NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Lightning vs. Red Wings (December 21)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Lightning vs. Red Wings (December 21) article feature image

Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Goalie Brian Elliott #1 of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning are on the road in Detroit to face the Red Wings Wednesday.
  • Tampa is the favorite (moneyline:-152), but there's better value on their puckline at -1.5.
  • Tony Sartori dives into Lightning vs. Red Wings odds and gives a betting pick below.

Lightning vs. Red Wings Odds

Lightning Odds-162
Red Wings Odds+134
Over/Under6.5 (-110/-110)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

We have an Atlantic Division tilt with the sixth-place Detroit Red Wings hosting the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning. This game is the second meeting between these two clubs this season as Detroit secured a 4-2 win earlier this month.

Will the Red Wings take care of business once again, or can the Lightning grab revenge on the road?

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Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning enter this contest in outstanding form, winning five of their past six games. Tampa covered the puck line in all five of those wins, a trend that should continue in this matchup.

Since the Bolts are on the second half of a back-to-back, backup goaltender Brian Elliott is slated to start between the pipes. Although Elliott obviously is a step down from starting netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy, he has been more than capable of handling backup duties as Elliott enters this matchup amidst a seven-game win streak. Over that stretch, he possesses a .905 SV% and 2.82 GAA. Tampa covered the puckline in five of those seven outings.

This successful stretch of goaltending should continue against Detroit, a team Elliott has dominated over the past couple of seasons. Through his last seven starts against the Red Wings, Elliott is 7-0 with a .945 SV% and 1.41 GAA.

Additionally, Elliott should get plenty of goal support in this contest as the Lightning rank fifth in the league in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) at 5-on-5.

Detroit Red Wings

While Tampa Bay enters this contest in great form, the Red Wings can not say the same. Losing six straight games, this matchup will be a difficult one to turn things around.

Offensively, the Red Wings have struggled mightily as they've scored two or fewer goals in four of their past six games. At 5-on-5, Detroit ranks third-to-last in the league in xGF/60.

Injuries have hurt the forward group with Tyler Bertuzzi (hand) and Jakub Vrana (personal) both slated to miss this contest. Unfortunately for this team, the defense is barely any better as the Red Wings rank just 19th in the league in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) at 5-on-5.

The one saving grace for this team thus far has been the play of goaltender Ville Husso, who is projected to get the start between the pipes. Both statistically and analytically, he has been one of the better goaltenders in the league.

It is worth noting, however, that his production has started to slide recently. Over his last two starts, Husso is 0-1-1 with a .870 SV% and 4.36 GAA. I blame the team in front of Husso more than the netminder himself, but Tampa's powerhouse offense is going to make life difficult for both the defense and Husso.

Lightning vs. Red Wings Pick

The price on Tampa Bay is generous because they are starting a backup goaltender on the second half of a back-to-back. That being said, It is an over-adjustment based on those facts.

Elliott has done just fine between the pipes in relief for Vasilevskiy, winning seven straight games and covering the puckline in five of them. Additionally, Detroit is a team that Elliott has won seven straight games against.

Missing both Bertuzzi and Vrana is still a big deal for a team that is struggling mightily to score, which should offset the edge the Red Wings have in the goaltender battle. With these two teams trending in opposite directions, take the favorites at a price that is lower than it should be.

Pick: Lightning -1.5 (+164) | Play down to (+135)

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