Free NHL Picks: Pittsburgh Penguins Futures Odds
by George Monroy - 9/25/2013
Last season the Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the most disappointing way possible—a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference Finals. The team battled injuries to key players for most of the lockout-shortened season and still managed to make a deep postseason run without it best player, Sidney Crosby, being fully healthy. The Penguins are expected to be one of the top contenders in the league and are projected by many pundits to make the Stanley Cup Finals. The team is receiving the second-best championship odds in the league at 11/2, which is slight behind the Chicago Blackhawks’ 5/1 odds.
Let’s take a closer look at the Pittsburgh Penguins and figure out just how good the team might be this upcoming NHL season. All odds comes from Sportsbook.ag.
Chicago Blackhawks: +500
Pittsburgh Penguins: +550
Boston Bruins: +800
Los Angeles Kings: +1000
The Penguins, who are expected to finally be 100 percent healthy this season, will be led by two MVP candidates, and arguably the best one-two punch in the entire league, in Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Last season Pittsburgh was the top seed in the Eastern Conference and scored 72 points in 48 games but was thrown off by an injury to Crosby, which required him to miss the last 13 games of the year and two in the playoffs. The team was never able to recover or regain its regular-season form and ended up suffering and extremely disappointing loss to the Boston Bruins in the conference finals.
Pittsburgh did not make any drastic changes during the offseason as General Manger Ray Shero believed that this current roster has enough talent to win another Stanley Cup title. The oddsmakers seem to agree and have the Penguins as the favorite to represent the East in the finals. The analysis here is fairly very straight-forward. Pittsburgh is the most talented team in the Eastern Conference; they have arguably the best player and two of the Top-10 players in the league. It wouldn’t be insane to wager on Pittsburgh to win next years title.
Pittsburgh is expected to lean heavy on a line up that includes:
Craig Adams, RW
Beau Bennett, RW
Sidney Crosby, C
Pascal Dupuis, RW
Tanner Glass, LW
Dustin Jeffrey, LW
Jussi Jokinen, LW
Chuck Kobasew, RW
Chris Kunitz, LW
Evgeni Malkin, C
James Neal, LW
Brandon Sutter, C
The team is expected to be fast, high-scoring and an overall offensive juggernaut. The oddsmakers have set the “over/under” on Pittsburgh’s regular season points total at a whopping 110 points. The only team with a higher point total line is the Chicago Blackhawks at 111.5. The value on the Penguins winning the title this year at +550 is excellent, of course whether or not they are a better team than the Blackhawks is still up for debate. But there is not guarantee that Chicago will even be around to defend their title once the Stanley Cup Finals begin.
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