On Friday evening, the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins meet for the second time in three nights. Wednesday’s Battle of the Keystone State became NBCSN’s most-watched regular season game in history. Will the sequel live up to the hype?
Let’s get into our Flyers-Penguins betting preview, including odds, predictions and picks.
Flyers vs. Penguins Betting Preview (January 15, 2021)
This past offseason, it was rumored that the Flyers and Penguins would be in separate divisions as part of the NHL’s temporary realignment. The realization that breaking up one of the most popular rivalries in the game would be met with both public outcry and a serious conversation with TV rights holders likely led to the league reconsidering. It’s a good thing they did.
The opening game, which took place at 5:30PM Eastern, became the most-watched regular season game in NBCSN history, averaging 972,000 viewers with a peak viewership of 1.264 million. Streaming numbers on opening night were also higher than ever before, with 285,000 unique devices tuning into the Opening Night triple header.
This informal is critical to understanding why we believe tonight’s game will look different from Wednesday night. Pittsburgh, led by future Hall of Famer Sidney Crosby, is well-aware that they were blown out in front of a national audience. Despite lacking the depth of their cross-state rivals, they’ll likely keep this game closer.
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The Penguins will once again be without offseason acquisition Kasperi Kapanen, who remains out as he works to clear the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols.
The Flyers, on the other hand, should be at full strength with the exception of defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who is also on the league’s COVID-19 List.
Philadelphia’s free agent signing Erik Gustafsson, provided immediate return on the team’s investment on Wednesday night, assisting on two power play goals, one that tied the game at one goal apiece and a go-ahead goal near the end of the first period to put the Flyers up 2-1.
Flyers vs. Penguins Odds
Here’s the line for the Flyers and Penguins at DraftKings Sportsbook PA:
- Spread: Flyers -1.5 +235, Penguins +1.5 -295
- Moneyline: Flyers -108, Penguins -108
- Over/Under: O 6 -122, U 6 +102
Bets We Like With a Flyers Win
Money Puck gives the Flyers a 61.9% chance of winning their rematch with Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s implied win probability based on the moneyline is a true toss-up at 50%. It’s not unusual to see a discrepancy between the oddsmakers and projection models, but a double-digit discrepancy that includes a toss-up is certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Flyers Win and Under 6.5 Goals (+240, DraftKings)
The Flyers are 3-1-0 at home against Pittsburgh at home dating back to last season and 5-2-1 over that stretch in all situations. Wednesday night’s 6-3 Flyers win was in line with the scoring of two matchups a season ago, including a 7-1 Pittsburgh win and a 4-3 Pens win in overtime, both of which took place in Pittsburgh. The lone game at Wells Fargo Center a season ago was a 3-0 shutout.
We believe that Alain Vigneault’s squad will look to be a bit more responsible with the puck, particularly in the neutral zone, and dominate play in the offensive end, where they racked up ten high danger chances to Pittsburgh’s eight in all situations. Expect an even more physical game with Pittsburgh coming off an embarrassing Opening Night result.
Carter Hart, who struggled a bit in net against the Flyers cross-state rivals a season ago, was better on Wednesday night, save for an outrageous demonstration of hand-eye coordination from Sidney Crosby into an empty net. This game could easily end up finishing 3-2 or 4-2, so look to tease the over/under total goals line from six to 6.5 and take the Flyers to win.
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Flyers to Win 3-1, 4-2, or 5-2 (+850, FOX Bet)
This bet isn’t one that we absolutely love, but two of the three outcomes fall within our belief that under 6.5 total goals will hit. We expect a lower-scoring affair with the Flyers prevailing, but as long as Pittsburgh has Crosby and Evgeni Malkin methodically circling young netminder Carter Hart on the power play, there’s a high probability Pittsburgh finds the net at least once. A 3-2 result feels like where this game could be heading, but a 4-2 result coming via an empty net goal is a realistic outcome.
At +850 odds, interested bettors could take a low-wager flier on this one and profit well if it hits.
Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Two or More Goals Scored in the First Period (+100, BetMGM)
This bet is a bit more forgiving than one that BetMGM ran on Wednesday night. In that bet, the Flyers and Penguins each had to score at least one goal. While this won’t pay out as high of a return multiplier as that bet, it allows for a wider array of goal outcomes to help this market hit.
This game is expected to be physical from the get-go with emotions running high as Pittsburgh looks to avoid an 0-2 start in an abbreviated 56-game season. The chance of their being at least one first period power play is enough to make this one worth checking out.
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Evgeni Malkin to Score a Goal (+200, FOX Bet)
Evgeni Malkin failed to find the back of the net in Wednesday night’s contest, but he was tied for the team lead in shots with four. With emotions running high in this one, it’s likely that special teams will play a big role in the outcome of this one.
Malkin has never scored against Carter Hart, though the Flyers have traditionally started Brian Elliott in net against their cross-state rivals. Whether it comes at even strength or on special teams, look for Malkin to get on the scoresheet.
Flyers vs. Penguins Prediction
Pick: This should be a much tighter, lower-scoring affair than the teams’ first game of the season. Take the Flyers to Win and Under 6.5 Goals. Also consider taking a low-wager flier on the Flyers to win 3-1, 4-2, or 5-2.