Lightning vs. Panthers Game Picks
Two bitter rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers, will face off tonight in an Atlantic division tilt from FLA Live Arena.
All Odds Courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook
Tampa Bay Lightning (-113) vs. Florida Panthers (-106) Total: 7 (O +118, U -144)
It’s safe to say that the Florida Panthers haven’t forgotten the Tampa Bay Lightning have knocked them out of the postseason for the past two seasons, including being swept last year. There have been changes to both rosters entering this matchup, but both are still projected to be competitive teams in the Eastern Conference. The issue for the Panthers right now is on their backend after their number one defenseman Aaron Ekblad suffered an injury and is out indefinitely. The team isn’t deep on defense, and this is a significant loss for them.
Even with injury concerns, the Panthers have won three of their first four games, while the Lightning are struggling out of the gate, posting a 1-3 record. When these two teams get together, there’s always great drama and some back-and-forth hockey, which should be no different in this early-season matchup.
The Lightning enter this contest on the first leg of a back-to-back, but the expectation is that they’ll still go with their top goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. On the other hand, the Panthers should turn towards Sergei Bobrovsky. The Panthers goalie is off to a solid start, posting a 2-1 record with a .919 save percentage, while the Lightning netminder is 1-2 with a .912 save percentage.
Florida will enter this matchup at -106, while the Lightning are priced at -113. After playing in three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals, the Lightning are starting slow down. Still, they have the Panthers’ number over their reign in the Atlantic division and have a reasonable moneyline price.
Best Bet: Lightning moneyline (-113)
Regarding the total, it’s almost as if the oddsmakers are begging you to buy the over. The total is set at seven, with the over priced at +118, while the under sits at -144. When these two teams played during the regular season last year, two matchups would have gone under the total, and two would have gone over it. It will be challenging to lean one way or another, but with the Panthers’ blue line having so many holes and both teams with a lot of offensive star power, it’s hard to look away from the plus-money value the over presents at +118.
Best Bet: Over 7 (+118)
Despite the relatively slow start to the season in terms of wins and losses, the Lightning have still been able to post some big offensive numbers. One of their best offensive players is winger Nikita Kucherov, who’s posted five assists in the team’s first four games. In 27 games against the Panthers, Kucherov has tallied 35 career points. With his skill, it’s not hard to see him having a day against this lackluster Panthers defense. As a result, there’s value in looking towards Kucherov to record a multi-point game tonight at +148.
Best Prop: Nikita Kucherov Over 1.5 Points (+148)