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Tuesday NHL Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Bruins vs. Lightning Game 2 Preview (August 25)

Tuesday NHL Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Bruins vs. Lightning Game 2 Preview (August 25) article feature image

Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Brad Marchand

  • The Boston Bruins took Game 1 by a score of 3-2 over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
  • Boston and Tampa Bay opened around a pick 'em across the betting market and there has been relatively little line movement since open.
  • To which side should you lean for this NHL Playoffs matchup? Michael Leboff breaks down the matchup, including odds, picks and predictions for Game 2.

Game 2: Bruins vs. Lightning Odds

Bruins Odds -106 [BET NOW]
Lightning Odds -109 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 5.5 [BET NOW]
Time 7 p.m. ET

Odds as of Monday evening 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.

Editors Note: Tampa Bay defenseman Ryan McDonagh has been ruled out for Game 2.

The Boston Bruins don’t let opportunities pass them by. The Bruins capitalized on a sloppy start by the Lightning, went 1-for-3 on the power play and turned a critical mistake by the usually steady Ryan McDonagh into a beautiful goal.

The Lightning are a spectacular team and can score in bunches but the Bruins are so good defensively that if you give them a headstart you are very unlikely to get back in the game. Boston is ruthless and that showed in the curtain-raiser.

Despite the loss, there was a lot to like about Tampa Bay’s play in Game 1. The Lightning barely nudged the Bruins in the expected goals battle, 3.76 to 3.72 in all situations and 2.76 to 2.32 at 5-on-5 when you adjust for score effects (teams down on the scoreboard tend to push play more), so it’s not like the Bruins played the Lightning off the ice. Tampa just made one too many mistakes against a team where one mistake is too many.

There’s very little that separates these two teams at 5-on-5, but for the Lightning to be successful they need to keep the game on even terms. The Bruins’ power play has been consistently great for years and they made the Bolts pay in Game 1. Boston is 6-for-22 on the power play during the postseason. Tampa is 0-for-13.

5-on-5 Stat Boston Tampa Bay
Goals For Per 60 Minutes 2.56 2.96
Goals Against Per 60 Minutes 1.88 2.21
Expected Goals For Per 60 Minutes 2.22 2.44
Expected Goals Against Per 60 Minutes 1.98 2.02
Shot Attempts For Per 60 Minutes 56 57.8
Shot Attempts Allowed Per 60 Minutes 51.81 50.4
High-Danger Chances For Per 60 Minutes 9.73 11.2
High-Danger Chances Against Per 60 Minutes 8.97 9.1

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 odds for Game 1 closed with Boston at -110 and Tampa Bay at -106. At the time of writing on Monday evening, those odds have flipped with the Lightning checking in at -109 and Boston sitting at -106.

It’s not a noteworthy adjustment but it is interesting since Tampa Bay lost and it could be without Ryan McDonagh for Game 2. Losing McDonagh, who skated to a team-high 79.6% expected goals rate in the opener, would be a pretty big ding to Tampa’s blueline. Not only because McDonagh is very effective in a shutdown role, but also because it means that either Luke Schenn or Brayden Coburn would draw into the lineup and neither of them are reliable in this type of environment.

I liked Tampa Bay in Game 1 at -110 or better and, assuming McDonagh is healthy, would go back to the Lightning again in Game 2 at that same price. It’s nothing against the Bruins, but since this game is a toss up, I’d rather back the team with more paths to victory and Tampa ticks that box thanks to its depth.

If McDonagh can’t go, I’d look for Tampa at plus-money.

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