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Best NHL Picks for Opening Night: Penguins vs Blackhawks & More

Brady Trettenero

by Brady Trettenero in NHL Hockey

Updated Oct 10, 2023 · 1:04 PM PDT

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby waits for the face-off
Oct 6, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) waits for the face-off during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
  • The 2023-24 NHL season begins on Tuesday, October 10th
  • Chicago’s Connor Bedard makes his NHL debut against the Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Read below for expert NHL picks for the opening night of the season

A new season of the NHL is upon us, and the opening night slate offers some great betting value. Among the matchups is a clash between the Blackhawks and Penguins, featuring the NHL debut of Calder Trophy favorite Connor Bedard.

We’ve made a play on the Penguins vs Blackhawks clash, plus are also targeting a game total in the battle between the Seattle Kraken and Vegas Golden Knights.

Let’s dive into the opening night NHL odds and offer our top picks for Tuesday’s action.

Tuesday NHL Odds – Opening Night

Game Time (ET) Team Puck Line Total Moneyline
Tuesday, Oct. 10 NSH Predators +1.5 (-170) O 6.5 (-102) +142
5:30 PM TB Lightning -1.5 (+142) U 6.5 (-118) -170
Game Time (ET) Team Puck Line Total Moneyline
Tuesday, Oct. 10 CHI Blackhawks +1.5 (-130) O 6.5 (-120) +190
8:00 PM PIT Penguins -1.5 (+110) U 6.5 (+100) -230
Game Time (ET) Team Puck Line Total Moneyline
Tuesday, Oct. 10 SEA Kraken +1.5 (-170) O 6.5 (+110) +142
10:30 PM VGK Golden Knights -1.5 (+142) U 6.5 (-130) -170

In the opening night NHL odds, the heaviest moneyline favorite is the Pittsburgh Penguins (-230) in their matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks. All three games feature a O/U total of 6.5.

 

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Lightning vs Predators Best Bet

The Tampa Bay Lightning will be without star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (injury) for their season opener against the Nashville Predators. The Bolts will be turning to Swedish netminder Jonas Johansson, who is 11-13-4 with a 3.35 GAA and an .886 SV% over his four-year career.

While Vasilevskiy’s absence seems to point towards some underdog value on Nashville, it’s worth noting that Johansson denied a combined 67 shots in shutouts over the Carolina Hurricanes (42 saves) and Florida Panthers in the preseason.

The Preds will still have the game’s best goalie in Juuse Saros, who narrowly mised out on a Vezina nomination last season. The Preds are a bit of an unknown to oddsmakers with the departures of Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene, plus the arrival of Ryan O’Reilly, making them worth a flier at +142 odds.

  • Pick: Nashville Predators ML (+142)

Penguins vs Blackhawks Prediction

Oddsmakers don’t expect Calder trophy favorite Connor Bedard to emerge victorious in his NHL debut against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’ve set Bedard’s Blackhawks as +190 road underdogs against Sidney Crosby’s Penguins in the NHL odds.

Chicago is an enticing road underdog with Bedard making his debut, but it’s hard to trust their starting goalie Petr Mrazek, who posted an ugly .894 SV% in 2022-23. The Pens, meanwhile, will be turning to Tristan Jarry, who owns a solid .914 career save percentage.

Pittsburgh is consistently one of the best home teams in the NHL, posting a 23-12-5 mark at PPG Paints Arena last year. Although the Pens actually lost to Chicago in the most recent last season, they outshot Chicago 40-27 and hadn’t yet acquired their new prized defenseman, Erik Karlsson.

  • Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins -1.5 (+110)

Knights vs Kraken Pick

The other pick we like for NHL Opening Night is the “under” in the Seattle Kraken vs Vegas Golden Knights clash. These recent NHL expansion teams tend to play low-scoring battles, with the under hitting in four of the past six meetings.

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During the 2022-23 campaign, both these teams finished in the top half of the league in defense, with VGK allowing 2.74 goals per game and SEA giving up 3.07 goals per content. The last game these two teams played at T-Mobile Arena resulted in a 4-1 Vegas victory.

The Knights return the top three defensive pairs and goaltender Adin Hill from their Cup-winning team, and we don’t expect Seattle to generate much scoring, especially considering they are 1-7 all-time vs VGK. On the flip side, Seattle goaltender Phillip Grubauer offers stability in the Kraken crease following his strong postseason performance.

  • Pick: Under 6.5 (-110)

 

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