this game. But, I don’t think it matters. Both Jarry and DeSmith have similar SV% (.909 and .905 respectively), so it’ll be a similar result regardless.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Injuries have hurt the Blue Jackets as they haven’t had a consistent rotation. On Thursday, they’ll be missing captain Boone Jenner, as well as depth pieces Eric Robinson and Mathieu Olivier. Johnny Gaudreau hasn’t disappointed this season, nor has Patrik Laine, but it hasn’t been enough.
As expected, Columbus is among the worst at generating offense 5-on-5. It’s ranked 30th with a 43.05 xGF% and has the 25th-ranked power play, which is scoring at an 18.3% rate.
Not only is the even-strength offense bad, but the defense is just as poor. The Blue Jackets are 30th with a 3.08 xGA/60 and the penalty kill succeeds only 75.6% of the time.
The Blue Jackets goaltending has been terrible all season. Trading Joonas Korpisalo made things even worse. Elvis Merzlikins has been a total disappointment since signing his contract extension, and is now injured. So, Michael Hutchinson has taken over, but he’s playing to a -8.3 GSAx and an .871 SV%.
Penguins vs. Blue Jackets Pick
Despite this being a meaningless game, Pittsburgh remains a heavy favorite, which I think is fair. The talent difference is drastic and no other team has had worse goaltending than the Blue Jackets.
The Penguins already had their horrible loss against Chicago on Tuesday. I can’t imagine a Sidney Crosby-led team will allow another loss to a bottom-five team.
I can see Pittsburgh winning this by a large margin and ending its season with a victory.
Pick: Penguins -1.5
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