First and last will meet for the second straight day, as the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning finish off a two-game set Sunday. The Lightning skated away with a narrow 2-1 victory on Saturday after failing to add to their early 2-0 lead.
Although the Wings’ season is done, the Bolts are in a tight, three-team race for the top spot in the Central Division. