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For opening night, NHL Expert Matt O'Leary gives his three best bets for the Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning and Seattle Kraken vs Vegas Golden Knights.

Top NHL Bets For Opening Night

Hockey is back! After two COVID shortened seasons, the NHL is returning to as close to normal in 2021 as it can and there are some exciting new features to the game. First of all, ESPN now has the broadcast rights to games.

If you got into the game in the early 2000s like me, the ESPN hockey theme song is enough to get the nostalgia juices flowing. Also, there’s a 32nd team now in Seattle and they play their first game tonight.

Today, we’re going to go through three of my favorite bets for opening night tonight.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning Over 6 (+112)

In the first game, we get the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Last year, the Penguins finished in first place going 37-16-3 but were bounced in the first round of the playoffs.

Pittsburgh’s biggest issue is their play in net. Neither Tristan Jarry nor Casey DeSmith were particularly good for the Pens last year as Jarry finished with a .909 save percentage and DeSmith with a .912.

Going up against this potent Tampa Bay offense out of the gate is going to be extremely tough. The total has gone over in 10 of the Penguins' last 12 games in Tampa Bay and in four of their last five road games total.

Pittsburgh Penguins+1.5 -(125)+210O 6 (+112)
Tampa Bay Lightning-1.5 (+120)-235U 6 (-115)

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning Odds

Seattle Kraken vs Vegas Golden Knights Under 5.5 (-130)

In this game, we get to see the two newest NHL teams square off. Vegas had unbelievable success in their first season in the league in 2017-2018, will the Kraken be able to repeat what Vegas did four years ago?

The Kraken don’t exactly project to have a potent offense this year but in net they should be extremely solid. Last year, Philipp Grubauer finished third in Vezina voting and had a .922 save percentage and a 1.95 goals against average with Colorado.

For Vegas, they have Robin Lehner going who is one of the best goalies in the league over the last three years. He finished with a .913 save percentage and a 2.29 goals against average last year and is in year one as the full time starter with Marc-Andre Fleury now in Chicago. Expect a low-scoring game in this one with not much offense to show for it.

Seattle Kraken+1.5 (-114)+220O 5.5 (+112)
Vegas Golden Knights-1.5 (+105)-250U 5.5 (-130)

Seattle Kraken vs Vegas Golden Knights Odds

Moneyline Parlay: Lightning and Golden Knights (-106)

Starting with Tampa Bay hare, they should find themselves with a win tonight against the Penguins. The Lightning are 5-0 straight up in their last five home games and last season, they were an impressive 21-7 at home. Plus, the Penguins are starting the year without Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby who are their two best players.

Vegas is another one of those teams who is just unbelievable at home. They were 21-5-2 last year on home ice. Against the spread they weren’t nearly as good, going just 12-16 but we don’t have to worry about a cover in a moneyline parlay.

92 percent of the cash is on both Vegas and Tampa Bay tonight. Don’t overthink it or try to get cute going with the puck line. Take the -106 odds and in this parlay and call it a day.

NHL Picks

Penguins vs Lightning OVER 6 goals +112

Kraken vs Golden Knights UNDER 5.5 goals -130

Lightning and Golden Knights ML parlay -106

Article Author


OddsChecker sports writer Matt O'Leary brings experience sports betting advice to the OC staff. You may recognize Matt from his popular New York Jets youtube channel, but his vast knowledge of sports and betting goes well past the boundaries of New York.


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