Ice Hockey

Betting tips: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Florida Panthers 1/26

Friday’s slate has four interesting games to offer. Let’s look at Penguins versus Panthers, a game where we can see more goals than the odds suggest.

Penguins deserve more

Results haven’t followed the team performance in Pittsburgh this season. The Pengs are sitting on 12th place in the Eastern Conference despite putting up 53.96 xGF% on all strengths. Usually, that stat is typical for a top team, not for a team fighting for its playoff life.

Almost a constant lack of finishing is the single biggest reason for their current position. The Pengs have produced just over 3.5 goals expected per game, but their conversion is only 2.97 goals per game. Worst of all is their power play, which is working at 13.3 percent efficiency. That is unimaginable at the skill level of this team. At some point, all those opportunities will start going in.

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The strangest thing about the equation is that the Penguins’ top guns have performed at roughly the expected level. Now injured, Reilly Smith hasn’t really found his place with the Penguins. Depth is an issue if Pittsburgh wishes to make a deep run in the playoffs, or even make the playoffs for that matter. Lars Eller and Rickard Rakell haven’t been quite as good as they used to be, making the third line look weak compared to opponents.

Florida looks like a Cup favorite

The Florida Panthers are now the number one team in the Sunshine State. The Panthers enter the All-Star break in the top positions in the East, and deservedly so. Their performance level has remained high throughout the season. In all situations, the Panthers have a 57.34 xGF%, among the absolute elite in the league.

The focus has been on tighter defensive play this season, and 2.6 goals conceded per game is a great result. The offensive play hasn’t been quite like last season’s fireworks, but an average of 3.23 goals for is still what you would expect of a playoff team. For the Panthers, too, the conversion lags somewhat behind. According to expected goals, we could have expected about 3.6 goals scored per game.

So, while Florida has been a very low-scoring team this season, we shouldn’t label them as mega under just yet. Especially in their current formation, the Panthers can create chances evenly with their top three lines. Sam Reinhart, who is playing a monster season, has recently played alongside Anton Lundell and Eetu Luostarinen. In this way, the third line has gained more firepower and at the same time made it more difficult for the opponent to get decent matchups.

Over looks promising

Florida has had a significantly better season than Pittsburgh, although Pittsburgh has potential for better results. Home advantage also brings some edge for the Penguins, who enter the match as slight underdogs. Somewhere north of +115 would be fine for the Pengs, but odds like that aren’t available at the time of writing. Florida doesn’t look good either, but we do have a fantastic bet in totals.

Once again I disagree with the total line in Florida’s game, which has been a trend this season. Both teams have the potential to do better on the offensive end than seen and this potential is not reflected enough in the odds. Over 6.5 with overtime and shootout included is around 56 percent in my estimation, so anything better than -125 would do. Unibet is offering a massive +110 for this pick. It’s time to put on some fireworks and wager a full max bet on this one.

Tip: Over 6.5 (Incl. OT & Shootout) @ +110
Units: 10/10

The match will start on 1/26/2024 at 7:00 PM EST.
The odds are from the time of publication of the article and are subject to change.

Esa Kostet
X: @konekostet

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Register and Bet $25 on any match (min odds +100). Win or lose, you’ll get $100 in bonus bets!

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