Free Picks: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning vs Blackhawks NHL
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL, Amalie Arena

The Blackhawks are on the cusp of making the playoffs. However, every loss matters this late in the season. Facing one of the best teams in the league, Chicago will look to take down the Tampa Bay Lighting. The Lightning have had Chicago’s number all season – will that trend continue on Thursday?

Are the Chicago Blackhawks a sleeper pick this season?

When you think of the top teams in the NHL, the Blackhawks may not come to mind. However, Chicago has certainly made a name for themselves this season. Thursday night, the Hawks have another opportunity to prove their worth against the defending Stanley Cup champion, Tampa Bay Lightning.

Despite all the injuries, Chicago has held their own in the Central Division. However, in 5 games against Tampa Bay this season, the Hawks have only secured 1 victory.

Unfortunately for Chicago, I think that trend continues on Thursday. Chicago is one of the worst teams in the NHL in goals against, which has dramatically impacted their regular season odds. Considering the Hawks are ranked 29th in goals against, we haven’t seen many games for Chicago as the favorite.

I think there are two betting options for this game: money line and total goals. Focusing on the money line, I think one of the best bets you can make is taking the Lightning straight up. Winners win and it’s clear the Lightning are the stronger team.

Chicago is dealing with a number of injuries to key players that have hindered them all season. Even though they are in the playoff hunt, there is a difference between making the playoffs and then competing in the playoffs. Tampa Bay is stronger in all facets of the game, so I think taking the Lightning straight up is the smart play.

On top of that, if you want to get frisky and focus on total goals, I want to look at the O/U of 4.5 (888Sport). This season, the Lightning have been dominant in goal scoring. Tampa Bay is one of the best offensive teams in the league, scoring 3.61 goals per game.

Chicago is a talented offensive team as well. Scoring 3 goals per game, the Blackhawks are efficient in goal scoring. Adding to why I think this game hits the over is defense. The Blackhawks allow 3.20 goals per game, while the Lightning allow 2.36 goals per game.

So, as long as Tampa Bay and Chicago play to their usual selves, the O/U of 4.5 seems like a no-brainer. For this pick, I will focus on total goals, but don’t shy away from the Tampa Bay money line, either.

Stats

  • Chicago are 2-7-1 against TB in last 10 games.
  • The Blackhawks are 2-14 SU in last 16 against Tampa Bay.
  • Tampa Bay are 10-3 straight up in last 12 games.
  • The Lightning are 6-1 SU in last 7 games against Chicago (at home).

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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 BetPicks.ca 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.