Thursday NHL Betting Odds, Picks and Predictions: Blue Jackets vs. Lightning Game 2 Preview (August 13)

Credit:

Elsa/Getty Images. Pictured: Brayden Point with Lightning teammates.

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning as a -180 or higher favorite over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Thursday afternoon NHL action.
  • These two teams went to five overtimes on Tuesday, with Tampa ultimately escaping with the win thanks to Brayden Point's goal.
  • See how Michael Leboff is betting Lightning vs. Blue Jackets below.

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Odds

Blue Jackets Odds +160 [BET NOW]
Lightning Odds -186 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 5.5 (+120/-143) [BET NOW]
Time 3 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN

Odds via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


There are rare moments in gambling where you lose sight of your bet. You get wrapped up in the magic of sport. What is unfolding in front of you is so enthralling that the money you’re either going to win or lose becomes a subplot to the drama.

Then you get your heart broken by a top-shelf wrist shot.

My hope is that Tuesday’s game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning introduced a new audience to the highs and lows of betting on the NHL. That game was unfathomable, and for six hours everybody with action on it was riding a roller coaster, unsure when we’d be let off.

Tampa Bay Lightning

It’s best not to get too caught up in a one-game sample (even if it was eight periods long), but it’s worth noting just how good the Lightning were on Tuesday. The Bolts won the expected goals battle 7.03 to 3 at 5-on-5 and 8.3 to 4 in all situations. In other words, Columbus held on for dear life, and the fact that the Jackets were in the game for eight periods was an accomplishment in itself.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets

Of course moral victories mean zilch, but Blue Jacket bettors can at least find some silver lining in getting a +155 underdog to overtime(s). I wouldn’t expect Columbus to hang tough in that type of game again, though. The Jackets will need to be better at 5-on-5 if they have a hope of making this a series. You just aren’t going to win many games if you’re getting doubled up in the xG department.

I guess the other side of the coin is that you aren’t going to lose many games when your goalie is as good as Joonas Korpisalo was on Tuesday.

Korpisalo was basically worth five goals to the Jackets when you compare their expected goals against to the three real goals they allowed. An 85-save performance was not enough to get his team the win. Imagine how his heart must have felt after that.

Any goaltending performance like that is noteworthy, but I would have never pegged Korpisalo for being the breakout star of these playoffs. The 26-year-old had a -8.94 Goals Saved Above Expectation in 2019-20 and has a -27 GSAx over his past three seasons.

In other words, Korpisalo rates out as a below-average goalie, and it would not be surprising if his play plummets going forward. Goaltending remains very hard to project.

Betting Analysis

I’m expecting the odds for Game 2 to move towards the Lightning the closer we get to puck drop. Narratives aren’t useful to bet on, but understanding how they can shift a market can be helpful. You can be pretty confident that most bettors will gravitate towards Tampa for Thursday, citing that it will be tough for the Jackets to bounce back after such a demoralizing loss.

The odds for Game 1 in this series closed at -165/+143 (DraftKings) in favor of Tampa. I get that the Jackets have played a ton of hockey over the past few days, and the early start time does them no favors, but the market adjustment from Game 1 to Game 2 is a bit overstated.

I always tend to find value on the Jackets in this odds range because of their ability to turn games into coin flips with great defense, but I also acknowledge that the Lightning are the likely winners of this game.

It’s Blue Jackets or nothing for me here, but I’m hoping this line continues to climb.

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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