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NHL Betting Picks: Rangers vs. Penguins | Feb.1
The Rangers will be taking on the Penguins here for the fourth time already in 2021, so these two teams are already very familiar with one another. The first three meetings have all been Penguin wins but have also each been separated by 1 goal. The Rangers have struggled out of the gate, going 2-4-2 to start the season. They’ve received less-than-stellar goaltending thus far, as both Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin enter this game with save percentages under .900. Their offense is also underperforming. Last year they ranked fifth in goals per game with 3.3, and this year they have only managed 2.8 per.
Despite having a 5-3 record, the Penguins really don’t look that much different on paper than the Rangers. They’re also underperforming offensively, scoring just 3.0 goals per game. They also have the 13th-worst power-play unit in the league right now, just above the Rangers. The Penguins have also given up more scoring chances than normal in 2021. They ceded the third-fewest last season but rank middle of the pack this year despite playing fewer games than many of their peers. Both of their starters in net also have save percentages under .900, so goaltending hasn’t been a strength either. Their record has been saved by luck, as they are 4-1 in games that have gone to overtime.
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Best Bet: New York Rangers Moneyline -102 (FanDuel)
This is a matchup of two very equal teams, but the Rangers have done especially well in late-game scenarios. New York has a ton of talent up front and will start scoring their way to a few more wins eventually. Their power play seems likely for some positive regression soon given they ranked seventh in power-play efficiency last year and sit 22nd in that stat right now in 2021. They also have a talented netminder in Shesterkin, who should break out of his slump soon and is slated to start here.
Ultimately, taking the home team in an even matchup is the proper thing to do here. We’re getting near even odds at FanDuel sportsbook to take the Rangers, and there are other decent lines on the Rangers that you can view on the OddsShopper tool. This is also the second game of a mini-series between Pittsburgh and New York, and teams who lost the first game of the series have a win percentage of over 60% so far in the second game. I’d look for the Rangers to break through here against a Penguins team who has been riding some insane luck to begin the year.
Bonus: Canuck Moneyline +150 (MGM bets; FanDuel)
The Canucks have started to settle down defensively after a horrid start to the year. They are getting great goaltending from both their netminders right now and look discounted here at such big odds, especially coming off four straight wins and a dominant road win against Winnipeg. They’re a nice target if you want a bigger underdog on your card tonight.
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