The Columbus Blue Jackets (36-36-7) buzz down to the 813 to face the Tampa Bay Lightning (49-22-8) Tuesday at Amalie Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+). Below, we look at the Blue Jackets vs. Lightning odds and lines, and make our expert NHL picks, predictions and bets.
Columbus ended a four-game losing stkid with a 5-2 drubbing of the Edmonton Oilers Sunday. RW Jakub Voracek had three helpers in the game to bring his total to a team-leading 59 points on the season.
Tampa has won three in a row and is rolling on offense. The Lightning have scored 22 goals in their last three games. C Steven Stamkos has 4 goals and 6 assists during that three-game stretch and is up to 97 points on the year. RW Nikita Kucherov has goals in six straight games and 16 points along that span.
Blue Jackets at Lightning odds and lines
- Money line: Blue Jackets +300 (bet $100 to win $300) | Lightning -400 (bet $400 to win $100)
- Against the spread (ATS): Flyers +1.5 (+120) | Blackhawks -1.5 (-150)
- Over/Under (O/U): 6.5 (O: -120 | U: -105)
Blue Jackets at Lightning projected goalies
Elvis Merzlikins (26-21-7, 3.24 GAA, .907 SV%, 2 SO) vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy (37-18-5, 2.49 GAA, .917 SV%, 2 SO)
Merzlikins has had a solid April at 4-4-2 with a 2.48 GAA and a .927 SV%. He has stopped 58 of 61 shots across his last two games. The 28-year-old Latvian has not faced Tampa this year.
“Vasey” has been a little giving in April with four games of at least 4 goals allowed – including Sunday at the Florida Panthers. His 3.19 GAA is his worst for a month all season. He beat Columbus in January, stopping 20 of 22 shots.
There isn’t a lot to profit on in this matchup – especially when Tampa will cause you to risk an astounding four times your return. PASS.
Against the spread
I generally don’t like betting puck lines of -150 or more because goals are hard to score in the NHL.
Recent trends lean to this one, though. Tampa beat Columbus 7-2 in January and it’s won two of the last three contests against the Blue Jackets by 2 goals or more. There is some concern that they’ll take the foot off the gas with just three games left after scoring 22 goals in three games, however, we’re going to LEAN LIGHTNING -1.5 (-150) for a half-unit.
The Over has cashed in the last five games Tampa was an outright favorite, the last time it was a home favorite and its last six overall. Columbus has posted 4 goals in five of its last 10 games. So we’re going to take the OVER 6.5 (-120).