Red Wings vs. Lightning Odds & Picks: Expect Plenty of Goals From Tampa Bay
Via Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Nikita Kucherov.
- The Lightning are heavy home favorites at home on Tuesday night against the Red Wings.
- With Tampa's offense playing a poor and shorthanded Detroit defense, is there better value on the Tampa team total?
- Nick Martin breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Red Wings vs. Lightning Odds
|Red Wings Odds||+360|
|Over/Under||6.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
After a promising start to the season, the Red Wings have slowly played worse and worse down the stretch and enter this matchup losers in four of their last five contests, with a -10 Goal Differential over that span.
As you would expect, the Wings are massive underdogs against the back-to-back champion Lightning on the road. At a price of +500, they are among the heaviest underdogs seen this entire season.
How can we squeeze some value from this contest?
Red Wings Struggling Mightily Down the Stretch
The Red Wings have shown a ton of reason for optimism this season, but the recent on-ice results are far from the reason why.
Moritz Seider deserves to be the Calder Trophy winner this season, and it has truly been unbelievable the way the 21-year-old German has dominated on a horrific defensive club. Lucas Raymond has shown a ton of promise with 55 points in 76 games as a rookie as well, and moving forward they will be key pieces in Detroit’s expected turnaround.
Outside of them, things have gotten steadily worse for Detroit as the season has run along.
Trading away Nick Leddy at the deadline obviously made sense, but it has left the Red Wings even more thin on the back end. They have defended very poorly of late, with a second-worst xGA/60 rating of 3.89 in their April games.
Now captain and no. 1 center Dylan Larkin will be sidelined for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery, which is a massive loss for a very thin roster.
The loss hurts Detroit badly in all areas, but it will greatly hamper the Red Wings’ ability to matchup down the middle against elite opposition lines, as Larkin was the most reliable two-way center on the roster.
Alex Nedeljkovic should likely get the start for Detroit in goal. Nedeljkovic holds a -7.6 Goals Saved Above Expected rating with a .901 Save % in 55 games.
It’s safe to say life has been much tougher on a developing Red Wings team for Nedeljkovic than on an elite defensive club in Carolina. His regression in GSAx compared to last season in Carolina is a a great example of how Goals Saved Above Expected data still doesn’t tell the entire story of true quality of chances.
Will the Lightning Flip the Switch?
Down 4-2 late in the second period in a very frustrating affair against the Jets, the Lightning seemed to flip the switch into high-gear and went on to score five goals in just over 25 minutes of game time.
There’s no team harder to evaluate in my opinion heading into the postseason than the Lightning. Their play has often been underwhelming, but the Bolts showed us the same thing before winning it all again last year.
Offensively, Tampa has not been as dominant as one might expect this season, but even still, a 3.31 Goals For per game average is good for ninth in the league.
Nikita Kucherov playing just 40 contests surely hasn’t helped, and to see him roast the Red Wings here after a four-point performance vs. the Jets would be far from surprising.
Detroit will have no line to match up against the Kucherov-Point duo at five-on-five. Holding the league’s 30th-ranked Penalty Kill unit certainly won’t help either in a game where Tampa should generate lots of Power-Play opportunities.
It’s very possible we see Tampa opt to rest Andrei Vasilevskiy here, and confirmation of the official starter in net should come after tomorrow’s morning skate.
Brian Elliott has been very competent with a +3.1 GSAx rating and .915 Save % in 17 appearances, while Vasilevskiy has shined as always with a +23.9 GSAx and .917 Save % in 58 games.
Red Wings vs. Lightning Pick
At -550 here, the Lightning are one of the biggest favorites the NHL has seen this entire season, and it’s hard to argue that backing the puck line at -190 holds value.
But I feel confident we will see Tampa take advantage of this spot, and against a Detroit team that has allowed the second-most Goals Against in the league, that should mean a big offensive output.
I don’t love to pump heavily juiced lines in articles, but backing the Bolts to score over 3.5 goals has value here. For a wager on a -180 line to be profitable, it needs to hit 6.8/10 times, and I think it’s a fair assessment to say that Tampa will score four or more here at least 68% of the time.
Backing Tampa to go over 4.5 at +115 is certainly another option, but I actually see Over 3.5 at -180 at a higher EV long-term, as the Lightning’s floor will often be exactly four.
Pick: Tampa Bay Team Total Over 3.5 -180 (Play to -190)