Blue Jackets vs. Lightning Betting Odds, Picks: Expect Tampa Bay to Win Big
Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Hagel & Steven Stamkos (Lightning)
- The red-hot Lightning are finally rounding into postseason form as they take on the Jackets in this Tuesday evening NHL duel.
- The Lightning are coming off of an eight-goal performance at Florida over the weekend.
- Nick Martin dives into the showdown and offers up his best bet.
Blue Jackets vs. Lightning Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||+310|
|Over/Under||6.5 (-120 / +100)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The back-to-back defending champion Lightning may be rounding into playoff form, as it has bested some elite competition over the last three games with a combined goal differential of +15.
Tampa will look to avoid a letdown, as it hosts the lowly Blue Jackets, who have allowed the fifth-highest goals against rate in the league this season.
Can the Lightning manage another big offensive outburst here?
Jackets Dealing With Many Injuries
Columbus managed a strong effort on Sunday, besting the scorching hot Edmonton Oilers, 5-2, and building on the club’s solid 20-15-5 mark at home this season.
However, Columbus fared well to only allow two goals against in a game in which the high-powered Oilers generated 4.11 expected goals, a mark which certainly met the eye-test.
So, while it was a reasonable effort by Columbus, I will certainly not be reevaluating my stance on a group that has been a profitable fade during the back half of this season.
Columbus continues to allow a ton of goals against and has controlled play to just a 44.73 expected goals rate throughout April. It has also posted notably worse results on the road this season, playing to a 16-21-2 record.
Columbus has been hit hard by some meaningful injuries, and although having young pieces playing minutes can offer a boost energy wise, it’s hard to argue that the pieces filling important minutes for top defenders Zach Werenski and Adam Boqvist are going to manage better results over a relevant sample size.
Elvis Merzlikins projects to start in goal for the Blue Jackets. He has played to a +2.3 goals saved above expected rating with a .907 save % throughout 56 games played this season.
Lightning Really Rounding Into Form
A notably suspect effort at home last Tuesday in a 4-3 loss to the Red Wings seemed to be the tipping point for the Bolts’ middling run of play. We have seen them bounce back in a big way with three excellent contests since.
Tampa bested it’s likely first-round opponent in the Toronto Maple Leafs, 8-1, before notching a comfortable 6-2 win over a desperate Predators team. They also ended Florida’s 14-game win streak with an 8-4 win over the Panthers on the road.
That’s about as dominant a three-game streak as you can put together in this league. Considering the point in the calender we’re currently at, this is a meaningful stretch for a group that was likely highly disengaged all season long.
The Lightning controlled play to a 59.5 xGF% in those three games, which is especially excellent when you consider that Florida and Toronto both regularly dominate that metric.
If we see the Lightning play anywhere near the level displayed in those contests, it should lead to a big offensive output vs. this Columbus team.
The main question regarding Tuesday’s game will simply be if the Lightning can stay engaged — as we saw last week.
It’s a safe assumption that Andrei Vasilevskiy will rest one of the remaining three games prior to the playoffs, and it’s very possible that may be on Tuesday.
Brian Elliott has been quietly effective this season, however, playing to a +3.9 GSAx with a .914 save % throughout 18 games played.
The difference between Vasilevskiy and Elliott has not been as notably significant as we may have expected entering the year.
Vasilevskiy has been excellent again — as we have seen year in and year out — playing to a +26.8 GSAx rating with a .917 save % throughout 61 games played.
Lightning vs. Blue Jackets Pick
Although Columbus surprised and handed us a loss on the Edmonton puck-line prediction, I can’t resist going right back to the same call — fading the Blue Jackets on Tuesday.
Tampa has clearly re-found its form and is making the surge entering the postseason we have been waiting on for weeks. Each of its last several efforts have been simply dominant, and I think this group has become far more engaged at this point.
Columbus has continually been exposed defensively, and has allowed a wealth of goals against all season long.
My expectation is we see Tampa continue to build its momentum for the postseason with another sharp performance here. I think we will see a multi-goal Lightning win.
Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5 -140 (Play to -150)