NHL Winter Classic Best Bets: Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins

January 2, 2023 09:05 AM
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The Boston Bruins will play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd in the 2023 NHL Winter Classic

Boston hosts Pittsburgh at Fenway Park in the 2023 NHL Winter Classic. Read on for odds, predictions and best bets for January 2nd, 2023.

NHL Winter Classic Best Bets: Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins Team Total Over 3.5 Goals (-110)

Notes:

I’m tracking all my plays on Betstamp: a third party bet tracking app. The bets reveal themselves after the games start. I keep my own personal records as well and they may differ slightly from Betstamp due to several factors, but for the most part, it should line up closely.

Wins: 50

Losses: 52

Units Won: -4.37 units

ROI: -9.2 percent

All game lines via DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM Sportsbook, but I will sometimes use the consensus odds from the VSiN NHL Odds page if it is a better price and widely available. All recommended bets will be accompanied by recommended stake size. All stats via Evolving Hockey and Natural Stat Trick.

Pittsburgh Penguins (+155) at Boston Bruins (-175)

Bet: Boston Bruins Team Total Over 3.5 Goals -110 Risk: 1.1 units To Win: 1 unit

I’ll probably never get tired of the NHL playing outdoor games. Sure, it’s a gimmick, but it only happens a few times a year and it’s fun. However, it isn’t a true home game, and because of that, Boston’s almost perfect home record doesn’t mean much here. The NHL has played 35 outdoor games over the last couple of decades and the home team is 16-19 all time. Some guess work had to be done here, but the Bruins home-ice-advantage isn't going to be as strong as it typically is.

Still, my model prices the game at -165 if Kris Letang out of the Penguins’ lineup, but it looks like he could play. Letang (and Josh Archibald) are with the team in Boston, but Chad Ruhwedel and Jeff Petry are not. The Penguins have allowed at least four goals in four straight games, and if that happens against the Bruins, it’ll be nearly impossible to overcome.

Boston is the best defensive team in the league, at least when Linus Ullmark is between the pipes, and only one team has scored more goals (per 60 minutes) than they have so far this season. They’ve been consistent, too. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has been hot and cold. They’re currently cold, having lost four out of their last five games, and their overall play has left a lot to be desired lately.  

The Penguins ranked 15th in expected goals percentage, and 26th in shot attempt percentage in December, but the biggest concern, by far, is the number of shots they’re giving up. Only four teams have allowed more shots (per 60 minutes) over the last month, and they’ve been relying on their goaltenders a lot more than they should.

It’s a big stage, and Boston is the NHL’s best team. They haven’t been lighting it up offensively lately, but at pick ‘em odds (or better) I’m willing to bet that the Bruins can put up at least four goals on the Penguins. Only four teams generated more shots than Boston in the month of December and they should dictate the pace of Monday's game.

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