Monday NHL Odds, Picks & Predictions: Lightning vs. Blue Jackets Game 4 (Aug. 17)

Credit:

Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Victor Hedman

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning are favored over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Monday NHL playoff action.
  • This series has been neck and neck through three games, and Columbus will look to get level as a sizable underdog.
  • Michael Leboff has a price in mind to bet the Jackets and is hoping it gets there before puck drop.

Game 3: Lightning vs. Blue Jackets Odds

Lightning Odds -175 [BET NOW]
Blue Jackets Odds +146 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 5 (-115/-106) [BET NOW]
Time Monday, 3 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN

Odds as of Sunday night 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.


It’s tempting to count the Columbus Blue Jackets out of this series. The Lightning have absolutely walloped the Jackets at 5-on-5, and Joonas Korpisalo finally looked human at times during Game 3.

Still, the Jackets have yet to be blown out on the scoreboard in this series. Columbus has limited Tampa Bay to just seven goals in 13-plus periods of hockey. The Blue Jackets are built to weather storms, and they’ve done an admirable job of hanging in this series despite getting shelled.

The Lightning have attempted 127 more shots, created 26 more high-danger scoring chances and generated 5.13 more expected goals at 5-on-5 through the first three games.

Those numbers are a bit funky because of the five-overtime game, but they tell you that this series should not be this close. It’s a testament to the Blue Jackets that they are not on the verge of being unceremoniously swept on Monday.

5-on-5 stat Columbus Blue Jackets Tampa Bay Lightning
Goals 5 7
Expected Goals 4.74 9.87
Shot Attempts 162 289
High-Danger Scoring Chances 18 44

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.


Shrinking the gap at 5-on-5 would obviously be a huge boost for the Blue Jackets, but that’s not likely to happen. You should expect more of the same on Monday with the Lightning controlling the play and the Blue Jackets hoping they can hold on long enough to turn this into a next-goal-wins type of game. That’s not an easy task against Tampa Bay, but Columbus has shown it can gum up the game with the best of them under John Tortorella.

The Jackets will let the Lightning fire away, but Columbus won’t let Tampa Bay get into the danger areas without a fight.

Columbus’ defensive acumen always makes them an intriguing bet at high odds, no matter the opponent. Good defensive teams that can turn games against better teams into coin flips will always have value because of hockey’s natural variance.

When you bet an NHL underdog at these kind of odds, you’re really just asking them to hang around. There are very few teams that do that better than Tortorella’s Blue Jackets.

Tampa Bay Lightning Columbus Blue Jackets
Game 1 -165 +143
Game 2 -180 +150
Game 3 -177 +150
Game 4 -175 +146

Odds via DraftKings

Winning three of the next four games may be too much to ask of Columbus, but the Jackets can still give the Lightning enough of a fit in a one-game sample to provide some value at tempting prices.

The listed odds give Columbus a 38.9% chance of winning Game 4. That’s probably a little low considering the Jackets’ defensive doggedness and Korpisalo’s form, but I’m going to wait to see if this price takes off before puck drop.

At the time of writing the Jackets are as low as +135 (bet365) but as high as +155 (FanDuel), so the market has yet to really settle. When it does, I’m expecting/hoping the price will move toward the Lightning and bigger numbers begin to pop on the Jackets.

I’ll take a shot on Columbus at +155 or better. PointsBet has the best price as of Monday morning, but is still only at +145.

[Bet now at PointsBet and get $250 FREE.]

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