Free Picks: Nashville Predators vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Predators vs Lightning NHL
Nashville Predators vs. Tampa Bay Lightning,, NHL, Bridgestone Arena

The Nashville Predators are trying to fight off the Chicago Blackhawks for the last playoff spot. Nashville should be desperate against the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning, but is that enough to pull off the upset? But don’t look at the current records. Look at the last month and you may be surprised.

Nashville, Tampa make trade deadline deals

Both the Predators and Lightning were active as the trade deadline came and went on Monday. Nashville has been banged up on defense and acquired a big, physical defenseman in Erik Gudbranson from Ottawa in exchange for defenseman Brandon Fortunato and a draft pick.

And on Saturday, Tampa acquired defenseman David Savard from Columbus. He is projected to be a top-four defenseman with the Lightning. He has a goal and five assists in 40 games. Tampa also acquired defenseman Fredrik Claesson from San Jose on Monday.

In the last month, Nashville (12-4) has a better record than Tampa (10-6), mainly by cutting back on their goals against. In fact, the Preds are No. 1 in the league in goals allowed over that span (1.94 goals per game allowed) and goaltender Juuse Saros has been the second-best goalie in the league (.961 save percentage) over the last 16 games.

When I go about making my NHL picks, I look at the goaltenders. Andrei Vasilevskiy is the best goalie in the league and he is 5-0 against Nashville this season (.940 save percentage). Pekka Rinne (2.97 GAA, .902 save percentage) started the last game against Tampa and made 31 saves in a strong performance.

When I’m making my NHL predictions, I look at injuries. Tampa won’t have Steven Stamkos, so this will take away from Tampa’s offense. But Nashville might be tired. This is their third game in four nights.

The Money Line odds in favor of Tampa (-175)  are too expensive to win $100. I’m more interested in the puck line to get the best value (+152) for Tampa to cover (-1.5). All of the previous seven games, except for one, have seen a spread of at least three goals with Nashville winning only one game.

I see Tampa winning this one 4-2 and covering (-1.5) (+152) with 10Bet. And I’m taking the Over on total goals (5.5) (-103) with 10Bet.

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  • The Over is 9-2 in Tampa’s last 11 road games.
  • The Under is 4-1 in their last five meetings in Nashville.
  • The Under is 3-0-2 in Predators’ last five games as an underdog.
  • Tampa is 20-21 ATS this season.

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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.