Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Florida Panthers Odds, Preview & Prediction: Will the Pens Pull Another Upset on the Road? (October 14)
Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Dominik Simon #49 and Kris Letang #58 of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
- The Penguins are back on the road Thursday night where they will face the Panthers in Florida's season opener.
- Pittsburgh rolled in its first game of the season, but enters the matchup as a slight dog.
- Nick Martin explains why he isn't buying into the Penguins' high-scoring offensive showing when betting in this game.
Penguins at Panthers Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
The Florida Panthers will kick off what may be the team’s most hype-filled season ever by hosting a depleted Pittsburgh Penguins team that will be riding high after a spectacular team win Tuesday in Tampa Bay.
Oddsmakers aren’t too high on the Pittsburgh’s chances to pull the Florida sweep, however, as the Cats are sitting pretty at -185 at the time of writing.
Playing without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel on Tuesday, the Pens were always going to need to play a very structured team game to win. That’s exactly what happened as the Pens absolutely sweltered the high-powered defending champions.
The Pens were sound defensively last year, and got an excellent start in that regard as the team allowed very few high quality looks against the Lightning, and limiting them to just 2.35 expected goals for in all situations on route to the 6-2 victory.
The top defensive pairing of Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin were superb, controlling the better of the play on route to a 69.6% xG share over 18:19 of time on ice together at 5-on-5. Behind them Marcus Pettersson and John Marino were excellent as well, posting a 77.8% xG share in their 16:19 together.
The Pens defensive depth will be very important moving forward with Malkin still set to be out long term, as I believe that will be a replicable area of strength.
Several forwards were able to step up playing bigger roles on Tuesday, but I do feel that, until at least Crosby is able to return, this team is likely to put together modest offensive totals.
The Panthers put together a surprisingly dominant season last year, and are being picked by many, myself included, as a legitimate cup contender.
The roster stands likely to build on the league’s fourth best offensive output last season, with the addition of Sam Reinhart bolstering an already deep offensive unit possessing two of the league’s absolute best in Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. Owen Tippett should be ready for a bigger role skating on the second line. Same goes for top prospect Anton Lundell, who appears to be set to slot in as the third line center.
The team is still certainly built to score a lot of goals and play an up-tempo style, but entering camp defensive structure has been a high point of emphasis, especially after the team’s colossal defensive breakdowns ultimately cost them a chance to defeat Tampa Bay in Round 1 of the 2021 Playoffs.
Sergei Bobrovsky appears slated to begin as the starter, likely in large due to his gargantuan contract, but it will certainly be an ongoing competition between he and rookie Spencer Knight.
Panthers vs. Penguins Pick
With the Panthers looking very likely to again be involved in many high scoring games and possessing what should be a lethal offense the total for this one sits at a high mark of 6.5.
That said, I expect the Penguins to play a very structured defensive game without their three best offensive players. Thus, I think it is more likely this game doesn’t open up as much as expected.
Tuesday’s game saw a vastly inflated final of 6-2 after a flurry of goals both ways with Tampa’s net empty, but scrapping that hard-to-replicate finish the gameplay was well in line with a low-scoring game.
The Under and Florida on the moneyline would both look more appealing to me if Spencer Knight was in net, as I certainly do not love trusting Bobrovsky. Even so, I still see some value with the under at a figure of 6.5.
I also like Jeff Carter to go over 1.5 shots, assuming the prop will be posted somewhere around -140 again.
Pick: Under 6.5 (-125 or better)