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Winter Classic on NHL lines

On New Year's Day it’s the NHL's Winter Classic from Pittsburgh, where the Penguins will be favorites against Alex Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals.

Assuming the game isn't rained out.

Pittsburgh won their only meeting 3-2 in a shootout earlier in December, but Washington won all four last season. The difference-maker could be the intangible extra man in the home crowd. The Penguins own a solid 13-6-1 record at home, while the Capitals have struggled on the road, going 8-8-1.

This should make the Penguins favorites with NHL betting lines for the matchup.

Sidney Crosby had his 25-point scoring streak snapped in the Penguins' upset loss to the Islanders on Wednesday, but his Penguins still lead the league with 53 points – one ahead of Detroit.

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Since an eight-game losing skid, the Capitals have won back-to-back games and four of five. If they are to topple the league leaders and Crosby their top scorers need to find the back of the net.

Ovechkin has just four goals in his past 21 games, while Alexander Semin has no goals in 11 contests, and Nicklas Backstrom hasn’t tallied in his past 13 games.

These teams employ too many offensive weapons to ignore totals betting for this game. OVER bettors could jump at this one, as the two teams have paid out to OVER bettors eight of the past 10 times.

Meanwhile, the Canucks are true contenders in the chase for Lord Stanley, and this is witnessed by sportsbooks setting the lines at EVEN for the Vancouver and Dallas game at American Airlines Center on Friday night.

Dallas is no slouch at home - they are 12-5-3 overall – but have dropped three straight there. The Northwest-leading Canucks are 9-5-3 on the road, but have won three of four in their recent road swing with their only defeat a 5-4 overtime loss to West-leading Detroit.

Although the NHL betting lines are even in this contest, the Canucks could easily be where the smart money goes. They score more goals, allow fewer goals, and are better on special teams, while also winning the past two against the Stars.

Vancouver and Dallas combined for seven goals in paying out to OVER bettors in their previous encounter and could be a favorite for totals bettors again. These teams have also sent OVER bettors to the payout window in four of their previous six head-to-head.