After the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Washington Capitals with Jake Guentzel’s overtime goal on Thursday night, the two teams find themselves tied for first place in the East Division. Washington technically holds the tiebreaker because they have a game in hand, but it doesn’t matter, as Saturday’s game will break the tie between the two rivals.
Let’s take a look at this matchup from a betting perspective in our Capitals vs. Penguins betting preview with odds, picks, and predictions.
Thursday night’s game was a back-and-forth affair between two evenly-matched teams, and with nine goals scored, it’s a bit of a surprise given Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin each failed to register a point. Crosby was held in check, while Ovechkin missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury. It was the first time in 16 seasons he missed a game against the Penguins. Crosby was kept off the scoresheet entirely for the second consecutive game.
Ovechkin will likely miss tonight’s game, while Evgeni Malkin, who has missed 22 straight games for the Penguins, could suit up for this one.
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Capitals vs. Penguins Betting Pick
The Penguins lead the season series against the Capitals, having won five of the seven games between the two squads. However, three of the five wins have come in overtime, and one has come in a shootout.
Kasperi Kapanen, who also missed some time before returning to the Penguins lineup, scored two goals against Washington. Daniel Sprong continued to fill in nicely for Ovechkin with a goal. Nicklas Backstrom had three assists in the loss.
Special teams weren’t a huge factor, but the Caps did get one power-play goal from T.J. Oshie in the first period. After that, both teams were 0-for-3 on the power play.
In net tonight, head coach Mike Sullivan has the Penguins betting on Tristan Jarry, who made 33 saves Thursday to pick up the win. The Caps will switch to Ilya Samsonov after Vitek Vanecek allowed all five Pittsburgh goals on 35 shots on Thursday.
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Capitals vs. Penguins Odds
Here are the lines for Penguins vs. Capitals at DraftKings Sportsbook:
|Sabres||+1.5 (+133)||+295||O 6.5 (-104)|
|Penguins||-1.5 (-159)||-360||U 6.5 (-118)|
Bets We Like With a Penguins Win
Sidney Crosby OVER 0.5 assists (-102, FanDuel) or Crosby OVER 0.5 goals (+182, FanDuel)
We mentioned earlier that Crosby had gone two games without a point. That also ties the longest pointless streak for him in more than 14 months. Crosby went scoreless for three straight games in Feb. 2020 and has not gone more than two games without a point since.
It’s a good start for Penguins betting. You can expect the captain to get back on the scoresheet tonight. If you feel frisky, Crosby OVER 1 point (+114, FanDuel) is also a solid bet. All he needs is one point to guarantee the push, while a second point makes you a winner.
You can get him at -286 at DraftKings to score one or more points, but we feel the value is better on FanDuel if you want to risk deciding if it’ll be a goal, assist, or multi-point game.
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Bets We Like With a Capitals Win
Capitals to score first AND win the match (+165, DraftKings)
Washington has scored first in five of the seven games between the teams, showing a tendency to get off to fast starts against the Penguins. If you believe the Caps can win, you can provide a significant boost to your odds by switching from simply winning the game to scoring first and winning the game.
Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Score will be TIED after 60 minutes (+300, FanDuel)
As we mentioned already, five of the seven games between these teams this season have reached overtime.
Considering the time of year, where every point in the standings is cherished, teams will sometimes play for overtime if the game knotted up late to guarantee at least one point. While both of these teams have already clinched a playoff spot, there’s no doubt they both want to win the East, which is why you should expect another close game late in the third period, along with the genuine potential for a sixth overtime game between the two squads. Besides, look at those sweet odds.
For Penguins betting purposes, Thursday was the first time in those five OT games that either team scored in the third period.
Capitals vs. Penguins Prediction
We thought the Capitals would get the first game of the two in a low-scoring affair. Of course, it turned out to be the exact opposite outcome. There were plenty of goals to go around, and it was the Penguins that got the goal in extra time to pull it out.
Maybe we should have remembered how Capitals coach Peter Laviolette likes to coach important games against the Penguins — full out, 300-mile-per-hour, attacking-style hockey. It was his staple during his days with the Philadelphia Flyers when the rivalry was heated. He tried it in the Stanley Cup Final against Pittsburgh when he was in Nashville. Now, it looks like that’s his preferred plan again with the Caps.
Another solid bet could be to combine the Caps to win with an alternate over/under total — dropping it to 5.5 and parlaying the two bets generates +225 odds at DraftKings.
Pick: Capitals 4, Penguins 3 (OT)
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