Penguins vs Capitals NHL Odds, Picks and Predictions May 1

Updated: April 30, 2021

First place is on the line Saturday, as the Pittsburgh Penguins continue their ascension up the East as they take on the Washington Capitals. 

Both teams are tied with 69 points heading into the final 10 days of the regular season, with Washington holding a game in hand. Pittsburgh took two points on Thursday, as they beat the Capitals in D.C. 5-4 in overtime. 

Here are our free NHL betting picks and predictions for Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals for Saturday, May 1 (7:00 p.m. ET).

Penguins vs Capitals odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

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The line opened as a pick’em, with the total at 6. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!<

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Penguins at Capitals betting preview


Penguins: Evgeni Malkin F (Out), Evan Rodrigues F (Questionable).
Capitals: Alex Ovechkin F (Questionable), John Carlson D (Questionable).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Over is 7-1 in the Penguins’ last eight road games. Find more NHL betting trends for Penguins vs. Capitals.

Moneyline pick

Any other season, winning the division might mean a lot to clubs, but with two straight rounds against opponents you’ve already played a combined 16 times, seeding just isn’t as important in 2021. Add in the fact that there is no easy opponent in the East Division and Saturday’s battle for first place doesn’t have the same luster as previous seasons.

However, discrediting the Pens’ push to the top would be criminal, considering they were +1,000 to win the division just over a month ago. Next to the Golden Knights, this is the hottest team in the NHL.

The Pens have not skipped a beat without star forward Geno Malkin. Since the center went down with a lower-body injury on March 16, all Pittsburgh has done is go 15-5-2, which is the second-best mark over that stretch. Their offense is putting up Top-3 numbers while the power play is scoring at 29 percent, all without the Russian forward. 

The Capitals are dealing with some injuries of their own, as Alex Ovechkin has missed three straight games and defenseman John Carlson missed Thursday’s battle. Ovi may be taking some time off to nurse some minor injuries before a playoff push. We doubt he suits up if he’s dealing with even the slightest LBI. Carlson is in the same boat, as he is third on the team in scoring and leads the team in ice time per game. 

The Pens will likely get to see goalie Ilya Samsonov, after Vitek Vanecek gave up five goals Thursday. Samsonov is 13-4 SU on the year but boasts league-average peripherals and has allowed three or more goals in five of his last seven starts. 

The Penguins have April’s best offense (3.87 goals per game) and have had no troubles scoring against the Caps this year, having scored four or more goals in four of the seven meetings.

At -110, we love the Pens in this spot, as they seem to have more to prove and face a Capitals team that has run into some goalie issues and could be without two of its Top-3 scorers.

PREDICTION: Pittsburgh ML (-110)

Covers NHL betting analysis

Over/Under pick

Both clubs have been profitable to the Over this year, going a combined 55-41 O/U. So, it’s no surprise that the Over has been cashing across the seven meetings this year, going 5-for-7.

Neither team is riding hot goaltending, especially after Thursday’s nine-goal contest. Samsonov has seen an average combined score of 6.4 goals over his last five starts with a 4-1 O/U record. The Washington goalie is also near the bottom of the league in expected goals saved above 60 minutes at -0.290, which is one spot better than Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry.

The Pens have been one of the trickier teams to project a starting goalie this season, which is imperative when playing totals. Jarry won Thursday but allowed four goals. Pittsburgh plays five times over the next eight days, which has us leaning on backup Casey DeSmith drawing the start to keep things fresh in the crease.

DeSmith has allowed 20 goals across his last five games and sports a .857 save percentage against the Caps in two meetings this year. He could face a Washington team that has had no problem scoring without Ovechkin, as they’ve potted 11 goals in the three games the Great Eight has missed. 

The power play may miss Ovechkin, but the Capitals have played strong 5-on-5 without him, having scored nine of their previous 10 goals at even strength. 

The first six matchups had a closing total of 6.5, with Thursday’s 5-4 game closing at an exploitable 5.5. Saturday, we’re staring at an opening total of a flat 6. This total could climb upwards and we’re getting on the Over now rather than later.

PREDICTION: Over 6 (-110)

Penguins vs Capitals betting card

  • Pittsburgh ML (-110)
  • Over 6 (-110)

Picks made on 4/30/2021 at 6:35 p.m. ET

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