Sports and gambling are like peanut butter and jelly these days. With one more week to go until training camp starts, today we look to investigate the season over/under in points for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Make playoffs: Yes (-205) or No (+235)
Points: 97.5 (over: -125, under -105)
Consider Vegas as being fairly bullish on the Pens this year after their off-season of sweeping changes. After finishing with 91 points last season, the Penguins’ common betting line is up significantly from that level. You won’t win a lot of money betting on Pittsburgh to return to the playoffs either, with the line heavily slanted towards favoring that.
This time around, 97.5 is pretty fair. It’s a number that almost certainly means playoffs, but isn’t an overwhelming season. Given all the stumbles and bumbles and close calls from last year, it would be pretty easy to imagine a few breaks or with a little better play or goaltending that a handful of those losses could change to wins for the Pens.
Then again, at this time of year, just about everyone is bullish and hoping for the best. Prior to the start of last season, Pittsburgh’s line was at 101.5 points - and 59% of PensBurgh readers liked the over. I could only imagine if the line had the ability to see the future and was more accurate like 91.5 or 92.5 points that almost 100% would have taken the over and Vegas would have made even more money (unless some savvy observers interpreted the lower-than-expected number as a signal that something was about to go drastically wrong and steer against the prevailing wisdom).
All that to say, sometimes teams over-perform, sometimes the year doesn’t go as well as expected. The latter category was the end result last year, and just because the number is 97.5 this year, it doesn’t have to mean the Pens’ end result is necessarily going to be a few points plus or minus that range.
Vegas, by the way, likes Carolina, New Jersey, NY Rangers and the Pens as future 2024 playoff teams as far as the Metropolitan Division goes. The lines are a little longer for NY Islanders (+100) and Washington (+235) with Columbus and Philadelphia way back in long-shot territory.
The Metropoltian division winner odds is a good way of splitting out the expected levels of difference in the teams too:
Tier 1: Carolina (+180), New Jersey (+220)
Tier 2: NY Rangers (+380)
Tier 2A: Pittsburgh (+650)
Tier 3: NY Islanders (+1500), Washington (+2500)
Poop deck: Philadelphia (+13,000), Columbus (+18,000)
If anything, I’m surprised the implied probabilities of either CAR or NJD winning are only about 67%. It wouldn’t be a huge return, but one could make money hedging on both (assuming one of the two actually did). Anyways, that strategy aside, it’s an interesting split from the oddsmakers to show how far away some of those teams are.
The Pens might not have the regular season division championship in their sights, considering the level of competition, but would probably take the forecast being made of a pretty comfortable spot to end up back in the post-season. But what say you?
If you were going to bet on the Penguins’ season over/under number:
Up and over 98+
97 or less :(