Free Picks: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

NHL Columbus Blue Jackets vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, NHL, Nationwide Arena

If you take one of the best defensive groups in the NHL (Tampa Bay) and put them up against a team that allows more than 3 goals per game (Columbus), I suspect we are going to see two teams far apart on the scoreboard. Already off to a lousy start, can the Blue Jackets get a much-needed win over Tampa Bay?

Remember, it's still the Steven Stamkos show in Tampa Bay.

With Nikita Kucherov out for the foreseeable future, captain Steven Stamkos has spent no time reminding the league that there is more than one star donning a Tampa Bay sweater.

In the early going of the season, Stamkos is already among the league leaders in points. The former Rocket Richard trophy winner is a key member of the Lightning lineup and a huge reason Tampa Bay tops NHL Stanley Cup odds.

The undefeated Lightning turns their attention to Columbus Thursday night. The Blue Jackets are near the bottom of the standings are looking to gain ground in their division.

Despite the offensive talent on both sides, I think this will be a rather low scoring affair – at least for one team.

Don’t get me wrong, if you look at the Blue Jackets’ roster you will see a number of scorers that can tickle twine with ease. But I think Columbus’ offensive talents will be hemmed by Tampa Bay’s defense.

All of Tampa Bay’s defensive lines rank in the top half of the NHL. Pairs 1 and 2, consisting of Victor Hedman/Jan Rutta and Ryan McDonagh/Erik Cernak have been lights out to start the season.

Add in arguably the best goaltender in the league in Andrei Vasilevskiy and I think Columbus’ scoring woes continue.

Tampa Bay has been waiting patiently for this game, I’ll admit. There may be rust for the Lightning as their two-game set with Dallas was postponed due to COVID-19. Still, the Lightning have allowed the least amount of goals to start the season (3) and average 1.5 goals against per game.

Those stats are sort of cherry-picked since Tampa has only played two games to start the season, but it’s easy to argue that their defensive stats would still rival elite defenses in the league.

Tampa Bay has been a favorite of mine on BetPicks and the Lightning continues to be one of the best NHL bets you can make.

I think Columbus’ offense gets shut down once again and Tampa Bay covers on the Puck Line.


  • Tampa Bay is 4-2 ATS in last 6 games.
  • Tampa Bay is 5-1 SU against Columbus in last 6 games.
  • The Blue Jackets are 1-6 SU in last 7 games.
  • Columbus allow 3.25 goals against per game.

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have always wanted to be a writer and sports are my favorite thing in the world, so I combined the two to make a career. I have been a long-time gambler and sports betting writer that isn't afraid to look at the underdog or specials. I am covering the NHL, MLB and NCAA Football for and am a huge fan of both sports - as well as many others. Follow me on Twitter (@Patrick_Trudeau) so we can talk betting, sports, or why ketchup DOES belong on Poutine.