Tuesday NHL Betting Picks: How We’re Betting Golden Knights vs. Canucks, Bruins vs. Lightning (August 25)
Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jay Beagle (83) and Nick Cousins (21).
- Looking to bet on Tuesday's NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs action?
- Our staff breaks down their favorite bets for Bruins vs. Lightning and Canucks vs. Golden Knights.
- Read on for odds, picks, and comprehensive analysis prior to puck drop.
A few days ago, everybody was talking up the Colorado Avalanche as a Stanley Cup favorite. Now, the Avs are down 2-0 to the Dallas Stars in a series that everybody thought was a foregone conclusion.
That’s how quickly things can change in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Should we prepare for more chaos on Tuesday night? Our NHL writers share their favorite bets for Bruins vs. Lightning and Canucks vs. Golden Knights:
Check out our free NHL odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.
Sam Hitchcock: Bruins vs. Lightning Total Goals Under 5.5 (-132)
- Puck Drop: 7 p.m. ET
Game 1 between the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning was an outing that Nikita Kucherov would like to have zapped from his brain Men-In-Black-style. The Lightning’s former Hart Trophy candidate consistently found himself on the wrong end of plays despite his line putting up sterling advanced stats.
A failure by Kucherov to take a shot on Boston goaltender Jaroslav Halak led to a Bruins counterattack that resulted in Charlie Coyle’s first goal. Kucherov’s failed stick-check on Patrice Bergeron resulted in the puck ending up on Brad Marchand’s blade for the Bruins’ game-winner.
Kucherov missed a stretch pass from Ryan McDonagh that would have sprung him for a breakaway. And a turnover he created nearly led to a goal by the David Krejci line. Perhaps most strikingly, Kucherov couldn’t convert on the suite of offensive-zone faceoffs that Brayden Point won and passed back to him.
Kucherov’s misfortunes are emblematic of why under 5.5 total goals at -132 on DraftKings is so intriguing. With Steven Stamkos injured, the Lightning should have known entering the series that they would have trouble scoring against Boston. And with McDonagh now uncertain for Game 2 after suffering an injury on Sunday, the Lightning may be unable to stop Boston from scoring unless they take some drastic measures.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper should move the Kucherov line away from the Bergeron buzzsaw, because Kucherov’s defensive vulnerabilities will be much less obvious against a less potent trio. If the Anthony Cirelli or Yanni Gourde lines can hinder the Bergeron line, that could stymie Boston’s potentially rampant scoring in Game 2.
Undermanned and with depleted skill available, the Lightning need to muck up this game. They need to execute a strategy of territorial advantage and strength in numbers. Moreover, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy appeared in back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday, so the Lightning will want to make his workload as manageable as possible.
Even in Sunday’s game with its total of six power plays, these teams combined to score only five goals. I think the Lightning will try to drag the Bruins into the swamp, so under 5.5 goals looks like a good bet.
Pete Truszkowski: Lightning to Win the Series (+185)
- Puck Drop: 7 p.m. ET
These two teams are the cream of the crop in the NHL’s Eastern Conference by almost any standard. Both the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning can win a hockey game in many different ways. The two teams have proven their elite abilities to defend their own zones, they both know their way around the offensive zone, and both teams usually can rely on solid goaltending.
Boston was opportunistic in Game 1, winning the game despite the Lightning beating the Bruins in score-adjusted expected goals, 2.25 to 1.76.
To me, the biggest difference in this series will be goaltending. Jaroslav Halak is one of the better back-up goalies in the league, but Andrei Vasilevskiy is a perennial Vezina candidate. Not only do I feel like there’s an edge in terms of the talent here, but we also need to closely examine the series schedule and the goaltending situation.
Tuesday’s Game 2 marks the first-half of a back-to-back set. This is one of two back-to-backs in the series. When Tuukka Rask left the bubble, Dan Vladar became the Bruins backup goalie. Vladar has never played in an NHL game. Jaroslav Halak is 35-years old and hasn’t been a true No. 1 starter in this league since the 2014-15 season when he played for the New York Islanders.
Boston will be asking an aging goalie who has accepted a role as a backup to play a lot of hockey in a short period of time. Or, they will be turning over the crease to a neophyte.
Andrei Vasilevskiy is only 26-years old and is backed up by the very experienced and capable Curtis McElhinney. If Vasilevskiy plays, he will already be used to a starter’s workload, and his younger body can handle it. But if the backups get involved, you have to give the advantage to the Lightning.
There’s very little that separates these two teams; just look at the odds for Game 2. I originally picked Tampa Bay to win this series due to the schedule and goalie situation, and nothing from Game 1 changed my mind.
I like Tampa Bay to come back and win this series at +175 or better.
Michael Leboff: Canucks Moneyline (+195) vs. Golden Knights
- Puck Drop: 9:45 p.m. ET
This is a pure numbers play.
The Knights are likely to win Game 2, and the listed odds imply that Vegas beats Vancouver 67.3% of the time on Tuesday night. I think that’s too high, and the market has overreacted — as it often does — to a sparkling performance from Vegas two nights ago.
I thought Vancouver was in range for a bet at +170 on Sunday night, and perhaps I was a little too trigger-happy at that price. But, the Canucks are certainly worth a look for Game 2 at +180 or better (check our updated odds page to shop for the best number).
I would stop well short of calling this a fun bet. Even if the Canucks win, I expect them to get shelled all night. Frankly, it’ll be torture.
I understand that a lot of people would rather spend their nights reading a good book or taking in a documentary instead of watching the team they bet on get their doors blown off. But there’s no way I’m passing up this price and the opportunity to spend my Tuesday night feeling personally victimized by a mediocre-but-fun-to-watch hockey team.