NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Penguins vs. Bruins Betting Preview (January 2)

NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Penguins vs. Bruins Betting Preview (January 2) article feature image

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Linus Ullmark.

  • The Bruins and Penguins go head-to-head on Monday afternoon at Fenway Park.
  • The Winter Classic is always a sight to see and this game should be no different.
  • Nicholas Martin previews the game and offers up a best bet below.

Penguins vs. Bruins Odds

Penguins Odds+140
Bruins Odds-172
Over/Under6.5 (+102/-124)
Time2 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The 2023 edition of the NHL's annual Winter Classic projects to be a good one as the Boston Bruins host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Fenway Park.

Boston leads the NHL with 60 points in just 36 games and is 18-0-3 on home ice. The Bruins will technically be defending that impressive streak in this matchup, which offers an exciting angle.

Pittsburgh has lost four consecutive contests and is right in the thick of a furious Eastern Conference playoff race. The Penguins have qualified for the playoffs in 16 consecutive seasons, and hold a 58.6% (Moneypuck) chance of keeping that unbelievable streak intact this season.

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Pittsburgh Penguins

The 2011 Winter Classic will always be remembered for all the wrong reasons. In that matchup, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby suffered a significant concussion, which forced a nearly two-year absence.

At times, many questioned if Crosby would ever be the same or if he'd even return to action period. However, here we are 12 years later and Crosby is in the midst of another spectacular campaign. Crosby has put up 43 points in 36 games this season, and has continued to excel in all areas of the ice.

A memorable performance from Crosby and the other Penguins offensive stars may be necessary Monday as Pittsburgh has allowed 4.5 goals against per game over it's four game losing skid.

Two key right-shot defenders are sidelined as both Jeff Petry and Kris Letang are injured.

Letang did not practice Sunday, but is listed as day-to-day and he hasn't been officially ruled out for this matchup.

Over the past 10 games, the Penguins own a modest 50.22% expected goals share.

Pittsburgh will likely go with Tristan Jarry in goal for this matchup. Jarry has played to a +0.3 goals saved above expected rating with a .917 save percentage throughout 17 appearances.

Boston Bruins

Generating quality scoring chances against the Boston Bruins has proved next to impossible this season, and when opponents are able to do so, Linus Ullmark has been fantastic in goal.

The Bruins defensive core is arguably the best in the league, and is highlighted by a spectacular top pairing  of Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm.

Boston also features a number of stellar two-way forwards who excel in the defensive zone. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are two of the best defensive forwards in the league and do a great job in tough minutes against opponents top two units.

Bruins coach Jim Montgomery will happily look to stick Bergeron and Marchand on the Crosby unit in this matchup at home with last change, which offers Boston a good chance to keep Crosby under wraps at five-on-five.

Boston has played to an expected goals for share of 52.31% over the past 10 games. In the modern NHL it is simply unlikely to see a side display the level of dominance we saw early on from the Bruins over the course of an 82-game season, but what Boston has done lately is still very impressive and the talent on hand suggests it will continue heading toward the postseason.

Ullmark has played to a +20.4 GSAx rating and a .938 save percentage over 24 appearances this season and is justifiably priced as the current betting favorite to win the Vezina trophy.

Penguins vs. Bruins Pick

Laying meaningful wagers on the Winter Classic is likely not an overly intelligent idea because so many factors are significantly different than players are used to.

The ice surface can be horrible and significantly different than typical NHL standards while goaltenders can have odd sight lines and glare on the ice. My advice would to tread somewhat carefully in this contest.

With that said, Monday's matchup will be the biggest home game of the regular season for the Bruins, who will be looking to put on a show in what should be an exciting spectacle at Fenway Park.

Pittsburgh has had a tough time keeping the puck out of it's net lately and generating enough offense to cover that concern versus this Bruins team seems very unlikely.

The Bruins have been in significantly better form than the Penguins all season and are skating a defensive core far beyond what Pittsburgh can offer with Letang and Petry sidelined.

Sticking with the square play and backing the Bruins to win makes sense in this spot.

Pick: Boston Moneyline (-165) | Play to -175

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