Bruins vs. Lightning Game 5 Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (Monday, Aug. 31)
Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Victor Hedman
- Check out our NHL betting preview for Monday's Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 5 matchup between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning.
- Michael Leboff breaks down why he prefers Tampa Bay's side in a tight matchup due to the Lightning's versatility and modest price.
- Check out his full betting preview below, including odds, picks and predictions for this evening's game.
Game 5: Bruins vs. Lightning Odds
|Bruins Odds||+108 [BET NOW]|
|Lightning Odds||-127 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||5.5 (+102/-122) [BET NOW]|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
When Tuukka Rask opted out of the postseason and left the Bruins in the care of No. 2 goalie Jaroslav Halak I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Halak had better numbers during the regular season than Rask and, if anything, was a slight downgrade compared to the longtime Bruins’ starter.
What is a big deal, however, is that without Rask on the active roster the Bruins lack a dependable deputy. If Rask struggled, Halak was there. If Halak struggled, they could go right back to Tuukka. Right now, the Bruins have no choice but to ride with Halak and it hasn’t been pretty.
The 35-year-old netminder has a -4.17 Goals Save Above Expectations (GSAx) and a .900 save percentage through eight games. Halak has been particularly shaky lately, allowing seven goals on the last 42 shots he’s faced.
Goalies are incredibly volatile so there’s a chance Halak finds his game in time to give Boston a chance to claw back into this series, but it’s hard to be confident in the Slovakian’s form right now.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, on the other hand, has been superb for the Lightning so far and the players in front of him are doing their part to make his job as easy as possible. The Bolts are allowing 1.74 expected goals against per 60 minutes during the playoffs and just 1.36 xGA/60 through four games against the Bruins.
The Bruins are known as the NHL’s preeminent defensive team, but the Lightning are beating them at their own game right now.
|High-danger scoring chances||24||39|
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
xG numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.
As expected, the Tampa Bay Lightning have shortened a bit after winning three games on the spin and outscoring the Bruins, 10-2, in the process. The price is not all that off-putting, though.
The current odds for Game 5 imply that Tampa Bay wins this game 52.1% of the time.
|Boston Bruins||Tampa Bay Lightning|
Odds via DraftKings
If you look at the big picture, there’s still very little that separates these two teams, but I think that the Tampa Bay Lightning can beat the Boston Bruins in more ways than the Boston Bruins can beat the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Boston has relied on its power play and its stars for a good chunk of its offensive production in the playoffs while Tampa has gotten contributions from all over its roster. The Lightning can beat you with offense, defense or goaltending on any given night.
When the odds are this tight, I’ll go with the team with more paths to success. In this matchup, it’s the Lightning.
The Bet: Tampa Bay -120 or better