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Defending Champs Open Playoffs as Faves vs Inexperienced Blue Jackets

The Penguins and Blue Jackets will pop the top on their first-round matchup tonight after splitting their season series and Pittsburgh will go in as a large moneyline favorite. Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Pens would love to get their Stanley Cup defense off on the right foot tonight and considering they’ve lost just 10 games at the PPG Paints Arena all season, I think they have a pretty good shot of completing that task.

SHARK BITES
  • The visiting team is 0-4 SU in its last 4 games in this matchup.
  • Sergei Bobrovsky has a career 2-6 record and .890 save percentage in the playoffs.
  • The Blue Jackets have 2 playoff wins in the history of their franchise.

Many people will tell you that the Penguins are dead without Kris Letang roaming the ice and although I agree that losing him is a massive blow, I have complete faith that they’ll be fine without him. During the season, in games they had Letang, the Pens went 21-13 straight up. Without him? They went 29-19 straight up. That difference in winning percentage is hardly even tangible and I’ll back a team with the two best centers in the world all day long.

The X factor in this series is whether Sergei Bobrovsky can stand on his head in Pittsburgh. The Penguins produced a staggering 35.6 shots per game in their 41 home contests this season and their goalies combined to post a .923 team save percentage. Officer Bob may be a shoo-in for the Vezina Trophy at this year’s awards show but, realistically, he and the Blue Jackets are outmatched in this spot.

This is the situation I’ve been saying all season where the Jackets would show their inexperience and I think they’re about to get absolutely exposed by a Penguins side that’s been to the playoffs 11 consecutive seasons.

Opening Odds & Computer Pick

Sportsbooks such as Bovada had the Pittsburgh Penguins as -131 moneyline favorites in this particular NHL betting matchup earlier. The over under total, meanwhile, was set early at 5 before betting started to move the line at Bet365.

Odds Shark prediction models pick the Penguins to win this game 3.7-1.6. View the computer score prediction and who will win the pick on the moneyline for all upcoming NHL matchups here.

Columbus Blue Jackets vs Pittsburgh Penguins Matchup

Team Betting Records & Power Rankings

Supporters of the Columbus Blue Jackets have seen them go 50-24-8 so far this season, while the Penguins are at 50-21-11. In totals betting, the Pittsburgh Penguins are 47-30-5, while the Blue Jackets are 32-44-6. Stay Informed: follow us on Twitter for odds specials, betting line moves and Pittsburgh vs Columbus injuries news.

The NHL Power Rankings at Odds Shark show the No. 26-rated Columbus Blue Jackets taking on the No. 5-rated Pittsburgh Penguins in this contest.

Statistical Matchup

Offensively, the game matches up the Pittsburgh Penguins No. 1-ranked offense (3.44 goals per game) against a Columbus Blue Jackets defense that ranks No. 2 at 2.38 goals per game allowed. The Penguins powerplay has clicked at a 23.08% rate while the Blue Jackets have a 83.04% rate on the penalty kill.

Recent Outings Betting Recap

Last time out for Columbus, they were a 3-2 winner as they battled the Maple Leafs on the road. Moneyline bettors who got the Blue Jackets at +153 were rewarded, while the 5 combined goals moved the game UNDER for totals bettors.

The Penguins were a 3-2 loser in their most recent outing on the road against the Rangers. That made winners of bettors who got New York at -181 on the moneyline, while the total score (5) was good news for OVER bettors.

Betting Trends
  • Columbus is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
  • Columbus is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Columbus's last 10 games
  • Columbus is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games on the road
  • Pittsburgh is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
  • Pittsburgh is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
  • Pittsburgh is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games at home
  • Pittsburgh is 18-6 SU in its last 24 games at home

Next Betting Matchups

Columbus at Pittsburgh, Friday, April 14th

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