The worst bets to lose are those close ones. Frankly, I would rather lose horribly than have to sweat it out, but losing close bets are part of the game. I rarely lose badly, so that doesn’t happen often. Last season in the NHL I had the worst stretch of my life for close calls, unfortunately on the wrong side nearly every time. This season I really can’t complain, I haven’t had that many bad beats or ones that make you want to throw your cellphone through the TV and curse up a storm. I had the OVER 5.5 in a 5 goal game the other night, but we can’t be too upset, it has been a great stretch for me with only two losses in my last eleven picks. Just have to put that in the past and move right along, which is the only way to handle sports handicapping, and anything in life for that matter. It was a good game for the Leafs in any case, as they secured the 4-1 win over the Flames. With only two games on the schedule last night we took a pass with a larger docket to pick from Thursday night. We zero in on the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning for our wager tonight.
The Lightning may not have many fans in Tampa Bay, but the Lightning are a legitimate threat nonetheless. They have a stable host of talent on their team, including the ever reliable Steven Stamkos. The talent surrounding Stamkos is quite strong as well. Even with Martin St. Louis leaving the Lightning last season, the team still has a strong core that has the potential to beat any team in the NHL on any given night. Playing in Tampa has been a strong point for this team, and a big reason for why they have an overall record of 18-8-3. The Hurricanes, conversely, have struggled to get anything going consistently with a mark of 8-16-3. That has really been the story for the Canes the past few seasons, as they try and put together a team that can get back to the finals. Remember back then? Times sure have changed quickly. Don’t expect to see Carolina in the Stanley Cup finals anytime soon. Let’s look at their matchup tonight, though, and see if they can make it past the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road.
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Lightning
As I just alluded to, the Lightning are a strong team at home, putting forth a 14-4-1 record in Tampa. Consequently, they are one of the best home teams in the NHL. On the other side is a team that can’t buy a win while they are playing on the road, which is why this team is where they are. The Hurricanes look to improve on their 3-9-1-1 record on the road tonight. It should be a tough task. The Lightning are pretty proficient on both ends of the ice. They have an electric offense with Stamkos, and the defense has been holding their own as well. Tampa is now 1st in the league in scoring, notching 3.45 goals per game, just ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs. But unlike the Leafs, this Lightning team can play defense, which is why they are one of the top teams in the NHL and the Leafs are floating around the middle. The Lightning allow 2.55 goals per game, 11th in the NHL. So, they are the best in scoring and in the top-half of the NHL in defense.
Now the Lightning are one of the best playing at home as well, playing one of the worst on the road. The Hurricanes haven’t been able to score any goals and the offense has been nullified on a regular basis. The Canes are scoring only 2.19 goals per game, ranked 29th in the NHL. They aren’t very elite on the defensive end either, as they are 19th in the NHL, allowing 2.74 goals a game. That puts them in the bottom half of the league. This pick looks too easy, but it should be able to hit relatively easily. I am not saying to go and bet your whole bankroll on it, however, the Tampa Bay Lightning appear to be a good bet tonight.
Pick – LIGHTNING -1.5 (+130) @ 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)