NHL Best Bets Tonight: Penguins at Panthers, December 8

NHL Best Bets Tonight: Penguins at Panthers, December 8

This article is part of our NHL Picks series.

NHL Bets Today: Expert NHL Picks and Props for Penguins vs. Panthers

The Pittsburgh Penguins (11-11-3) travel to face the Florida Panthers (15-8-2) at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Fla. on Friday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET, and the game can be viewed on NHL Network.

The Penguins have had a power outage in the first two contests of the three-game road trip, losing 2-1 in overtime in Philadelphia on Monday, before getting tripped up 3-1 in Tampa on Wednesday. 

Alex Nedeljkovic played well in a rare start against the Flyers, but only Sidney Crosby was able to provide any offense Monday night. On Wednesday, Jake Guentzel notched the only goal with just 53 seconds left in regulation, ruining a shutout for Andrei Vasilevskiy. Tristan Jarry made 24 saves, with two of the goals coming on the power play for the Lightning.

The offensive woes for the Penguins are nothing new, as this team has scored three or fewer goals in 10 of the past 11 games, while averaging just 2.1 goals per game (GPG) during the span. That's great news is you're an Under bettor, as the total has gone low in nine of the past 10 contests.

For the Panthers, they won a wild 5-4 affair against the Dallas Stars on home ice on Wednesday, with Evan Rodrigues stepping up as the hero. He had two goals, including a power-play marker at exactly 8:00 of the third period, and that stood up as the game-winning goal. In fact, Rodrigues had a hand in four of the five goals, posting two goals with two assists and a plus-3 rating. It was even more impressive since he only took two shots on goal.

Jarry (8-9-2, 2.50 GAA, .917 SV%, 3 SO) is projected to get the starting nod for the Penguins, whil Sergei Bobrovsky (12-6-1, 2.49 GAA, .910 SV%, 2 SO) is likely to tend twine again for the Panthers. Bob turned aside 29 of the 33 shots he faced in the win against Dallas, with two goals coming on the power play. He is 7-3-0 in 10 starts at home, as opposed to 5-3-1 in nine outings on the road, although his GAA (2.83) and SV% (.903) is much worse at home than on the road (2.12 GAA, .919 SV%).

The way things are going lately, however, the Panthers are a strong play on the moneyline at home. The Penguins have tallied just two goals in the first two stops of the road trip, and they've had extended trouble flicking the switch on the goal lamp for a while. 

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NHL Puck Line Bets for Penguins vs. Panthers

  • Panthers ML (-155 ESPN BET)

As far as the total is concerned, it's a little more complicated. Again, the Penguins are averaging just 2.1 GPG across the past 11 outings, while cashing the Under at a 9-1 clip in the past 10 contests. And the Penguins are going a decent job defensively, and in net, yielding just 2.2 GPG in the past nine.

However, the Panthers are not having trouble scoring goals, at least not lately. Florida has 13 goals in the past three games, while allowing four each in the past two tilts. The offense comes and goes, though, as the Panthers just had a 7-1 Under run from Nov. 16-30 themselves. Florida has tallied 40 goals in 12 games on home ice this season, or 3.33 GPG.

Florida takes a lot of shots, ranking No. 2 in the NHL (34.0 SOG per game), but it has notched just 3.1 GPG overall to rank 19th, and the power play is dismal at 18.5%, ranking 22nd. Defensively, the Panthers are 4th in goals per game allowed (2.6), while Florida is so-so on the kill at 80.2%.

The Penguins rank 20th in goals per game (3.0 GPG), while their power play is even worse at 9.9%, which is good for 30th. Pittsburgh also takes a lot of shots, ranking 4th with 33 SOG per game, but the shooting percentage is terrible. Defensively, it ranks 5th with 2.6 GPG allowed, and the kill is a respectable 11th at 83.1%.

Based on the defense, and the overall bodies of work for both teams, look for plenty of shots on Friday night, but for not a lot to go in. We're lean Under 6.5 goals.

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NHL Totals Bets for Penguins vs. Panthers

  • Under 6.5 (-105 at BetMGM)

NHL Player Props for Penguins vs. Panthers

As we look to the props, we'll try a few more Anytime Goal Scorer props, similar to Wednesday's Carolina-Edmonton preview. We hit the Zach Hyman (+170) Anytime Goal Scorer, and, in fact, he had a hat trick. But Martin Necas (+240) didn't come through for the Hurricanes.

There are a couple of attractive plays on both sides of the ice, but we need things not to get too crazy, as we also have the Under.

Pittsburgh's Jake Guentzel was the only player to strike goal on Wednesday, and that was just barely. But he now has four goals and eight points across the past seven games, and the diminutive forward from Omaha, Neb. is the only player doing much of anything offensively in the Steel City lately.

Florida's Carter Verhaeghe is on a three-game heater, posting at least one goal in each of the outings, while adding two assists. He has lit the lamp in four of his past five games, too. Verhaeghe has also averaged 5.0 SOG during the goal-scoring streak, so he is definitely feeling it. Last season, the 28-year-old Torontonian notched three goals and five points in three games vs. PIT, too.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Dobish
Hockey writer, unskilled fourth liner, fantasy and gambling industry veteran, handicapper, FSWA's 2011 fantasy hockey writer of the year nominee and four-time FSWA award winner. Twitter: @danieledobish
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