Bruins vs. Lightning Game 3 Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (Wednesday, Aug. 26)
Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Ondrej Palat
- The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning face off for Game 3 of their NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs series on Wednesday.
- Michael Leboff explains why he prefers Tampa Bay's side in a near pick'em due to the Lightning's depth and goaltending.
- Check out his full betting preview below for updated odds, picks, and comprehensive analysis before puck drop at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Game 3: Bruins vs. Lightning Odds
|Bruins Odds||-112 [BET NOW]|
|Lightning Odds||-104 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||5.5 (+104/-125) [BET NOW]|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
The best-of-7 series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins is appropriately tied after Game 2. The Bruins were opportunistic in their Game 1 win, the Lightning were relentless in their overtime victory in Game 2.
The odds for this series have barely budged for the first two games. The series odds have re-adjusted to -109/-109. Both teams currently sit at +485 to win the Stanley Cup. It’s pretty clear that the market views these teams, arguably the two best in the NHL, as equals.
If that’s the case, you’re going to have to nitpick (or flip a coin). And when I do that, I land on Tampa Bay.
The Lightning have been the better team at 5-on-5 so far in this series. Tampa has the advantage in goals, expected goals, shot attempts and high-danger scoring chances through nearly 100 minutes at even strength.
|5-on-5 Stat||Tampa Bay Lightning||Boston Bruins|
|High-danger scoring chances||25||14|
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.
Two games is a small sample, but once again we’re left with no choice but to nitpick if you want to bet a game this tight.
Boston’s power play is magnificent and has been on fire during the playoffs, but I’ll always lean toward the team with stronger 5-on-5 metrics over a team that is relying on a power play to score.
The Boston Bruins have scored six goals in this series. Three of them have come from Brad Marchand. It’s not out of character for the Bruins to need Marchand and his linemates, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, to do the heavy lifting, but they’ll need better overall play from the rest of their lineup to beat Tampa.
The Lightning’s top line should be able to match, or come close to matching, Boston’s Perfection Line, so this series could be won or lost further down the lineup. If that’s the case, the Bolts hold a significant advantage.
Basically every member of Tampa’s bottom six had an expected goals rate of at least 70% in Game 2. Blake Coleman scored twice. Yanni Gourde, Patrick Maroon and Barclay Goodrow each recorded a point. The Lightning went with seven defensemen and 11 forwards in Game 2 and only four of the 11 forwards had an xG% under 60.
Boston’s air-tight defense is going to be challenged by this Lightning team every night, so relying on a hot power play and The Perfection Line to carry the team across the finish line is a dangerous dance.
Goaltenders are perhaps the hardest position to project in all of sports and the fact that this game is a back-to-back makes it even more difficult.
Jaroslav Halak has proven himself to a capable NHL netminder over the last decade and I thought everybody, including the betting market, overreacted when Tuukka Rask opted out of the postseason and handed the keys over to Halak.
The 35-year-old Bratislava, Slovakia native has been decent during the postseason but he hasn’t been a full-time starter in the NHL for a while now and will have to deal with the second night of a back-to-back on Wednesday.
Andrei Vasilevskiy grades out as the better goalie regardless of the situation, so I like his chances to outperform Halak.
Like I said above, this is all nitpicking. The Boston Bruins are an elite hockey team. If you think the B’s are the better bet when all things are equal, I’ve got time for that argument.
But for me, I think the Lightning represent better value in a pick’em and would bet the Lightning up to -110.
The Bet: Lightning (-108)