The New Jersey Devils are not a playoff team. The Pittsburgh Penguins most likely are a playoff team. And yet, both teams find themselves looking over their shoulders in the East Division standings.
Let’s take a look at this matchup, the first of three straight meetings between these teams, from a betting perspective in our Devils vs. Penguins betting preview with odds, picks and predictions.
The Devils have lost six consecutive games and are a lousy 2-10-2 over their last 14 contests. As a result, the Devils sank to the second-worst record in the NHL ahead of only Buffalo. With the Sabres playing better hockey, the Devils are in danger of falling down the standings into the league’s cellar.
The Penguins, meanwhile, are a team that still has aspirations to win the East Division. Yet they are also trying to stay a step in front of the red-hot Boston Bruins. Boston has moved within three points of Pittsburgh for third place in the East with two games in hand. Losing two of the last three to bottom-feeders like Philadelphia and Buffalo certainly didn’t help the Penguins’ cause.
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Devils vs. Penguins Prediction
April has not been kind to the Devils, as their defense has all but disappeared. They’ve allowed at least four goals in seven of the last nine games. During their current six-game losing streak, the Devils haven’t been competitive — they’ve been outscored by a 29-12 margin. Their total goal differential of -41 is fifth-worst in the league, but if they keep up their current pace, they could soon also find themselves at the bottom of this statistical category.
As for the Penguins, their offense has cooled off with just six goals over the last three games after posting 29 goals in the first six games this month. The Penguins are in the midst of playing 10 consecutive games against non-playoff teams, a stretch that could vault themselves atop the division. Although they are 4-2-1 so far, losing to Philly and playing down to the Sabres in a pair of games was not what they envisioned prior to starting a five-game homestand against the Devils and Bruins.
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Devils vs. Penguins Odds
Here are the Devils vs. Penguins odds at DraftKings Sportsbook:
|Penguins||+1.5 (-286)||-105||O 5.5 (+115)|
|Islanders||-1.5 (+230)||-110||U 5.5 (-139)|
Bets We Like With a Penguins Win
Jake Guentzel OVER 0.5 power play points (+146, FanDuel)
There’s not a lot of great value on the board in a game Pittsburgh is expected to win so easily. Still, considering the Devils have the NHL’s worst-ranked penalty kill, while the Penguins have a top-10 power play, this could be an intriguing pick at plus value.
Guentzel has five goals and nine points in just five games against New Jersey this season.
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Bets We Like With a Devils Win
Miles Wood OVER 0.5 goals (+350, FanDuel)
The Devils have actually hung with the Penguins this season, beating them twice (2-3-0) and two of their three losses were competitive games. In the last two games against Pittsburgh, Wood has lit the lamp a total of three times and taken over the team lead in goals this season with 14 tallies. Considering his recent success against the Penguins and the fact that he’s been one of the few Devils to produce lately, taking a flier on a +350 bet seems like a good idea here.
Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Sidney Crosby OVER one assist (+140, FanDuel)
Crosby has seven points in five games against the Devils this season, including five assists. We’d like this more if it was over 0.5, but, there are still good odds here even if you end up pushing this bet.
For the same reasons as mentioned above, Crosby is likely to get a helper on the power play. Notably, his line with Guentzel and Bryan Rust (4-4-8) has combined for 24 points in five games against New Jersey. This means the Devils don’t have an answer for the grouping and Crosby is almost a sure bet to get one assist, if not more.
Devils vs. Penguins Prediction
Pittsburgh has scuffled a bit in the last three games against inferior competition, but the Devils could provide the cure for such sluggish play. The Devils are looking for a lottery pick. The Penguins are jockeying for the best possible playoff position.
If you want to get creative, maybe bump the over/under up to 6.5, take the UNDER, and combine it with a Penguins win at -1.5 for a nice parlay (+240 at DraftKings). This game has the feel of a one-sided affair.
Betting Pick: Penguins 4, Devils 1
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