Lightning vs. Predators NHL Odds & Pick: When to Bet Nashville Against Champs (Monday, Feb. 8)

Lightning vs. Predators NHL Odds & Pick: When to Bet Nashville Against Champs (Monday, Feb. 8) article feature image
Credit:

Brett Carlsen/Getty Images. Pictured: Juuse Saros.

  • The Lightning are undefeated at home but take to the road for a tough matchup against the Predators.
  • Tampa Bay has beaten up on the bottom of the NHL so far this season, and a trip to Nashville could provide a big test.
  • Matt Russell breaks down at which point he sees value on the hosts on Monday night.

Lightning vs. Predators Odds

Lightning Odds -155
Predators Odds +132
Over/Under 6
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV NHL.tv
Odds as of Sunday night and via DraftKings.

Fire the cannons on the pirate ship, as loud as thunder. The Bucs win the Super Bowl and Tampa Bay has to feel like the city of champions.

Did the fact that Super Bowl LV was in Raymond James Stadium assist in the Buccaneers beating the Chiefs? Was there a home-field advantage? We’ll never know.

That’s the thing about these undefinable, unmeasurable aspects of games — who’s to know what goes into wins and losses? The best we can do is estimate the effect of games’ locations. Especially, if the environment you’re familiar with, doesn’t feel as familiar as it usually does.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are hoping the record they’re building in the early season isn’t boosted by that indefinable home-ice advantage.

Tampa bay Lightning

The Lightning have taken advantage of the comforts of home this season, going 6-0 under their fresh Stanley Cup banner.

With arenas at various levels of “empty” so far this season, you’d think home-ice advantage wouldn’t be a factor. However, home teams are winning games at a higher rate than they did last year.

The Bolts shouldn’t apologize for winning games they’re supposed to win. This start has bumped the Bolts’ rating in my “Let’s Do This Hockey” model up a couple of points, but are they worth the increase from an already high preseason rating that had the Lightning rated as a team worth 1.27 points/game according to their point-total over/under?

Tampa’s success may have something to do with a relatively soft schedule to start the season, something it has no control over. A pair of showdown games to start the season with the Dallas Stars never happened, and the Lightning have yet to face their Florida counterparts.

So four of these home wins have come against the Blackhawks and Red Wings. It’s better than the alternative, but piling up points against the bottom of the division will create an inflated view of the team. Their other two home wins came against Nashville, but the underlying metrics weren’t as flattering. 

Nashville Predators

In the two meetings a week ago, at even strength, the Predators accumulated a better Expected Goal Share (XG%), at 57.4%, and created 14 High-Danger Chances to the Lightning’s 13.

Unfortunately for “Smashville”, in each game they gave up 4 goals in short-order. In the front-end of the back-to-back, they gave four in less than 14 minutes in the second period.

In the rematch, it was 4-0 after just seven and a half minutes in the second period. Tough to win games when you get flooded harder than a zamboni resurfacing the ice.

With Juuse Saros expected back between the pipes on Monday, the job of pulling the upset falls on his ample shoulder pads. However, a tough start to the season for the Predators starter was amplified on Thursday when he was pulled against the Panthers after giving up five goals. Saros has a -2.11 Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA). 

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Lightning vs. Predators Best Bet

Saros has had three days to think about that outing, and I expect him to play better at home. My even-strength-centric numbers make the true moneylines Lightning -124 and Predators +124, with the Bolts as deserved favorites on the road.

However, with the Lightning being listed at -155 and the Preds at +130, if we see the Predators moneyline tick up to +140, that would trigger a bet for me.

The locals in Central Florida will just have to take the Super Bowl championship as consolation. 

Pick:Predators (+140 or better)

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