Lightning With a Game Under Their Belt

Schedule makers didn’t do the Red Wings any favors. Not only does Detroit open up their season against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs Tampa Bay, but they also don’t even get a rusty Lightning squad after they opened their season Tuesday with a 6-2 loss against Pittsburgh.

Tampa Bay does have a game in, but they also looked pretty bad in the season opener against the Penguins. BetUS has them at +180, and Bovada offers even more ROI at +190. Totals betting is also on the high side for this one, with the O/U set at 6. 

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Lightning a Tough Regular Season Wager

Tampa Bay finished 3rd in the Central last season and still went on to win their second consecutive championship. The Lightning are a veteran team that knows it doesn’t matter what you do in the regular season as long as you turn things on in the playoffs.

Maybe the Lightning had a championship hangover on Tuesday as the team may have been distracted from raising the banner at Amalie Arena. They were down 3-0 before scoring their first goal, and that was against a Penguins team missing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. 

Thursday should mark a nice bounce-back opportunity for Tampa Bay, and oddsmakers agree pricing them at -220 in moneyline betting. On paper, it looks like the Lightning defense struggled on Tuesday – and they did – but three of the six goals from the Penguins were also empty netters. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 32 Penguins shots. 

Detroit the Value Play Here? 

It’s possible that Tampa Bay starts flat for the first couple of games or even weeks of the season because they’ve played a lot of hockey the last two years with deep playoff runs. There may be no better time to take Detroit in Online Sports Betting than on Thursday night. 

The two major problems with betting on Red Wings is that they are in their first game of the season and also were very bad last season. Detroit finished with 48 points which was second-worst in the Central, and their 2.2 goals/game average was 30th in the NHL. 

Detroit didn’t do a ton in the offseason to get better except maybe getting healthier. Tyler Bertuzzi played in just nine games last season, and Dylan Larkin missed some time as well, but both should be healthy for the start of 2021/22. Jakub Vrana led the Red Wings with 36 points last season, but of course, he’s out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. 

Detroit’s offense was bad last season, and their defense was only slightly better, ranking 21st, giving up 3.00 goals/game. One move the Red Wings did make was trading for Alex Nedeljkovic, who was a finalist for the Calder Trophy last season as the NHL’s top rookie but couldn’t come to terms with the Carolina Hurricanes as a restricted free agent. 

Lightning at Red Wings Pick

Tampa Bay doesn’t offer a ton of value with the price tag of -220 for moneyline betting. That’s based solely on how bad the Lightning played in their season opener, but at the same time, having a game in hand vs. a Detroit team that is making their 2021 debut shouldn’t be overestimated either.

Tampa Bay was just 15-10-3 on the road last season, and Detroit will get an extra boost from playing their first game in front of a full capacity of fans for the first time since 2019. Bet on Red Wings to deliver!

Pick: Red Wings +190

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