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Hurricanes vs. Lightning Odds & Pick: Betting Value on Game 4’s Over/Under (June 5)

Hurricanes vs. Lightning Odds & Pick: Betting Value on Game 4’s Over/Under (June 5) article feature image

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate.

  • Carolina and Tampa run it back again in Tampa on Saturday afternoon for Game 4 of their second-round playoff series.
  • The Hurricanes picked up their first win of the series on Thursday in overtime thanks to a stellar performance by Petr Mrazek in net.
  • Matt Russell explains below why he thinks the Bolts will have more success scoring in Game 4.

Hurricanes vs. Lightning Game 4 Odds

Hurricanes Odds +146
Lightning Odds -175
Over/Under 5.5 (+116 / -141)
Time Saturday, 4 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via DraftKings.

I hope I’m wrong. In this business of trying to be right more than you’re not, wanting to be wrong is more than a little unusual. However, I think the Tampa Bay Lightning will probably win Game 4 on Saturday, making them the first home team to hold serve in this series. 

I hope I’m wrong because I’m invested in the short-term success of the Carolina Hurricanes, based on the core belief that this is a matchup of two incredibly evenly-matched teams. Nothing has changed that belief through three games in this series, because as we see below … well … they’ve been evenly matched.

Expected Goals 5v5
High-Danger Chances 5v5
High-Danger Goals 5v5
Expected Goals PP
Power Play Goals
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Hurricanes’ Depth Took Hit With Win

The Hurricanes got back into the series with an overtime win on Thursday, but it came at a cost, losing their third forward to injury in three games. Now down Nino Niederieter, Vincent Trocheck and Warren Foegele, the Hurricanes’ depth is being tested against a team you need to be at near full-strength against, both literally and figuratively.

The Hurricanes could have had a more comfortable win to avoid going down 0-3, but the lethal Lightning power play converted both their opportunities in regulation time proper. Had they gone a perfect 3-for-3 by scoring a late power play goal off a Canes penalty that bled into overtime, then Carolina never would have answered with their game-winner on the man-advantage. 

At the very least, the Hurricanes win bought them some time. Whether bettors like me are hoping for a Game 7 to cash a few derivative series tickets, or the Storm Surge fans out there that just want to see a series deciding game in their friendly confines, Carolina’s win means they can lose Game 4, and return home for Game Five with hopes not dashed. 

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Lightning Continue To Create Chances

Not that they’ll be trying any less hard, but the bad news for the Canes coming out of Game 3 was that the Lightning played their best game of the series. After Andrei Vasilevskiy thievery in Games 1 and 2 put the writing on the wall for Carolina, Tampa’s skaters showed up on Thursday and did everything but score at even-strength, racking up 15 High-Danger Chances while 5-on-5 to go with their near perfect night on the man-advantage.

The Bolts went conversion-less on those chances, as many as they had in the first two games combined, due in part to the stellar first appearance this postseason from Petr Mrazek who stopped 35 of 37 shots.

This looks awfully familiar to what we saw in the first round, when Tampa did just enough to take two on the road in Florida, even though the Panthers were creating more at even-strength through the first half of that series. The defending champs eventually tasted blood in Game 4, bearing down for six goals against shoddy Florida goaltending. While the Hurricanes goaltending is much more solid regardless of whether it’s Mrazek or Alex Nedeljkovic (who played just fine in the first two games), a Tampa team creating double-digit High-Danger Chances is a problem.

Hurricanes vs. Lightning Best Bet

When we talk about predictive metrics, we try to refrain from being results-oriented. In this case, that means looking at this series and seeing three games that have gone under the total of 5.5 goals. Add that to the six of eight games that went under the total in the regular season, and you can see why you’re paying extra for the under in this one. 

Here’s the case not to do that. In those eight games, the two teams averaged 18.4 High-Danger Chances above the league-average of just over 16 per game. So while the 25 they combined for seems like a lot, and it is, it’s not a number completely uncommon for this matchup.

Their first two matchups of the season had 27 HDC in each. The difference between the regular season and now? For one, the Lightning didn’t have registered lethal weapon Nikita Kucherov weaving around like Jaws out there. Two, Teuvo Teravainen missed every single one of those matchups as well. Third, partly related to Kucherov’s presence, is the Lightning’s power play is an absolute menace right now. 

While Mrazek was great, I’d be surprised if the Lightning didn’t come out with a renewed, sustained aggression early in Game 4, and I’d expect them to get an early lead. If that’s the case, Carolina will have to loosen things up. Given the high-event type of game that came in a Game 3 that was scoreless through well over a period, you can imagine a similar number of chances could come in a game that has one team needing to open things up. With a lethal power play and a killer instinct, I think the Lightning get to at least three goals before a possible empty-net scenario. 

With the Lightning moneyline priced as it was in Game 3 at -155, that’s just too high of a price for me, given my core concept of closeness for the series. However, with an attractive +120 price on the over, I’ll take my chances that we can see the same high number of chances, and more regression with the conversion rates. Something like 4-2 Lightning after an empty-netter seems like a somewhat probable outcome, but hopefully I’m wrong and the Hurricanes can surprise by outscoring the lethal Lightning. 

Pick: Over 5.5 Goals (+120 or better)

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