NHL Odds, Prediction, Preview for Lightning vs. Predators: How to Bet this Stadium Series Matchup (Feb. 26)

NHL Odds, Prediction, Preview for Lightning vs. Predators: How to Bet this Stadium Series Matchup (Feb. 26) article feature image

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images. Pictured: Steven Stamkos

  • The Predators host the Lightning in Nashville on Saturday night in the NHL's Stadium Series.
  • The Predators are home underdogs against the two-time defending champion Lightning.
  • Greg Liodice breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Lightning vs. Predators Odds

Lightning Odds-175
Predators Odds+145
Over/Under6.5 (+100 / -120)
Time7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

The Nashville Predators will host the Tampa Bay Lightning in front of nearly 70,000 people at Nissan Stadium tonight. For the NHL’s annual Stadium Series, the two-time defending champion Lightning come in as the road favorites at -175 while the home darling Predators come in as the underdogs at +150.

Tampa is currently riding high while on a  three-game winning streak. The Bolts are also 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and three points out of first place in the Atlantic Division.

While the Predators have won two in a row, it certainly was not easy before. Prior to that, they went 2-4-1, including a four-game losing streak. Nashville is fighting in a stacked Central Division but currently holds the first Wild Card position.

Lightning Playing Elite Hockey

It’s not out of the question to wonder if the Lightning can make it a three-peat this year. They’ve been dominant for years and have continued to run roughshod across the league. Tampa is currently seventh in goals per game, and has gotten tremendous contributions from captain Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Alex Killorn, and Brayden Point. 

With such elite talent comes an elite ability to drive play. The Lightning are ranked seventh with an Expected Goals per 60 of 2.85 and fifth in creating High Danger Chances. What’s surprising is that they’re not as effective on the power play. For a team that had a historical power play last year in the playoffs, they score at just a 19.2% clip this season. 

It’s rare to find a team that’s so solid on both ends of the ice. Tampa ranks fifth in Goals Against per 60 with 2.16 and fifth in High Danger Chances Against. The penalty kill has been exceptional too, with a 81.6% Success Rate.

You’d be hard pressed to find a better goalie in the league than Andrei Vasilevskiy. For such a high profile night, barring an injury, coach Jon Cooper will start the former Vezina winner. Vasilevskiy is posting quality numbers with a .921 SV% and a fourth best +18.3 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected).

Saros Leads the Predators

Many believed this season would be a lost cause for the Predators, but it’s been the complete opposite. They’ve gotten production from guys like Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen who have previously underperformed their large contracts.

Captain Roman Josi is having a Norris-type of season, Filip Forsberg is always a consistent performer, and Tanner Jeannot has been a diamond in the rough for GM David Poile. Getting production from all hands on deck has driven the Predators up the ranks as they hope to make a playoff push. 

Historically, Nashville has prided itself on defense and goaltending – including this year. However, the Predators have been a decent team at driving play, as they rank 14th in Expected Goals per 60 with 2.52 but don’t generate many High Danger Chances.

They do put the puck in the net more often as they’re 14th in goals per game at 3.06. The power play has also been a significant bright spot, as they score 24% of the time. That's not too bad for a defense-first team.

With a strong structure in place, Nashville has done a wonderful job of preventing the opposition from generating offense. They’re currently ninth in Goals Against per 60 at 2.22 and are third in High Danger Chances Allowed. Oddly enough on the penalty kill, they’re pretty average with only a 79.6% Success Rate.

Juuse Saros has been incredible this season, and he could be a dark horse nominee for the Vezina Trophy. Similar to his counterpart, I would expect Saros to get the start since it’s such a marquee matchup. The Finnish net-minder is posting a solid .924 SV% and a sixth best +17.2 GSAx.

Lightning-Predators Pick

This should be a close and low-scoring game. It’s hard to bet against Tampa in any facet, but with the special circumstances, this game could potentially end up sloppy. 

An outdoor game in Nashville will be very fun to watch, but I’m weary of the quality of play. I can’t imagine the ice will be easy to stick handle through, and to top it off, it’ll feature two of the better goalies in the game. I think there’s a lot of value in betting the under in this game.

Pick: Under 6.5 (-120)

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