NHL Betting Odds, Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins Picks

NHL Odds

Lightning at Bruins Picks

By Adam Markowitz

The Tampa Bay Lightning have not got off to a good start on this recent road swing. The best team in the East dropped their first two games and has to face Buffalo on Tuesday night before traveling to face the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night in a nationally televised affair. Boston has been at home for the holidays and will have had two days of rest before this one, making the task for Tampa Bay that much harder.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins
Date and Time:Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
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Lightning at Bruins TV Coverage: NBCSN

Despite a two-game losing streak, the Lightning are the best team in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay is 16-5-2 this season and had won six of its last seven before dropping consecutive road games to Washington and Pittsburgh. Because of their dominance, Tampa Bay has been favored in almost every game this season, but might be an underdog here given the situation. The last two times the Lightning were underdogs, they won outright.

Boston got off to a slow start this season, but has recently rallied. The Bruins are 10-8-4, but have won four of their last five games. Surprisingly enough, Boston won each of the four games in which it was an underdog, but lost the one game in which it was a favorite. The boys from Beantown are 9-13 ATS this season.

Key Stats

Tampa Bay’s offense sputtered a little bit against Washington and Pittsburgh, but there’s no doubt that this is still one of the best teams in the NHL. The Lightning are averaging 3.7 goals per game and Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are trying to one-up each other for both the Art Ross and the Hart Trophy at this point in the season.

Kucherov is the goal scorer of the two and has tallied 17 goals on the season. The most impressive part of his scoring is the fact that almost all of it is done at even strength. All but three of his goals were at even strength, giving this team a huge edge on their opponents.

Stamkos is more of a distributor, but he has become the assassin on the power play. All but three of his goals were on the power play this season, and 16 of his 36 points came on the man advantage.

The success of Kucherov and Stamkos has overshadowed the emergence of a great second line, led by Vladislav Namestnikov. Namestnikov is on pace to shatter his career-best for points in a season by double and has 22 points in 23 games this season. He has been a power play ace too with nine points on the man advantage.

Player to Watch

It looks like Boston will continue to use Anton Khudobin as its primary goaltender for the time being. Khubodin started all four games in the Bruins’ recent win streak, and Tuukka Rask started in the loss against Edmonton on Sunday.

There’s been a stark difference in performance between the two this season. Khubodin has led his team to at least a point in all nine of his starts, while Rask has been in net for all eight of the Bruins regulation losses.

Khubodin will almost certainly be in net in this one, as his GAA is 0.7 goals better than Rask and his save percentage is 33 points higher at this point.

Lightning at Bruins Free Picks

Tampa Bay has a lights out goalie of its own in Andrei Vasilevskiy, however, he probably won’t get the start in this one. The last three times the Lightning played road games in back-to-back nights, Peter Budaj was in net for the second game. Budaj is a significant downgrade from Vasilevskiy and there is no question that the Bruins will be favorites if he is the starter. He has a 3.75 GAA and a .867 save percentage this season and just one win to his name.

I expect Budaj to get the start as the trend should continue on this road swing, but if Vasilevskiy is in net, hold off on playing Boston.

Lightning at Bruins Pick: Take Boston on the moneyline
Lightning at Bruins Score Prediction: Bruins5 – Lightning 3

NHL Hockey Betting Odds, Chicago Blackhawks vs Tampa Bay Lightning Picks

NHL Hockey Betting Odds

Blackhawks at Lightning Picks

By Adam Markowitz

There’s no team in hockey that has looked better than the Tampa Bay Lightning through the first quarter of the season. Tampa Bay is off to a blistering 15-3-2 start and is four points and two games up on Toronto in the Atlantic Division. It’s not like the Lightning have played an easy schedule or a heavily tilted home slate either with games against the best teams in the NHL and just 11 home games thus far. On Wednesday night, they will welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to town.

Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning
Date and Time:Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
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Blackhawks at Lightning TV Coverage: NBCSN

The Lightning did drop a game to the Islanders on Saturday, but had won five in a row prior to that. Tampa Bay has been sound in all phases of the game and in those five wins, they tallied a power play goal and kept its opponent from scoring on its power play chances. It’s hard to undersell just how good this team has been.

