NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues as the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Washington Capitals on Wednesday Night Hockey with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals will cool off at some point, but on paper they have some strong betting trends and are more rested than the rival Pittsburgh Penguins. The Capitals are a -140 favorite on the Wednesday night NHL odds against the +120 underdog Penguins with a 6.5-goal total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Capitals are coming off a three-day break – compared to the Penguins’ one day between games – and are on a five-game win streak. Washington is also 8-2 in its last 10 home games as a favorite of -130 to -150 on the moneyline and 7-1 in its last eight home games against Metropolitan Division opponents. The Penguins are 1-5 in their last six road games against Metropolitan foes.
The Penguins are 15-12-6 this season, which includes a 2-8 record in their last 10 away games, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. Pittsburgh, it goes almost without saying, has one of the NHL’s top offenses led by centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and is averaging 3.4 goals per game, seventh-most in the 31-team NHL.
Pittsburgh’s offensive capabilities are comparable to the Capitals’, but they are allowing 32.9 shots per game with a team save percentage that is below the league average, which seems like a tough combination to take into a matchup with the Capitals. The Penguins do have No. 1 goalie Matt Murray back in the lineup, but their only win in his last six starts was against the lowly Los Angeles Kings.
The Capitals are 20-9-3, including a 12-2 record in their last 14 games and 10-4-2 record in home games this season at Capital One Arena. Washington is second in the NHL with 3.7 goals per game and has been trading chances freely with opponents, as their last 10 games have had an average total of 7.3 goals. Ovechkin is on a 14-game point streak and has scored in both of Washington’s games this season against Pittsburgh.
The Capitals also boast the NHL’s fifth-rated power play (26.3 percent, with the Penguins ranking 11th at 22.8).
While keeping focused as Christmas nears is often a challenge for NHL teams, the Capitals are 9-1 in their last 10 home games in December. Washington is, however, 27th in the NHL in penalty killing (75.6 percent) and goalie Braden Holtby has a 3.38 goals-against average and .882 save percentage in five games in December. Those numbers jibe with the strong OVER trends of both teams.
For instance, the total has gone OVER at online sports betting sites in six of Pittsburgh’s last eight regular-season away games when it was the underdog. The total has gone OVER in 12 of Washington’s last 18 regular-season games at home as a -130 to -150 moneyline favorite. The total has also gone OVER in eight of the Capitals’ last 10 home games in December.
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