On Wednesday evening, the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins meet in the first game of the 2021 season. The Battle of the Keystone State is always a must-watch.
Let’s get into our Flyers-Penguins betting preview, including odds, predictions and picks.
Flyers vs. Penguins Betting Preview
The NHL is poised to return with one of the marquee matchups in the entire league set to get the season off to a raucous start as cross-state rivals Philadelphia and Pittsburgh meet on Wednesday evening at Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers and Penguins faced off three times a season ago before the NHL season was paused in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pens dominated the first matchup of the season at home 7-1. Three months later, the teams met in Philadelphia, which went in the home team’s favor in a 3-0 shutout. The final matchup of the 2019-20 season saw the home Pens pull out a 4-3 win in overtime.
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The Penguins will hope their August 25 acquisition of Kasperi Kapanen will fortify their Top-6 along with Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust, and Jason Zucker. They’ll need to find chemistry quickly, especially with Dominik Simon -the forward who played the highest number of minutes with Crosby and Guentzel- left for Calgary. Pittsburgh are expected to feature Tristan Jarry between the pipes this season after dealing two-time Stanley Cup winner Matt Murray to the Senators.
The Flyers, on the other hand, didn’t make a ton of moves, which looks like a rather wise decision when factoring in a few things. This shortened season following an abbreviated training camp could favor teams with a higher percentage of continuity from season to season. Philadelphia signed defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who has a somewhat redundant skillset to in-house candidate Shayne Gostisbehere. The biggest moves at forward are expected to be the return of Oskar Lindblom -who’s a year removed from a rare cancer diagnosis- and former #2 overall pick Nolan Patrick who missed the 2019-20 season with a migraine disorder.
Flyers vs. Penguins Odds
Here’s the line for the Flyers and Penguins at DraftKings Sportsbook PA:
- Spread: Flyers -1.5 +220, Penguins +1.5 -275
- Moneyline: Flyers +115, Penguins -134
- Over/Under: O 6 -106, U 6 -115
Bets We Like With a Flyers Win
Money Puck gives the Flyers a 61.5% chance of winning their season opener against a tough Pittsburgh squad. Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s implied win probability based on the moneyline is just 51%. It’s not unusual to see a discrepancy between the oddsmakers and projection models, but a 10.5% gap is notable.
Flyers Win and Over Six Goals (+265, DraftKings)
The adrenaline will be pumping in this game as The Battle of the Keystone State leads a packed NHL Opening Night slate. The Flyers are 2-1-0 at home over the past two seasons against Pittsburgh and 4-2-1 overall over that stretch. The Flyers are projected by a number of pundits to finish higher in the standings than their cross-state rivals.
While there are no preseason games to judge the teams’ respective form entering this matchup, the recent history between these teams indicates a likelihood of a high-scoring game. The teams combined for at least seven goals in two of three matchups a season ago, with the only game going under taking place in Philadelphia.
The Flyers feature one of deepest groups of forwards in the entire league. Their third line features the dynamic Jakub Voracek flanking former #2 overall pick Nolan Patrick with former #2 overall pick James van Riemsdyk on the other wing. That’s a line worth keeping an eye on to pot a couple of goals in the opener.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
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Flyers and Penguins to Score in the First Period (+200, BetMGM)
While teams often begin games a bit more slowly as part of a feeling out process, this is the epitome of a rivalry game that happens to be the first game of the NHL season being played in front of a national audience.
This game should be physical from the get-go, with plenty of odd man rushes going the other way. If you want a solid bet independent of outcome, this is a good one to consider.
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Kevin Hayes to Score a Goal (+300, BetMGM)
Flyers center Kevin Hayes has been scoring at a torrid pace throughout training camp scrimmages and Sunday’s intrasquad scrimmage. His goalscoring history against the Penguins isn’t great, netting just four goals in 20 career games against Pittsburgh, but he’s never played on a team with a forward corps as deep as this one.
Flyers vs. Penguins Prediction
Pick: This will be a physical, high-flying, potentially sloppy game with plenty of odd-man rushes and big hits. Take the Flyers and Over 6 Goals.