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Odds and Ends

Best Bets for MTL vs. PIT - 8/1

by Covers.com
Updated On: August 1, 2020, 12:37 pm ET

Montreal Canadiens vs Pittsburgh Penguins Betting Preview

The Penguins finished the regular season with a 40-23-6 record and NHL odds have them installed as -165 favorites on Saturday. The Canadiens are listed as +145 underdogs following a 31-31-9 record during the season, while the Over/Under is set at 5.5. 


Starting Goalies

Canadiens: Carey Price (27-25-6, 2.79 GAA, .909 SV%)
Penguins: Matt Murray (20-11-5, 2.87 GAA, .899 SV%) or Tristan Jarry (20-12-1, 2.49 GAA, .921 SV%)

Price, the seven-time All-Star and 2015 Hart and Vezina Trophy winner, has carried the Habs for the last decade. He had a solid regular season for Montreal, posting a 2.79 GAA, but he's coming off an exhibition game against the Maple Leafs where he surrendered four goals on 23 shots.

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan still hasn't announced which goalie will get the nod on Saturday after both Murray and Jarry played in Tuesday's 3-2 exhibition loss to Philly. Jarry performed better during the regular season but Murray is playoff-tested, having won 22 games across two Stanley Cup runs in 2016 and 2017.

Key Injuries

Pittsburgh: Jack Johnson D (questionable), Dominik Simon RW (out), Nick Bjugstad C (out)
Montreal: Karl Alzner D (out)
Find our latest NHL injury reports for every game. 


To be announced

Betting Trend to know

The Over is 6-0-1 in the Penguins last seven games against Eastern Conference opponents. Find more NHL betting trends for Canadiens vs. Penguins.


First Period Bet

Both Montreal and Pittsburgh have played strong defense at the beginning of games. They are tied for sixth in the league in goals allowed during the first 20 minutes. The Penguins have also gotten out to slow starts offensively, ranking 20th in the league in goals scored during the first period.

While we think goals will be scored in this game, perhaps in the third period when Montreal is particularly vulnerable, don't be surprised if the first period is relatively quiet. Wait until closer to gametime for the period prop bets to become available and look to take the first period Under at what should be plus money. 

PREDICTION: First Period Under 1.5 (-120)


Over/Under pick

The Penguins wrapped up the regular season ranked 10th in the league in goals per game with 3.20, despite their four highest-scoring forwards - Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust - missing a combined 86 games with various ailments.

Now that all of them (along with blueline anchor Kris Letang, who scored 44 points in 61 games) are healthy, the Penguins offense should be able to roll against a Canadiens side that gives up 3.10 goals per game.

While the Habs have struggled to find the back of the net, they're second in the league in shots per game and fourth in high-danger scoring chances. If they keep the pressure up, they're bound to score a few goals. With the Over 4-0-1 in the Pens last five games entering the break, and 8-3 in the Habs previous 11 contests, we like it on Saturday night.

PREDICTION: Over 5.5 goals (+100)


Moneyline pick

The Penguins were seventh in the NHL standings in terms of point percentage while the Habs were 24th. Crosby and company are unfortunate to miss out on the round-robin tournament to determine Top-4 playoff seeding, while Montreal can consider itself lucky it snuck into the "postseason" for the first time since 2017 (although truth be told they'd probably be just as happy to be eliminated and have a shot at Alexis Lafreniere).

Pittsburgh has the advantage on Montreal pretty much across the board, and although Price is certainly capable of stealing a game, it would need to be a Herculean effort. With the Pens having won eight of the last 11 games in the head-to-head, they have value even at -165.  

PREDICTION: Pittsburgh (-165)


Canadiens vs Penguins Betting Card

  • First Period Under 1.5 (-120)
  • Over 5.5 goals (+100)
  • Pittsburgh (-165)

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