The Pittsburgh Penguins have been one of the best franchises in the NHL over the past few decades, winning five Stanley Cups since 1991 and rewarding bettors at PA sportsbooks frequently in the few years since sports wagering launched in the state.
However, the 2023-24 season has told a different tale. The Penguins had a streak of 16 consecutive postseason appearances snapped last seasons and, for a team with a lot of aging stars, a playoff drought could be on the horizon.
Where Penguins Stand So Far
The Penguins enter November in last place in the Metropolitan Division and the entire Eastern Conference with a 3-6-0 record, for just six points after nine games. Entering Wednesday, only three teams in the league – the Oilers, Flames and Sharks, all in the Western Conference – have fewer points.
Oddly, the goal differential is not that bad for Pittsburgh at minus-3 (26 goals scored, 29 goals against). Still, we at PennStakes.com, where you’ll find the best PA sports betting promotions, were left to wonder how often teams get out of such an early hole to make the playoffs.
The answer isn’t pretty for hockey fans in the Steel City.
Recent Trends Unkind To Pens
We researched the past seven seasons, using data from QuantHockey.com, to get a picture of what the Penguins' playoff chances are.
In that span, from the 2016-17 season to 2022-23, there were 23 teams starting with six points or fewer through their first nine games, which is the predicament the Penguins find themselves in. Of those teams, just three made the playoffs, meaning 20 of them missed out.
At DraftKings Pennsylvania Sportsbook, the Pens had odds of +120 to make the playoffs and -150 to miss out as of Wednesday afternoon. For those unfamiliar with American odds, that means a $150 bet on Pittsburgh to miss the postseason would net a $100 profit, plus your original $150 back. If you’re an optimist, you can bet $100 on the Penguins to make the playoffs and earn a $120 profit (plus your original stake) if you’re right. Our research indicates that their chances to make the playoffs are much worse.
Sorry, Penguins fans, but recent history says you should bet with your head and not your heart and hammer that “miss the playoffs” prop while the price is still decent.
You can explore Pennsylvania sports betting apps with us at PennStakes.com to discover more about all of the operators in the state, including our reviews.
More About Teams Starting Badly
Again, if you’re an optimist seeking reasons to believe in a turnaround, the 2019-20 season (the one with the schedule and playoff field affected by COVID-19 restrictions) is the only place to turn.
That year, the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks all made the playoffs after collecting six points or fewer through their first nine games. But Chicago only got in because 12 teams from each conference made the field that season. When the pandemic shut the season down for months, the NHL decided to end the regular season right there and start the playoffs with that expanded field.
As for this season, Caesars Pennsylvania Sportsbook gives the Penguins +3300 odds to win the Stanley Cup. That, as they say, would be the definition of betting with one’s heart right now.