Blue Jackets-Lightning Betting Preview: Can Bobrovsky Be the Difference?

Blue Jackets-Lightning Betting Preview: Can Bobrovsky Be the Difference? article feature image

Aaron Doster, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Sergei Bobrovsky, Seth Jones

Betting odds: Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Blue Jackets moneyline: +158
  • Lightning moneyline: -182
  • Over/Under: 6.5
  • Puck Drop: 7:30 p.m. ET

NHL record: 31-33, +9.32

>> All odds as of 8:30 p.m. on Monday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets

The Tampa Bay Lightning are atop the NHL table with a 32-8-2 record and +52 goal differential. The Bolts are special, so it’s no wonder that they are sizable favorites against a strong opponent on Tuesday night.

Even though their dynamic offense gets most of the love, it is Tampa’s defense that makes them such a juggernaut.

The Bolts rank among the top teams in the league in expected goals against per 60, high-danger chances against per 60 and expected save percentage.  This also doesn’t mention that Tampa has a terrific goalie and is about as well-coached as any team in the NHL.

Columbus isn’t in the same class as Tampa Bay, but the Blue Jackets are a deep team with one of the league’s best goaltenders.

While Sergei Bobrovsky stumbled out of the gates this season, he started to regain his form heading into the holiday break. The man they call Bob has posted a .930 save percentage at 5v5 (score/venue adjusted) over his last nine games for the Jackets.

While Bobrovsky is the key cog for Columbus, there is plenty of talent on the roster. The Jackets rank in the top 10 in expected goals for per 60, high-danger chances for per 60 and expected shooting percentage, so they should be able to generate enough scoring chances to hang with Tampa Bay in this one.

If they can do that, I’m confident relying on Bobrovsky to keep this game close. Even if he’s been inconsistent this season, the 30-year-old has been one of the premier netminders in the NHL over the past three years.

Getting a goalie like Bobrovsky at this price, no matter the opponent, is always worth exploring.

There is an element of risk betting the Jackets before John Tortorella confirms the starting goalie. Torts has a history of getting funky with goalies, but the Blue Jackets aren’t on a back-to-back so I see no reason that Tortorella will hand this start to his No. 2 goalie, Joonas Korpisalo.

At these odds, Columbus has an implied probability of ~37.5% when removing the vigorish. That underrates the Jackets in this matchup. I’d play them at +150 or better.

The Bet: Columbus Blue Jackets +158

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