Things haven’t gone as well for the Blackhawks. Chicago is in fourth place in the Central Division at the moment and has just as many wins as losses. It was able to knock off Pittsburgh on the road on Saturday, but it’s been a season of middling performances for the Blackhawks.

Key Stats

Tampa Bay is the highest scoring team in the NHL by a good margin. The Lightning are averaging four goals a game and the first line with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov has been out of this world.

Stamkos and Kucherov are leading the league in points and both are on pace to finish with well over 100 points this season. Stamkos has 10 goals and 25 assists, and he has four more helpers than any other player in the NHL. Kucherov has been the one lighting the lamp, with 17 goals and 16 assists. The duo has been especially deadly on the power play and is averaging a goal every other game.

On the other end of the ice, Andrei Vasilevskiy has proven to be a solid netminder. There were a lot of concerns that the Lightning were making a mistake when they dealt Ben Bishop last season, but Vasilevskiy has been doing just fine. He has a save percentage of .928 so far thus season and has a dazzling 14-2-1 record. It’s important that he is playing so well as the Lightning favor a wide open style that often leaves him with little help. He has proven adept at the position.

Player to Watch

If it wasn’t for Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks would be in a world of trouble right now. Kane has helped keep this team afloat when a lot of their scoring options have failed to find the back of the net. He has six more points than anyone else on the team and isn’t benefitting from inflated totals because of his prevalence on the power play unit.

Kane now has a helper in four straight games and gave ArtemAnisimov the secondary assist on the game-winner over the Penguins on Saturday. He has really helped Anisimov come into his own with his vision and playmaking.

Blackhawks at Lightning Free Picks

It will be a battle of strengths when Tampa Bay goes on the power play in this one. The Lightning are the best in the NHL at lighting the lamp with the man advantage and have scored on 28 percent of their chances. Meanwhile, Chicago has one of the five best penalty kills in the league and is stopping opponents 84.9 percent of the time on the power play.

With how they have played, the Lightning are sure to be a decent-sized favorite in this one. Tampa Bay is expecting a sellout for one of its first nationally televised games of the season and the crowd is sure to be rocking. Go ahead and back the Bolts on the goal line as they get back to their winning ways.

Blackhawks at Lightning Pick: Lay 1.5 goals with Tampa Bay on the puck line
Blackhawks at Lightning Score Prediction: Lightning 5 – Blackhawks 2

NHL Betting Matchups Odds, Washington Capitals at Nashville Predators Picks

Nashville Predators

Capitals at Predators Picks

By Adam Markowitz

The Nashville Predators are the hottest team in the Western Conference right now. Nashville has won four in a row and has proved itself against some of the best teams in the NHL during that slate. The Preds went on the road to win against Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Columbus and followed that up with a shootout win over Pittsburgh in the Music City on Saturday. Their quest to top every one of the best teams in the league during this run continues on Tuesday night when they host the Washington Capitals in NBC’s Tuesday night hockey showdown.

Washington Capitals at Nashville Predators
Date and Time: Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
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Capitals at Predators TV Coverage: NBCSN

Recently, it’s been Nashville’s offense that has come alive in its wins. The Predators have tallied at least three goals in every one of their wins during this recent swing and that has overshadowed some uncharacteristically poor goaltender play. Nashville has allowed 11 goals during this timeframe and it comes as no surprise that three of those four games went over the total.

Washington has been on fire since the start of November. Although the Caps dropped one on national television to the Sabres last week, they have won five of their six this month. Under has been a great bet in Washington games as the last five tilts have had five goals or less.

Key Stats

The Capitals are a little fortunate to be tied for second in the Metropolitan Division at this point. They aren’t as lucky as the Penguins who somehow have the same amount of points despite being -18 in goal differential, but it’s interesting to see Washington with a winning record although it is breakeven in goal differential.

Any time you talk about Washington, the first player that comes to mind is Alex Ovechkin. However, Evgeny Kuznetsov may be even more important to the team this year and he has certainly been more consistent with his performances. Kuznetsov has 16 assists already this season and has played a big part in Washington’s wins. In the Caps’ 10 wins, he has 14 assists, but in the team’s eight losses, he has just two helpers.

While there is certainly correlation with those stats, that amount of correlation is off the charts. Averaging a point and a half per game in wins is extremely impressive and shows that he is coming through for his team.

