Penguins vs Devils Picks and Predictions for March 18

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Updated: March 18, 2021

Jack Hughes and the Devils are one of the league’s lowest-scoring teams, but they host a Pittsburgh team tonight that struggles to score on the road—and is likely without one of its top forwards.

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will look to start another winning streak on Thursday as they face the slumping New Jersey Devils, who are 3-12 SU in their last 15.

At 6-1 SU over their last seven, the third-place Penguins have been busy climbing the East Division standings and are just five points out of first place. Pittsburgh is an obvious NHL betting favorite, opening at -169 with the total set at 5.5, and that’s promising as road favorites are hitting at 63.4 percent on the season.

Here are our free NHL picks and predictions for Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New Jersey Devils on Thursday, March 18 (7:00 p.m. ET).

Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils betting preview

Injuries

Penguins: Evgeni Malkin F (Questionable), Teddy Blueger F (Out), Jason Zucker F (Out), John Marino D (Out).
Devils: Nico Hischier F (Out).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 8-1 in the Devils’ last nine games against teams with a winning percentage above .600. Find more NHL betting trends for Penguins vs. Devils.

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The line opened at Pittsburgh -169/New Jersey +150, with the total at 5.5. Early action has slightly favored the Penguins, moving the line to -170/+153. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!

Check out the full line movement for this game

Moneyline pick

Who doesn’t love a good home dog? The Devils are paying +150 at home versus a team that will likely be without its second-best player in Evgeni Malkin and has been playing an insanely busy schedule.

Malkin exited Tuesday’s game after logging just 3:43 of ice time with what is being called a lower-body injury. The Russian star was on an eight-game point streak (12 points) which included four multi-point performances. Losing Geno leaves a massive hole down the middle for Pittsburgh and also means the Devils can match up much better against Sidney Crosby’s line.

Pittsburgh was on a season-high six-game winning streak before losing 2-1 to the Bruins on Tuesday. We’re big fans of fading teams coming off a loss following a big winning streak, plus Thursday’s tilt will be the Penguins’ 10th game in 17 days.

Getting behind the Devils can be tough, considering they have won just five games since February 1, but this is a team that hasn’t had to travel in a week. They beat the Sabres 3-2 on Tuesday – big deal – but they did play the first-place Islanders well in a two-game set prior to that, losing both games 3-2.

The Penguins will likely start goalie Tristan Jarry after backup Casey DeSmith played in the loss to Boston. Jarry owns a 2.89 goals-against average on the year but has performed poorly on the road in 2021. In nine road starts, the Pittsburgh No. 1 is 3-6 SU with a 3.60 GAA and an .864 save percentage—those are some putrid splits.

Sometimes you have to take a shot on a big underdog and the Devils at +150 have a couple of nice angles going for them—including the price.

PREDICTION: New Jersey ML (+150)

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Over/Under pick

The 2021 New Jersey offense is reminiscent of the 90s Jacques Lemaire-era teams—which is not a compliment. The Devils are scoring just 2.22 goals per game (27th in the league) in March and 2.50 (23rd) on the season.

Their home splits favor the Under as well, as they’re averaging 5.06 total goals per game on home ice this season against 6.36 total goals on the road. The massive difference is the reason behind New Jersey being one of the best Under home teams in the league with a season record of 3-11 O/U.

Pittsburgh is also a much better home club this season as they average 3.60 goals for and 2.40 goals against. But traveling has not been as kind to the Pens as their offense and defense both drop while on the road with 2.64 goals for and 3.29 against. The near one-goal difference in scoring is as drastic of a change as you will see in the league.

The power play has been stalling for the Devils in March. New Jersey has recorded just two power-play goals on 25 chances with the man advantage, good for an 8 percent “success” rate. On the other side, if Malkin does sit, it will likely have serious effects on a Pens’ PP which ranks 24th in the league at 17.9 percent.

We’d like to wait on this total in the hopes that it hits 6.0, but at even money with home/road splits that are both in our favor, we’re rolling the dice on the Under 5.5 on this Thursday matchup.

PREDICTION: Under 5.5 (+100)

Penguins vs Devils betting card

  • New Jersey ML (+150)
  • Under 5.5 (+100)

NHL parlays

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