Free Picks: Carolina Hurricanes vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Hurricanes vs Lightning NHL
Carolina Hurricanes vs Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL, PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

The best sports bet for today is taking Tampa with the money line (-125) with 10Bet. I like the odds for Carolina (+105) for the win because the implied odds give the Hurricanes a 49% chance to win. But my prediction model suggests Carolina has a 51% chance to win. My only concern is that James Reimer is the likely goaltender for Carolina and his mediocre save percentage (.909) creates some doubt in me.

Can Carolina solve Vasilevskiy?

The Lightning lead the season series 3-2 and most of the games have been low scoring, so betting the Under (5.5) (-109) with 10Bet could be the way to go because I don’t sense a lot of goals will be scored. Only one of the previous games resulted in total goals going over 5. 

Now, some of you may think I’m nuts because Tampa is the highest scoring team in the league, averaging 3.61 goals a game. But Carolina is also one of the top defensive teams in the Central Division.

You may argue that Tampa is coming off two low-scoring games against Dallas and is ready to bust out again. And I can’t argue with that. In Tampa’s last game on Thursday, they lost 4-3 to Dallas as they continue this road trip. Carolina is coming off two straight wins.

When I go about making my NHL picks, I look at a lot of statistical measures. I like Carolina a lot, and I’m tempted to bet them on the money line because I see a value play here.

My model suggests they have at least a 51% chance of winning. But my concern is that I think Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is just too dominant. He has a 21-4-1 record and a .932 save percentage with 3 shutouts this season.

On the other hand, James Reimer, who is the likely starter, has a 12-4-1 record and his save percentage isn’t even in the top 10 in the league. I think the less risky bet is with Tampa.

On the injury front, Tampa has lost defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Erik Cernak. In the last game, the team promoted defensemen Luke Schenn and Andreas Borgman from the taxi squad. 

When I’m making my NHL predictions, I look at some of the key players who could be difference makers. Look at Tampa’s Yanni Gourde. He’s got a 5-game goal-scoring streak. For Carolina, Sebastian Aho has 4 goals in his last 5 games.

Tampa is one of the favorites when looking at the NHL Stanley Cup odds. For good reason. I like Tampa on the money line (-125) with 10Bet, but my favorite value play is to go with Tampa (+215) with 10Bet on the puck line. But check to see if the odds have shifted.

Stats

  • The Lightning are 18-15 against the spread.
  • The Hurricanes are 13-19 against the spread.
  • Tampa is the top scoring team in the league, averaging 3.61 goals a game.
  • Carolina is 10-1-3 at home.

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I live in the land of ice and snow in Toronto, Canada's largest city. I can't skate very well, but I know sports, especially hockey, after a long career writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs and other teams at the country's largest newspaper, the Toronto Star. Betting on sports can be a rewarding experience when you understand the trends and underlying characteristics of the teams and players before laying down a bet. That's how I hope to point you in the right direction.