Kirk Irwin/Getty Images
April 18, 2017
The Pittsburgh Penguins can become the first NHL team to move on to the second round of the playoffs as they go for a sweep of the Columbus Blue Jackets in a pick’em matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark on Tuesday night.
The Stanley Cup champion Penguins have leaned on goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to take a commanding 3-0 series lead and hope he can turn in another solid effort to advance.
Betting line: The Blue Jackets opened as -120 favorites; the total is at 5.5 goals, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NHL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 3.9-1.6, Penguins (NHL picks on every game)
Why the Penguins can pay on the NHL lines
Fleury’s play has been one of the early stories of the postseason as he has filled in for ailing goalie Matt Murray, who has missed the last five games with a lower-body injury.
Fleury allowed just one goal in each of the first two games before getting shelled early in Game 3, but he rebounded nicely to earn the victory in a 5-4 overtime decision.
Pittsburgh also saw rookie forward Jake Guentzel lead the way offensively with a hat trick, including the game-winning goal in OT. The fact that the Pens were still able to win despite falling 3-1 behind in the first period is scary for any of their opponents.
Why the Blue Jackets can pay on the NHL lines
The Blue Jackets have been a major disappointment so far in the playoffs, especially goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who has been outplayed by Fleury through the first three games.
Bobrovsky is expected to win the Vezina Trophy awarded to the league’s best netminder for the second time in his career, but he has yet to perform like he deserves it in this series. Of course, that can change with a shutout or a similar stellar effort in Game 4, and Columbus will be counting on him to return to his previous form here.
Smart betting pick
Pittsburgh has won seven of the past nine meetings with the Blue Jackets and has played like a defending Cup winner in this matchup.
Columbus was one of the early-season surprises in winning a franchise-record 16 straight games at the end of 2016 but has played like a .500 team since then. Bettors can expect the Pens to go for the kill and close out the Blue Jackets in Game 4 and pay out on the Vegas odds.
NHL betting trends
Pittsburgh is 7-2 in its last nine games.
Columbus is 1-9 in its last 10 games.
The total has gone over in four of Pittsburgh’s last five games on the road.
All NHL lines and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.