Things are picking up.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are only one point away from first place in the NHL’s East Division. One of their key players, forward Kasperi Kapanen, will soon return from injury, according to ESPN.
In addition, the Penguins are right in the middle of a stretch in which they play 10 games in 17 days. A little bit beyond that, the NHL Playoffs loom. And according to ESPN’s Playoff Watch Daily, the Pens have a 97% chance to make it.
So things are picking up pretty quickly. On Thursday night, Pittsburgh hosts the New Jersey Devils at PPG Paints Arena at 7 p.m. Then, there’s a rematch of the two teams on Saturday, followed by a nationally-televised game against the Boston Bruins at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
It’s going to be a busy weekend for the Penguins, with games that only grow bigger in the weeks ahead.
In this week’s installment of Penn Sportsbooks‘ Pick Play, we’ll get you ready for Pittsburgh’s upcoming games and also take a look at the team’s futures odds as the postseason approaches.
The Penguins should be favored in their next two games
BetRivers Sportsbook has Pittsburgh as a -290 favorite in Thursday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils, a team that’s almost dead last in the East Division. The Devils are +240 on the moneyline and the game’s over/under is set at 6 goals.
On Saturday, the same teams take the ice in Pittsburgh again and the odds should be fairly similar unless something crazy happens in Thursday’s game. On Sunday, the third-place Penguins travel to Boston to face the fourth-place Bruins in a pivotal East Division matchup. Game lines for both contests should be available closer to when the puck drops.
BetRivers has Pittsburgh as co-favorite in the East Division
Interestingly enough, BetRivers has both the Penguins and Bruins as co-favorites in East Division futures. Both teams currently have odds of +250 for that wager, but that pricing could change soon. The Washington Capitals (+275) and New York Islanders (+300), who currently are tied for the division lead, are a little farther back in futures markets.
In Stanley Cup futures, the Colorado Avalanche are a clear favorite at +350. The next closest teams are the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Las Vegas Golden Knights at +750.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently eighth on the board at +1400. But as noted in East Division futures, the Penguins pricing could change as soon as this weekend if the team’s strong performance continues.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby is third in MVP futures
If all the game action and team futures aren’t enough to keep you entertained in the final weeks of the NHL’s regular season, you can always add some player award futures too.
The Penguins have a presence on some PA sportbooks‘ boards, thanks to center Sidney Crosby, who is presently third in odds for the Hart Memorial Trophy. Crosby has pricing of +1100, behind Connor McDavid (-1500) and Auston Matthews (+950).
Can Crosby lead Pens to playoff run?
The NHL Playoffs begin on Tuesday, May 11. And for the Penguins to make a run through them, Crosby will have to do what he has already done before – provide the superstar performance that vaults a good team toward greatness.
Right now, there is a little momentum building for the Penguins.
Things are trending up.
And we’ll soon see how far the arrow goes.
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar