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NHL Odds & Pick for Lightning vs. Hurricanes: Reigning Champs Have Betting Value (Monday, Feb. 22)

NHL Odds & Pick for Lightning vs. Hurricanes: Reigning Champs Have Betting Value (Monday, Feb. 22) article feature image

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Andrei Vasilevskiy.

  • After taking the loss over the weekend, the Lightning look for revenge in a rematch with the Hurricanes.
  • Tampa Bay endured a long week of travel and little game action before the matchup, and some rest between games in Carolina could do the Bolts a lot of good.
  • Matt Russell lays out how he's backing the reigning Stanley Cup champions on Monday night.

Lightning vs. Hurricanes Odds

Lightning Odds -122
Hurricanes Odds +106
Over/Under 6
Time 7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday night and via DraftKings.

Bet regret. If it’s not a daily occurrence in your betting life, you’re probably not doing it right. I try not to be overcommitted to what the numbers spit out in my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model from “THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast,” because I believe there has to be a qualitative element to handicapping in all sports, even if I allow the quantitative element to guide my way. 

So I was frustrated with myself on Saturday night when, despite showing a ton of value on the Carolina Hurricanes, I passed on betting them against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The reason was that the Canes were using their third-string goaltender as they patiently await the return of their number one, Petr Mrazek. Backup James Reimer had played the night before in a win over Chicago. 

Now, about the rematch…

Carolina Hurricanes

Admittedly, Alex Nedeljkovic had given up 10 goals in three starts before getting the call against the defending Stanley Cup champions, so we probably shouldn’t go all “Opus Dei” on ourselves in missing out on a +135 winner.

I don’t want to call the young man’s shutout a fluke, but Nedeljkovic came into the game with a -1.71 Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA), and the Lightning peppered the 25-year old while creating 15 High-Danger Chances (HDC) at even strength.

Let’s call the performance “unsustainable.” Whether he’ll be called on to sustain it is unknown since the Hurricanes may turn back to the veteran Reimer. 

At the other end of the ice, the Hurricanes converted three of their 12 HDC while 5-on-5, which is a conversion rate of 25%. That’s quite a bit better than the already high 16% conversion rate they’ve had throughout this season.

Not that this is uncharacteristic of a Hurricanes team that I thought very highly of before the season, rating them even higher than the market’s preseason rating of 1.16 points per game. Going into Saturday’s game, the Canes were priced as a 1.07 points per game team, so they were underpriced in that one, leading my numbers to spit out all kinds of value on Carolina. 

Tampa Bay Lightning

After losing two of three to their in-state rivals, the Panthers, the Lightning had a pair of games in Dallas postponed due to weather, but they still had to do the travel anyway, which had to have been annoying at the very least. Inactivity and uncertainty, and then being asked to win on the road against a good team as a considerable favourite? Not a spot where you should have been dying to bet on Tampa.

Sure enough, while the offense was able to create their second-most HDC of the season, they struggled defensively and star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy may have been out of rhythm in giving up three goals on 27 shots.

Given the unscheduled break, the Lightning’s No. 1 netminder hadn’t seen in-game action in a full week. 

Along with the Stanley Cup came a ton of credit in the betting market for the Lightning this season. They were established as a 1.23 points per game-level team in the season-points market, and the prices on Tampa got relatively higher and higher as it won nine of the first 11 games. That rise culminated in Saturday’s game, where their -150 moneyline in Carolina suggested that Tampa is a 1.37-points-per-game team.

That’s more than a bit much.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

After the Canes’ 4-0 win on Saturday, the line looks to be more sensical here in the rematch. Tampa’s dipped to a -125 favorite, which implies a win probability of 55.6% for the Bolts, while my model makes the Lightning a tiny favourite of 51%. The first time these two teams played, it was a 1-0 Canes win in overtime, so there’s not much to choose from between these two teams. 

Having lost three of their last four games and finally getting settled after a whirlwind week, I think we see the best effort from the Lightning and a positive result to go with it. Whether it’s a regression start from Nedeljkovic or more average play from Reimer, Tampa should have more luck around the net.

I’ll take my chances with a reduced price on the Bolts here at -125. 

Pick: Lightning (-125 or better)


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