Blue Jackets vs. Lightning Playoff Odds, Betting Preview: Pressure on Both Teams

Blue Jackets vs. Lightning Playoff Odds, Betting Preview: Pressure on Both Teams article feature image

Kim Klement, USA Today Sports.

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning are -425 favorites over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Round 1 of the NHL Playoffs.
  • The odds suggest the Lightning win this series a little over 80% of the time. Is that correct?

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Series Betting Odds

  • Blue Jackets: +325
  • Lightning: -425

The Tampa Bay Lightning played at a record pace all season long, winning 62 games — the most in the salary-cap era.

But none of that matters now as the Bolts will have to win 16 more games to ensure that this record-setting campaign is “successful.”

Standing in Tampa’s way are the Columbus Blue Jackets. This has been a weird season for Columbus thanks to personnel issues. Its best player, Artemi Panarin, and star goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky, are both unrestricted free agents this summer and it seems more likely than not that both players will end up changing sweaters.

That put the Blue Jackets between a rock and a hard place. Columbus has never won a playoff series and has a great team, but the front office had a decision to make. Should the team cash in on Panarin and Bobrovsky? Or double down and give this thing a real go?

The Jackets chose the latter and made a bevy of acquisitions at the deadline, headlined by the arrival of forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel from Ottawa.

Even though Columbus bolstered its ranks, it still took until Game No. 81 for the Jackets to punch their ticket to the dance and a first-round matchup with the best team in a generation now awaits them. So much for doubling down.

There isn’t really much that needs to be said for this matchup.

The gap between these two teams is pretty wide. The odds indicate Tampa wins this series more than 80% of the time, but there is hope for Columbus and that hope comes in the form of its soon-to-be-former goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky.

Even though “Bob” hasn’t been his best self this season, he’s proven to be one of the best goaltenders in the league over the past five seasons. If Columbus has a hope in this series, Bobrovsky will likely need to steal games, like three or four of them.

The problem is that Tampa’s offense is so good that stealing a game — let alone four of them — will be a near-impossible task. Things would have to get super weird for Columbus to come out on top in this one.

After opening -330/+260, the Lightning got steamed all the way up to -425 and I can’t say there’s any argument to be made that the line movement is out of whack.

This series is priced appropriately and I’m expecting Tampa Bay to get out of here in a relatively straightforward manner.

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