Player to Watch

Pekka Rinne is the leader of Nashville and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Rinne has been phenomenal this season and has an 8-2-2 record when he is between the pipes. He boasts a 2.23 GAA and a .929 save percentage and continues to dominate into his mid-30s.

His performance has been even more impressive when you consider the fate of his backup, Juuse Saros. Saros has really struggled in his four starts this season, posting a record of 1-3. He has a 3.94 GAA and a save percentage of just .855.

There were doubts about Rinne coming into this season because of his age, but he is continuing to prove all the naysayers wrong. Nashville has to hope that he doesn’t go down with an injury though or else it could submarine its season.

Capitals at Predators Free Picks

The Predators have the advantage when it comes to special teams. Nashville is in the top ten when it comes to both the power play and the penalty kill. That has really helped a team that doesn’t score many goals keep finding ways to win.

Conversely, Washington is in the bottom half of the NHL in both categories. The power play is of particular concern as it should be better with so many playmakers and sharpshooters on this roster, but it has been lacking.

Nashville should be a short to moderate favorite in this one and the Predators are a solid bet. They play great at home and will have a loud, energetic crowd with the Caps in town.

Capitals at Predators Pick: Grab the Predators on the moneyline
Capitals at Predators Score Prediction: Predators 3 – Capitals 1

NHL Hockey Odds, Boston Bruins at New York Rangers Picks

Bruins at Rangers Picks

Bruins at Rangers Picks

By Adam Markowitz

It will be a battle of Original Six teams on Wednesday night when the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers clash in historic Madison Square Garden. If the postseason started right now, both teams would miss the playoffs, but Boston has played three less games than New York. The last time these two sides met, the Rangers scored a 2-1 victory in MSG but that was last season. This is the first of three meetings this year.

Boston Bruins at New York Rangers
Date and Time: Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
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Bruins at Rangers TV Coverage: NBCSN

The Bruins must be wondering when their luck will change. Boston has ended regulation tied in three of its last six games, but ended up losing every game in either overtime or a shootout. The team still got a point from the game, yet missing out on two is huge. These things typically even out over the course of the season and the Bruins have to be wondering when that will change.

New York has thrived in the extra period. The Rangers are near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, but have won three in a row to make up some ground on the other teams. The last two were big overtime wins that came during a Sunshine State road trip. New York was an underdog to both Tampa Bay and Florida but pulled four points out of that swing and that has to have this team feeling good.

Player to Watch

Henrik Lundqvist is no longer a premier goaltender. His numbers have fallen off considerable in each of the last two seasons and it’s time to start considering him on the downslope of his career. Lundqvist was one of the best netminders the NHL had to offer for about a decade. He was phenomenal earlier this decade, not finishing with a save percentage below .920 in any season. However, last season, saw his save percentage fall to .910 and it is even worse thus far.

Through 12 starts, Lundqvist has a .902 save percentage and is averaging over three goals a game for the first time ever. Some of this is the result of defensive woes, but Lundqvist has been allowing some bad goals too. His agility is not what it used to be and that’s not good news for the Rangers.

Matchup to Watch

Boston has been fantastic on special teams this season, using that to gain an advantage on opponents. The Bruins are fourth in the NHL in power play percentage, converting on 27.9 percent of their opportunities. Rather than one person dominating the scoring on the man advantage, everyone is getting involved too. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have five points each, but David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron are right behind them with four points.

Additionally, this team has been solid on the penalty kill. The Bruins have killed off 87 percent of their opponents’ power plays this season thanks to some great forechecking from their forwards. All too often, the defensemen are given the credit or the blame for a team’s penalty kill, but Boston’s front line has really helped matters in this area.

Conversely, the Rangers have a middle of the pack penalty kill and an above average power play.

Bruins at Rangers Free Picks

Both teams have a game on Monday night prior to this one. The Bruins will be hosting a Minnesota Wild team that is not off to the blazing start it was last year, while the Rangers will be hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets. There isn’t a lot of distance between these two cities, so fatigue and travel won’t be factors.

I really like Boston in this spot. Lundqvist has not looked sharp this year, but you will still be able to get Boston as an underdog because the game is in MSG. Look for the Bruins to notch a comfortable victory on enemy ice.

Bruins at Rangers Pick: Jump on the Bruins as an underdog in New York
Bruins at Rangers Score Prediction: Bruins 4 – Rangers 1