The New York Rangers head to PPG Paints Arena on Friday night for the first of a two-game set against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
NHL betting odds have Sidney Crosby and the Penguins as -155 home favorites for this East Division duel with the Over/Under opening at 6.5.
We break down the NHL odds with our best free Rangers vs. Penguins predictions and picks for Friday, January 22, with the puck dropping at 7 p.m. ET.
New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins Betting Preview
Rangers: Mika Zibanejad C (Questionable), Brendan Lemieux LW (Probable).
Penguins: Marcus Pettersson D (Out), Mike Matheson D (Out), Zach Aston-Reese LW (Out).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.
Betting Trend to Know
The Over is 9-1-1 in the last 11 meetings between these teams in Pittsburgh. Find more NHL betting trends for Rangers vs. Penguins.
NHL Sharp Money and Line Movement ReportBy Patrick Everson
Pittsburgh jumped from a -144 opener last night to -162 this morning at FanDuel, then receded to -154 and is now -156, about three hours before this 7 p.m. ET faceoff. Moneyline ticket count is 3/1 and cash 2/1 on the Penguins. The total opened at 6.5 (Over -125) and is now 6.5 flat, with 61 percent of bets/73 percent of money on the Over.Check out the full line movement for this game
After losing decisively in their first two games of the year against the Flyers, the Penguins are coming off back-to-back wins against the Capitals with both contests going into overtime.
Meanwhile, the Rangers pulled their best Jekyll-and-Hyde impression in their first two games against the Islanders, getting blanked 4-0 in the season opener before returning the favor with a 5-0 whitewashing. In their last game on Tuesday, the Rangers fell 4-3 to the Devils.
Although the Pens have won two in a row, both victories came the hard way and they could be in for a bit of a letdown in this spot. And while the Rangers are fresh off a defeat they did outshoot the Devils 50-28 in that contest and took just a pair of minor penalties, so there is some good news to pull from that game.
Another bit of good news for New York bettors is that Pens goalie Tristan Jarry has struggled out of the gate. The 25-year-old showed plenty of promise last year but has allowed a whopping nine goals on just 33 shots over 71 minutes in two starts against the Flyers.
And the Pens defense has plenty of question marks in front of Jarry. Injuries to Marcus Petterson and Mike Matheson have exposed a lack of depth when it comes to left-handed defenseman and the pairings in the Back 6 have seen some juggling from Pens coach Mike Sullivan. With Jarry in poor form and the Penguins blueline situation a bit of a mess, I simply can't trust them as a -155 fave.
PREDICTION: New York (+135)
The Pens have cashed the Over in each of their first four games of the year, which is exactly what offensive talent and leaky goaltending will get you.
The Pens offense came alive in their last game against Washington and superstars like Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are proven scoring commodities. Pittsburgh averaged 3.2 goals per game last season, good for 10th in the league.
That said, New York was even better on the offensive end of the ice, ranking fifth in the league with 3.33 goals per game while their powerplay ranked seventh. Artemi Panarin is one of the best wingers in the game, while the Rangers blueline has a trio of skilled defenseman that can move the puck up the ice.
We mention Jarry's troubles between the pipes but Blueshirts netminder Igor Shesterkin isn't exactly a prime Henrik Lundqvist—at least not yet. The 25-year-old had a red-hot stretch for the Rangers as a rookie last season, but he's still inexperienced and surrendered four goals on 33 shots against the Isles in his only start this year.
With the Over going a commanding 8-1 in the last nine meetings between these teams, back it again on Friday night.
PREDICTION: Over 6.5 (-110)
Rangers vs Penguins Betting Card
- New York (+135)
- Over 6.5 (-110)
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