The NHL betting board for Monday is headlined by a game between two of the league's top teams as the Carolina Hurricanes face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Lightning are the defending Stanley Cup champions and have the second-best odds to win the Cup this season but it's the Hurricanes who sit atop the highly competitive Central Division, two points ahead of the Bolts despite playing one fewer game.
Here are our best free Hurricanes vs. Lightning picks and predictions for Monday, April 19, with the puck dropping at 7 p.m. ET.
Hurricanes vs Lightning odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
Compare NHL odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.
NHL sharp money and line movement reportBy Patrick Everson
Tampa Bay landed on FanDuel's odds board as -122 chalk Sunday evening, stretched to -130 overnight, dipped to -120 this morning and is -126 as of 4:15 p.m. ET. It's two-way moneyline action, with 52 percent of tickets on the Lightning and 55 percent of money on the Hurricanes. The total is stable at 5.5, with 57 percent of tickets on the Over and 52 percent of cash on the Under.Check out the full line movement for this game
Hurricanes vs Lightning betting preview
Hurricanes: Teuvo Teravainen LW (Out), Brock McGinn LW (Out).
Lightning: Steven Stamkos C (Out), Jan Rutta D (Out), Nikita Kucherov RW (Out).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Hurricanes are 1-11 in the last 12 meetings in Tampa Bay. Find more NHL betting trends for Hurricanes vs Lightning.
The Hurricanes are third in the NHL in point percentage and have won five of their last seven games, with both losses in that span shockingly coming at home against the Red Wings. The Canes are once again one of the league's toughest teams to score against, ranking fourth in the league in goals allowed with 2.37 per game.
Their offensive play has been a pleasant surprise with Rod Brindamour's squad tenth in the league with 3.16 goals per game and ranking second in high danger chances per 60 minutes.
The Lightning are fourth in the NHL standings when it comes to point percentage but their play has been a bit up-and-down lately as they have split the previous six two-game sets they have played in.
The Bolts are third in the league in scoring with 3.36 goals per game, while ranking eighth with 2.59 goals per game allowed. That said, the latter number has been inflated by the brutal play of backup goalie Curtis McElhinney as starter Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is expected to get the nod tonight, is 26-8-4 with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.
These are two of the best teams in the league and while they have split the first six games in the head-to-head this season, the Lightning won both of the previous games in Tampa Bay by a combined score of 6-1.
That's been a common theme for Carolina over the last several years with the Canes picking up just one win in their last 12 trips to Tampa Bay. The Bolts are 37-14 in their last 51 games at home and being able to back them at Amalie Arena at close to a pick'em price with Vasilevskiy in nets is simply too good to pass up.
PREDICTION: Tampa Bay (-120)
The Lightning have been an offensive juggernaut for the last few years but have played below expectations for the last month, and recently added star center Steven Stamkos to the IR.
The Bolts have scored three or fewer goals in 12 of their previous 13 contests, averaging 2.62 goals per game during that span. Thankfully Vasilevskiy's brilliance in nets has kept them in the win column.
In an era in which many teams platoon with two goalies, the 'Canes have been rolling with three, but they've all been very effective. Alex Nedeljkovic got the start in Carolina's 3-1 win over the Predators on Saturday, which means Petr Mrazek or James Reimer will likely get the nod today.
Mrazek is 5-1 with a 1.41 GAA and a .944 SV%, while Reimer has a 2.68 GAA with a .907 SV% across a much larger sample size of 19 games. With how great both of these teams have been in nets, the Under looks like the obvious play and the betting trends also back that up.
The Bolts are 9-4-1 to the Under in their last 14 home games while the Hurricanes are 5-0 to the Under in their previous five games as underdogs on the road. With these teams also going 1-6-1 O/U in the previous eight meetings in the head-to-head, expect this game to go below the total.
PREDICTION: Under 5.5 (-110)
Hurricanes vs Lightning betting card
- Tampa Bay (-120)
- Under 5.5 (-110)
Picks made on 4/19/2021 at 9:38 a.m. ET
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