Tampa Bay Lightning at Columbus Blue Jackets odds, picks and predictions

SPORTSBOOKWIRE

The Tampa Bay Lightning (50-22-8) go north to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets (36-37-7) Thursday at Nationwide Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+). Below, we look at the Lightning vs. Blue Jackets odds and lines, and make our expert NHL picks, predictions and bets.

These two conclude their home-and-home Thursday after Tampa disposed of Columbus 4-1 at Amalie Arena Tuesday. Lightning C Steven Stamkos lit the lamp twice for the second game in a row. He has 6 goals and 8 assists in the last 4 games to put him over 100 points for the first time in his career. He’ll be aggressive in this one as he sits at 39 goals on the season.

Columbus has really struggled offensively recently, and part of it is that RW Patrik Laine has been out since April 16. The Jackets have one win since, but they are 20-15-5 on home ice.

Lightning at Blue Jackets odds and lines

  • Money line: Lightning -300 (bet $300 to win $100) | Blue Jackets +230 (bet $100 to win $230)
  • Against the spread (ATS): Lightning -1.5 (-120) | Blue Jackets +1.5 (-105)
  • Over/Under (O/U): 6.5 (O: -110 | U: -110)

Lightning at Blue Jackets projected goalies

Brian Elliott (11-3-3, 2.33 GAA, .914 SV%, 1 SO) vs. Elvis Merzlikins (26-22-7, 3.25 GAA, .906 SV%, 2 SO)

The Bolts should go with the 37-year-old backup here because there’s no real reason to use Andrei Vasilevskiy. Elliott hasn’t faced Columbus this year, but he has been great in April with a 4-0-1 record, 2.18 GAA and .910 SV% with 1 SO.

Merzlikins has had one of his best months of the year with a 2.62 GAA and .923 SV% across 11 games. He stopped 28 of 32 in the loss Tuesday, which was his only game against Tampa this year. He’s two games removed from a 33-save win over the Edmonton Oilers.

Money line

Tampa is pretty much locked into its spot in the playoffs. They’ve won four in a row and six of seven. It’s certainly plausible they dial it down to come out healthy. This one is your choice to take Columbus on the money line or take the goal of insurance on the spread. LEAN BLUE JACKETS (+230).

Against the spread

The best bet on the board here is the BLUE JACKETS +1.5 (-105). The vig is on Tampa to run away with this one, but they travel to face the New York Islanders next. I’ll back the home team to get a little revenge.

Over/Under

The Under cashed Tuesday, thanks in part to Columbus only scoring once. The Under is 7-1 in the last eight Tampa has been favored on the road. The juice was on the Under earlier this morning, which means the public must be backing the Over, and we don’t follow the herd. Columbus isn’t likely to win a 4-3 game, and we like them in this spot. LEAN UNDER 6.5 (-110).

Author: Lucy Green