On Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins (5-4-4) play the back end of back-to-back road games in the capitol cities of both Canada and the U.S. They suffered a 6-3 setback in Ottawa on Saturday and now face the long-time rival Washington Capitals (8-2-4) at Capital One Arena. It’s the first of four meetings between the teams this season.
Let’s get into our Penguins vs. Capitals betting pick with player prop predictions, odds, and analysis for this November 14, 2021 matchup.
As we said yesterday, you never know what you are going to get from the Penguins, and last night was a clunker, losing easily to the lowly Senators. We can’t imagine the late-night flight to D.C. was an enjoyable one for Pittsburgh. They played an awful second period, allowing four goals and didn’t start to press offensively until it was 5-0 in the third period.
That said, if the Penguins ever get fully healthy, there are a lot of guys in this lineup who can score goals. Evan Rodrigues had two more against Ottawa and Kasperi Kapanen scored again. The forward depth is really good, but defensively the Penguins are prone to mistakes.
Goalie Tristan Jarry, who gets the start tonight, has been good in covering them up, but Casey deSmith, who got the nod in net in Ottawa, hasn’t been as effective.
As for Washington, they’ve won three straight and have points in four of their last five games and are riding a monster start to the season by Alex Ovechkin. The Washington captain has 12 goals as 12 assists for 24 points in just 14 games. That’s good for third-best in the NHL behind Edmonton’s dynamic duo of Leon Draisaitl (28 points) and Connor McDavid (26 points).
Vitek Vanacek is expected to start in goal for Washington. He is 3-2-3 with a 2.51 goals against average and a .906 save percentage in nine games this season.
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Penguins vs. Capitals Odds
Here are the lines for Penguins vs. Capitals at FanDuel Sportsbook:
Spread: Penguins (+1.5 -215), Capitals (-1.5 +172)
Moneyline: Penguins (+116), Capitals (-140)
Over/Under: Over 6 (-110), Under 6 (-110)
Bets We Like with a Penguins Win
Jake Guentzel to score at least one goal (+190, DraftKings Sportsbook)
News out of Pittsburgh is that the reinforcements could be coming. Sidney Crosby skated Saturday, as did Chad Ruhwedel, Marcus Pettersson and Brian Dumoulin. All four players joined coach Mike Sullivan and Jarry on a flight to Washington from Pittsburgh Saturday night.
With the exception of Jarry, who stayed back in Pittsburgh to rest knowing he wasn’t starting in Ottawa Saturday night, everyone else has missed four games while being in the Covid-19 protocol. All are expected back tonight for the clash with Washington.
If so, expect Guentzel to play with Crosby and to feel great about having the Penguins captain to feed him the puck. Look for the two to hook up at some point and Guentzel to cash in.
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Bets We Like with a Capitals Win
Capitals to win the first period (+150, FanDuel Sportsbook)
Slightly goofy trend because it refers to the time of day games are being played, but the Capitals have won the first period in 6-of-8 at home that were played at night following a road game. There was probably a day game outlier in there that made the stat less impressive, but it says something about how Washington comes out to play on home ice after being away.
Couple that with the fact that the Caps are 6-0-1 this season when leading after the first period, and you have to wonder why these odds aren’t closer to even or in the Caps favor, especially with Pittsburgh having played in an other country the night before. We say, run with it, and don’t ask questions when you win.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Alex Ovechkin OVER 1.5 points (+135, BetMGM)
If you’ve been following our betting previews over the last two seasons, you know we believe in riding a hot hand until it is no longer hot. Well, Ovechkin has at least one point in 12 of his 14 games and has at leas two points, which is the goal here, in eight of 14 games. We like the chances of something that has been happening 57 percent of the time to happen in a game when you can get favorable odds on it happening again. Just bet Ovechkin until he cools off, if ever.
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Penguins vs. Capitals Prediction
With everyone back, Pittsburgh could have a bit of an emotional boost in the locker room, but when you haven’t played in a while or are playing with guys for the first time, it takes a bit to get going. Meanwhile, the Caps just keep on rolling behind Ovechkin, who has either scored or assisted on half of the Capitals goals this season. And he loves to play the Penguins. We believe he carries his team to another win here with another multi-point night.
Prediction: Capitals 4, Penguins 2
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