New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 5 Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (Tuesday, Sept. 15)


Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: J-G Pageau and Barclay Goodrow.

Sep 15, 2020, 06:00 PM EDT
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning have kept New York off its game all series long. Now entering Game 5, the Tampa moneyline is flirting with -180.
  • But despite what we've seen on-ice this series, Michael Leboff cautions backing the Lightning having to lay wood like that.
  • At their best, the Islanders are the kings of turning a lopsided affair into a coin flip. Read on for Leboff's full betting breakdown, including odds and his pick for Game 5.

Lightning vs. Islanders Odds

Looking for Game 6? Click here.

Islanders Odds +150 [BET NOW]
Lightning Odds -177 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 5.5 (+116/-141) [BET NOW]
Time Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET

Odds updated as of Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET and 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.

The New York Islanders like to manage games. Like a middle-of-the-road quarterback, the Isles try to play a style of hockey that is effective, if not enchanting. If the Islanders keep the game on script, they can beat any team in the NHL. New York is detail-oriented, vicious on the counter-attack and responsible defensively — all of which are ingredients for a team to succeed in tight games.

The Islanders have not been able to keep games with the Tampa Bay Lightning within reach and have paid for it to the tune of a 3-1 deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Islanders are 15-1 longshots to come back in this series.

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5-on-5 Stat Lightning Islanders
Goals per 60 3.65 1.95
Goals Against per 60 1.95 3.65
Expected Goals per 60 3.06 2.43
Expected Goals Against per 60 2.43 3.06

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.

The Islanders want to keep the game predictable, and the best way to do that is to limit scoring chances by muddying up the neutral zone, preventing odd-man rushes and keeping teams to the outside when they gain the zone.

That is a very lofty goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Islanders have simply not been up to the task in this series. It’s not really that the Isles have played poorly, but they haven’t played their preferred style of hockey since they’ve been chasing the Lightning up and down the ice all game.

The Islanders were one of the best defensive teams over the past two seasons, and they were lights out through the first five weeks in The Bubble. But, they’re struggling to quiet the Lightning’s offense, which is generating 3.06 expected goals at 5-on-5 in this series. It’s not surprising to see Tampa post those kind of numbers, but it is jarring to see the Bolts do it against the Isles.

It’s not like the Islanders haven’t had their chances, either. New York is producing 2.43 xG per 60, which is pretty impressive against one of the league’s best defenses. The only problem is that the Islanders do not have the finishing talent that Tampa boasts.

The Lightning are glitzy enough to win high-event contests with regularity: They don’t mind trading chances. But that type of game flow does not suit the Islanders at all.

Odds Lightning Islanders
Game 1 -165 +140
Game 2 -167 +144
Game 3 -143 +123
Game 4 -162 +138
Game 5 -175 +148

After sitting out Game 3, Brayden Point returned to Jon Cooper’s lineup card on Sunday afternoon and was up to his usual tricks. Point, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat combined on two of Tampa’s three non-empty-net goals and were all over 56% expected goals in the game.

Game 3 was the only game where the Islanders closed under +138 for this series. With Point back in the fold, Casey Cizikas out for the postseason and the Isles struggling, it isn’t surprising to see Game 5 priced the way it is. I wouldn’t be shocked if Tampa closes at -180 or higher at some sportsbooks.

Game 5 Betting Analysis

A good first step when breaking down a hockey game is to convert the odds to implied win probability. The listed odds imply that Tampa wins this game 63.7% of the time when you include the vig. Even though the Bolts are on a roll and have been better than the Islanders in this series, it’s hard to lay this kind of wood against a team that excels at turning games into coin flips.

Don’t forget that just a week ago there were plenty of people talking about the Islanders giving the Lightning a run for their money. That hasn’t come to fruition, but it’s led to a good buy-low opportunity on Barry Trotz’s team.

It takes some some courage to bet the Isles in this situation, but what’s gambling without a little bit of self-loathing?

The Bet: New York Islanders +145 or better

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

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