Lightning vs. Blackhawks: Free Picks, Odds & Predictions

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

The Tampa Bay Lightning have alternated wins and losses the last five games, but they are still 10-2-1 over the last month. They try to win consecutive games for the first time in more than a week on Thursday when they welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to Tampa. The Blackhawks are in a bit of a tailslide right now having lost four of their last five games and allowing 24 goals over that span.

Free Picks

Anthony Cirelli has registered at least one point in all five games against Chicago this season with three goals and three assists. Those six points represent a third of the points Cirelli has scored this season, so he’s a smart pick at +280 odds from the NHL betting sites in New Jersey. Chicago is going to put so much attention on Tampa Bay’s big scorers that a quality scorer like Cirelli is going to have his chances against the weaker defensemen on the Blackhawks roster. Given his success against the team already this season, I’ll take the risk on his odds as opposed to a smaller payout on guys like Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat for Tampa Bay.

ANTHONY CIRELLI SCORES GOAL

I really wanted to take this wager higher given the fact Chicago has allowed six goals in three of its last five games. However, I have concerns about Chicago’s ability to score against a strong Tampa Bay defense, so I’ll settle on this bet for +155 odds from the hockey betting sites in New Jersey. Tampa Bay has a strong offense with scoring on all four lines, which is going to be a challenge for this Blackhawks team given how poorly they have been defending lately. The Blackhawks also lack a goalie ready to be a true top goalie at the NHL level whereas Tampa Bay has one of the game’s best goalies in between the pipes. The Lightning should overwhelm the Blackhawks, but Chicago has enough high-end scoring to take it over the 6.5-goal mark.

UNDER 6.5 GOALS

The legal sports betting sites in New Jersey have made Tampa Bay such a heavy favorite that there really is very little value in betting on the Lightning to win without taking a major risk. The +188 odds don’t match the situation in my opinion, but this is what we’re stuck with in order to find some actual value betting on the Lightning to win. Three of Chicago’s four losses during this recent five-game stretch have come by three goals or more, including a 6-3 loss to the Lightning at home to kick off the streak. Chicago has also allowed six goals three times in the last five games, and I find it hard to trust the Blackhawks to score three or more goals against a team allowing just 2.4 goals per game this season.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING -2.5 GOALS

Best Odds

Tampa Bay Chicago
888Sport
-245 +195
FanDuel
-260 +215
BetMGM
-250 +210

Statistics

Head to Head

This is the sixth of eight scheduled meetings this season between Tampa Bay and Chicago. The Lightning have won four of the previous matchups this season with the Blackhawks, including both previous games at home.

Stats

  • Tampa Bay is tied for the league lead with 20 wins and a .750 points percentage this season. Three of the top four teams in both categories are in the Central Division.
  • The Lighting have four players tied for the team lead with 27 points each. Steven Stamkos, who leads Tampa Bay with 14 goals, is one of the players along with Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point, who have matching 11-goal, 16-assist outputs, as well as Victor Hedman, who leads the Lightning with 22 points.
  • Chicago and Tampa Bay are both in the top-4 in the NHL on the power play with the Lightning ranking third at 28.4 percent and the Blackhawks ranking fourth at 28.2 percent. However, the Blackhawks have the fifth-worst penalty kill in the league by killing off just 73.1 percent of penalties.
  • Patrick Kane ranks second in the NHL with 30 assists so far this year and ranks third with 42 points. Alex DeBrincat is fifth in the league with 15 goals this season and is part of the cluster in 14th place in the NHL with 29 points.

Our Prediction for Tampa Bay vs. Chicago

Tampa Bay Lightning to win

The Chicago Blackhawks had a nice run early in the season, but the magic has run out in the Windy City since the calendar turned to March. The Blackhakws have lost five of their seven games this month and have fallen well back of the pack for the top-three spots in the Central Division. Tampa Bay hasn’t been humming along as easily as it did earlier this year, but the Lightning still haven’t lost consecutive games in a month and have a 10-2-1 record since Feb. 20. It makes no sense to bet against Tampa Bay on home ice against a team that’s struggling to win games right now.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

All Reviews by Josh Walfish

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