Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Free Pick

In their first head-to-head meeting of the regular season, the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Pittsburgh Penguins meet at PPG Paints Arena in a divisional tilt. This one gets underway at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 21 and it can be seen live on Sportsnet.

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Odds

Columbus (+130) is entering this one as the underdog to Pittsburgh (-150), and the oddsmakers have put the Over/Under (O/U) at 6 goals. The odds for betting that total stand at -110 for the over and -110 for the under.

Columbus is 21-14 straight up (SU) and has netted 2.0 units for moneyline bettors this season. 17 of its games have gone under the total, while 16 have gone over and just one has pushed. This 2017-18 Blue Jackets team is 8-8 SU on the road.

Columbus has converted on just 10.9 percent of its power play chances this year, a figure that places them in the bottom- overall among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked ninth overall, and it has successfully killed off 82.6 percent of its penalties.

For the team as a whole, the Jackets have been penalized just 3.0 times per game overall in the 2017-18 season, and 4.2 per game over its past five match ups. The team has been forced to kill penalties just 8.3 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

With a .919 save percentage and 27.5 saves per game, Sergei Bobrovsky (17-11-1) has been the primary option in goal for Columbus this year. If head coach John Tortorella chooses to rest him, however, Columbus might turn to Joonas Korpisalo (4-4 record, .911 save percentage, 2.84 goals against average).

Artemi Panarin and Oliver Bjorkstrand will both look to continue their strong seasons for the visiting Blue Jackets. Panarin (28 points) has tallied seven goals and 21 assists, and has recorded two or more points in five different games. Bjorkstrand has six goals and 16 assists to his nameand has notched a point in 18 games.

On the other side of the ice, Pittsburgh is 17-18 straight up (SU) and has lost 7.0 units for moneyline bettors this year. 19 of its games have gone over the total, while 14 have gone under and just two have pushed. The team is 10-6 SU at home this season.

The Penguins have converted on 24.2 percent of their power play chances this year, a mark that places it in the top-5 among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 18th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 80.8 percent of all penalties.

Penguins players have been penalized 4.4 times per game in total this season, and 2.8 per game over their last five games. The team has been forced to defend opponent power plays just 7.3 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Matt Murray has denied 26.3 shots per game as the top netminder in goal for the Penguins. Murray has 13 wins, 11 losses, and one OT loss to his credit and has recorded a subpar .907 save percentage and 2.88 goals against average this season.

The Pens will be led on offense by Phil Kessel (15 goals, 23 assists).

Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins Free Picks

Predictions: SU Winner – Penguins, O/U – Over

Betting Notes

  • The over has hit in three of Columbus’ last five games.
  • Two clubs that take a heavy amount of shots on goal, Columbus has taken the leagues sixth-most shots on goal (34.3) and Pittsburgh has attempted the second-most (34.9).
  • Over Pittsburgh’s last ten outings, four of them have been decided by two or more goals (the team is 3-1 in those games).
  • The Pens this season have registered the 10th-most hits per game (23.0).