Penguins at Flyers Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 3/7/2013
If the playoffs started today the Flyers would not be in them, while the Penguins would be hosting a first-round series. Despite the sub-.500 performance to date from the Flyers this year, there isn’t a rivalry I would rather watch in the NHL than the battle of Pennsylvania. There is ridiculous talent on both teams and pure hate between the squads. It’s must-see TV as far as I’m concerned.
It’s also a great series to bet on. The public likes both teams, and they are typically well matched, so there is usually value to be found. Because the teams take it so seriously, you don’t really need to worry about inferior effort like you do in too many games in this league.
Penguins at Flyers Betting storylines
The Penguins are very fortunate that they only lost Evgeni Malkin for four games after he suffered a concussion. When Sidney Crosby had his bell rung, it cost him most of a season. Malkin only missed four games, even though he was dealing with short-term memory loss at the time of the injury. The Pens were 2-2 without the reigning MVP, but they beat Tampa Bay 4-3 when he returned — with help from the goal and assist Malkin tallied. He is a huge factor in this one because he has owned the Flyers in his career. In 38 regular season games against the squad, he has 21 goals and 34 assists — career highs against any team in both categories.
The Penguins could get another boost if defenseman Paul Martin returns to the lineup as expected. He has been out since the end of February with a lower body injury, and there was clearly a problem before he left the lineup. Martin had three assists the last time the teams met, and the team plays well when Martin scores — they have won eight of 10 in which he has recorded a point. His presence would be a boost.
The Flyers have issues on defense and in goal. They have allowed at least four goals in three of their last six games and in six of their last 10 games. They have allowed 72 goals in 24 games on the season — more than any of the 16 teams currently occupying playoff spots. That’s four more goals than they have scored, and it is the obvious reason the team is struggling like they have been. On Tuesday they lost a defenseman early and had to rotate five the rest of the way. Even when they are at full strength, their defensive depth is a major concern. The Penguins are tied with Tampa Bay for the most goals in the league — 81 in 23 games — so this is an obvious concern and quite possibly the defining storyline of the game.
Sidney Crosby is not only the best hockey player on the planet in general, but he’s also among the hottest in the league right now. He has four goals and seven assists in his last five games and has an NHL-leading 36 points on the season. Winning the game for the Flyers means cooling off Crosby. Easier said than done.
Penguins at Flyers NHL Odds and Betting Trends
5Dimes has opened the Penguins favored at -120, with the Flyers at even money at home. The total is set reasonably high at 6.
The road team is 20-9 in the last 29 meetings between these teams. The Penguins are 6-2 in their last eight games played on Thursday nights. The teams have split their two meetings this year, with the road team winning both times. Philly won 6-5 on Feb. 20, while Pittsburgh was a 3-1 winner on Jan. 19.
Penguins at Flyers Picks and Betting Predictions
The Penguins are the clear choice here. They are confident offensively, and they will be at full strength. They are a strong 9-4 on the road, and they will be able to exploit the Philadelphia defensive woes very well. Philadelphia knows they need to win to get back into the playoff picture, but that hasn’t been motivation enough up to this point, so I don’t see it being one here. The Penguins are attractive at this price. The “over” deserves a look as well.
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