Washington

Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins odds, picks and prediction

The Washington Capitals (6-3-3) open a two-game set against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins (6-5-1) Sunday at PPG Paints Arena. Puck drop will be at 3 p.m. ET. Below, we analyze the Capitals-Penguins NHL odds and lines, with picks and predictions.

The Capitals have been off since last Sunday after having one game against the Philadelphia Flyers and two against the Buffalo Sabres postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. The Caps dropped three in a row before their forced hiatus.

Pittsburgh is coming off a 4-3 shootout win over the New York Islanders Thursday after dropping Game 1 of that set by the same score but in regulation. The Pens won both ends of a two-gamer with the Caps last month, winning 4-3 in a shootout and 5-4 in overtime.

Capitals at Penguins: Odds, spread and lines

Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated at 11:02 a.m. ET.

  • Money line: Capitals +110 (bet $100 to win $110) | Penguins -130 (bet $130 to win $100)
  • Against the spread/ATS: Capitals +1.5 (-250) | Penguins -1.5 (+195)
  • Over/Under: 6.5 (O: -105 | U: -115)

Capitals at Penguins: Projected starting goalies

Vitek Vanecek (5-2-2, .903 SV%, 3.18 GAA) vs. Tristan Jarry (2-4-1, .857 SV%, 3.95 GAA)

Vanecek has received some much-needed rest after taking over for Ilya Samsonov, who had been on the NHL’s COVID-19 list. The rookie is expected to get another one or two starts before handing No. 1 duties back to Samsonov. He started three straight losses for the Caps and gave up 4 goals on just 14 shots against the Flyers last Sunday.

Jarry is trending in the wrong direction again after picking up a pair of wins over the New York Rangers. He allowed a total of 11 goals in his last three starts. He didn’t face the Capitals earlier this season.

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Capitals at Penguins: Odds, lines, predictions and picks

Prediction

Capitals 5, Penguins 3

Money line (ML)

Take the value with a well-rested and hungry CAPITALS (+110) team. The extended time off has allowed RW T.J. Oshie and C Evgeny Kuznetsov to rejoin the lineup with Samsonov’s return to the crease expected to be just a few days away.

Defense and goaltending remain issues for the Penguins, and they’re struggling to get consistent offensive contributions behind the top line of C Sidney Crosby, LW Jake Guentzel and RW Bryan Rust.

Kuznetsov’s return to the lineup is the biggest boon for the Caps and makes this roster much different than the one that dropped three-straight games.

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Against the spread (ATS)

PASS on the puck line with the Capitals’ money line being a safer and more profitable endeavor. We’ll need to see a few games from Washington’s healthy lineup before looking for multi-goal wins and we just can’t trust Pittsburgh’s goaltending to keep a 2-goal lead late in games.

The Capitals are just 25th in the NHL in 5-on-5 Corsi For percentage, while the Penguins are fifth, but Washington’s rate is dragged down by the recent three-game losing skid.

Over/Under (O/U)

Take the OVER 6.5 (-105) with Washington likely to look a little sloppy in the early going after an extended break and Jarry stuck in the middle of another poor stretch. Both teams are bottom five in goals allowed per game.

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