Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Free NHL Pick
The NHL playoffs get underway tonight and so does the Tampa Bay Lightning’s quest for being hailed as of the all-time great NHL greats. The playoffs are always difficult to handicap because it’s technically a new season and many times underdogs end up winning, but when it comes to this matchup, talent has to be accounted for. And there is a major talent mismatch.
The Lightning are 3-0 vs. the Blue Jackets this year outscoring them 17-3 (8-2, 4-0, 5-1). The Lightning have won their last 3 first round playoff matchups, and their last two under John Cooper have been won with ease, both ending in 5 games. The Blue Jackets have been on the other side of the success scale. They are 0-3 in all-time playoff series with a total record of 3-12. While this is their third straight year in the playoffs and they are gaining experience under former Lightning coach John Tortorella, they are simply way outmatched in this contest and the regular season performances show that. They always say ride a trend until she bucks you. Well, the Lightning trend has been blowing out the Jackets and I will keep riding it, even in the playoffs.
As far as the series goes, there is some good value on a short series. You can get the Lightning for +120 to win the series in 4 or 5 games. If you want to be cautious and think they’ll win in 6 or less, you can get them at -200. To me, they’re all good bets. Tampa Bay has completely dominated the season series and should continue to dominate Columbus in April.
Best Bet: Tampa Bay Series -2.5 games +120
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