The best first-round matchup in the NHL Playoffs continues to get better. Through four games, both the Islanders and Penguins have found a way to win once in the other team’s barn – something very few were able to accomplish all season – and also play the best defensive versions of themselves on home ice to lock up much-needed victories.
Below, take a look at Game 5 of this Round One Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup from a betting perspective in our Islanders vs. Penguins betting preview with odds, picks, and predictions.
It has been a classic punch and counterpunch between the Islanders and Penguins, with one bold chess move after another between Barry Trotz and Mike Sullivan.
Now, a pivotal Game 5 is upon us tonight. One team will get to within a game of moving on to play a rested and waiting Boston Bruins team in the second round.
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Islanders vs. Penguins Betting Pick (May 24, 2021)
The difference-maker in the two New York wins has been Ilya Sorokin. Originally considered the backup goalie to the veteran Semyon Varlamov, Sorokin was pressed into duty in Game 1 of the series and earned an overtime victory.
Varlamov, who missed Game 1 with an injury, returned to play in both Games 2 and 3, but he didn’t look great, even drawing some mild criticism from Trotz following Game 3.
Trotz went with a gut decision and went back to Sorokin in Game 4, a move that paid dividends. The rookie goalie made 39 saves, and the Islanders won by a 4-1 final to even the series at 2-2.
Of course, that is right where the Penguins want them…if you read your history books. Historically, this is a situation that favors Pittsburgh. The Penguins are 15-9 in series tied at 2-2, while the Islanders are just 5-6.
Islanders vs. Penguins Game 5 Odds
Here are the Islanders vs. Penguins Game 5 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook:
|Penguins||+1.5 (-286)||-105||O 5.5 (+115)|
|Islanders||-1.5 (+230)||-110||U 5.5 (-139)|
Penguins Bets We Like With a Pittsburgh Win
Sidney Crosby OVER 0.5 assists (+108, FanDuel) OR Crosby OVER 0.5 goals (+178, FanDuel)
It’s hard to believe that Crosby has just one point so far in this series. He netted a goal in the second period of Game 1. Since then, the Penguins have scored nine goals, and Crosby hasn’t been a part of the action. That’s something you just don’t normally see from him in the postseason, which means the Islanders are doing a darn good job limiting his production.
However, these big moment games are the ones Crosby has always thrived in the most throughout his career. Usually, when the Penguins need him the most, their captain can come through for them.
Look for Crosby to make a scoring impact in this game.
You can get value odds on either a goal or an assist. If you want to just take “points,” you have to be willing to gamble a little more because the line is OVER 1 point, not 0.5 (and the payout is only +124, so not great value when needing two points from a player who only has one thus far). DraftKings will give you -225 on 1+ points, but again, there’s no value there.
Bet the individual action – either an assist on a goal – if you want to get value. We say go for the goal. This has the feel of one of those classic Crosby moments emanating from it.
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Islanders Bets We Like With a New York Win
Islanders to Win AND UNDER 5.5 goals (+265, DraftKings)
Two things about this bet. First, we don’t like player props with the Islanders.
They play such a team-oriented, four-line, six-defensemen style that no one player ever really sticks out. Matthew Barzal, probably their best offensive player, leads the team with five points, four of which are assists. Josh Bailey is their leading goal scorer with just two tallies, so there’s not much to work with in terms of the value and trust relationship on the New York side.
Secondly, as you will find out later in this preview, we’re actually leaning slightly in favor of the Penguins in this game. Like every other in this series, we believe this game will be close and could go either way, so we would be foolish not to at least offer you the best value bet on an Islanders victory as well.
Their best bet is to play like they did in Game 4. Stifle the Penguins’ offensive attack, get good goaltending and keep the score low. As such, taking them to win in conjunction with the under is not a bad play.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Both teams to score in the third period (+155, DraftKings)
These teams have combined for 23 goals in the first four games of this series. Nearly half of those goals have been scored in the third period (11). In three of the four games, both teams scored in the third period.
It’s usually indicative of how these two teams’ styles clash. They both try to open things up later in the game when the outcome hangs in the balance, so they need to push the opponent harder and faster. This results in more mistakes, more opportunities, and higher percentage chances.
The odds tend to be in both teams’ favor in this regard, so this is a nice prop bet without worrying about the game’s outcome.
Islanders vs. Penguins Prediction
This is a series more to enjoy than to bet, although we’ve been pretty solid on our predictions here thus far.
Either way, we go with this one, it will be another nail-biter, and we admit upfront we think this matchup is even closer to 50/50 than the line would indicate.
In most instances, that would mean the sharp money would go on the underdog – in this instance, the Islanders – but we’re going to shy away from that betting model and go with experience. The Penguins have it in spades. And they won’t put themselves behind the eight-ball in such a pivotal game as this one.
Just be sure to hold on tight.
Our Pick: Penguins 3, Islanders 2
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