Free Picks: New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Curtis Rush
NHL Free Picks – Best Bets of the Week
Rangers vs Penguins NHL Week 13
New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins,, NHL, Madison Square Garden

How do you even begin to predict what will happen now between the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins? No one could have seen that 8-4 victory for the Rangers on Tuesday. Are the Rangers that good? Are the Penguins this bad? The Rangers had only 25 shots on goal to 45 for the Penguins. The Penguins still dominate the season-series 5-2.

Can the Rangers explode again?

The best sports bet today is taking the Rangers with the Money Line and going with the Under on total goals on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. 

When I go about making my NHL picks, I look at recent results, and you can’t ignore the fact that the Penguins have given up 15 goals in two games. But that’s an aberration.

I expect they will tighten up defensively for this game. They are too good not to. Prior to that, they were a tight ship, allowing only seven goals in a five-game winning streak from March 24 to April 1.

The problem is in goal. Tristan Jarry suddenly isn’t what he used to be. On Tuesday, he allowed four goals on 11 shots before being replaced by Casey DeSmith to start the second period. DeSmith then gave up four goals on 14 shots.

When I make my NHL predictions, I look at recent results. It’s hard not to be impressed with the Rangers. Since the middle of March, they are playing just as well as the Penguins. 

But the Penguins haven’t missed a beat since losing Evgeni Malkin to injury a month ago. Without Malkin, the Penguins have a 6-3-1 record and they are ranked No. 3 in offense with 36 goals over that span. 

But this is an injury-riddled team. Kasperi Kapanen has been out for a while and now forward Brandon Tanev is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

In seven games between the Rangers and Penguins, only three times have the teams gone over six goals. The Penguins won the first three games of the series, but these two teams have split the last four games. 

I see a tighter game, and that’s why I like the Under (6) (-112) on 10Bet. I’m avoiding the puck line. With the Money Line, I’m taking the Rangers (-125), even though I think there’s a case to be made to take the underdog Penguins (+100) for a slightly bigger payout.

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  • The total has gone Under in four of Pittsburgh’s last six games on the road.
  • The total has gone Over in six of Pittsburgh’s last eight games when playing on the road against the Rangers.
  • The Rangers are 6-3 straight up in their last nine.
  • The Penguins are 5-2 SU in their last seven against the Rangers.

I live in the land of ice and snow in Toronto, Canada's largest city. I can't skate very well, but I know sports, especially hockey, after a long career writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs and other teams at the country's largest newspaper, the Toronto Star. Betting on sports can be a rewarding experience when you understand the trends and underlying characteristics of the teams and players before laying down a bet. That's how I hope to point you in the right direction.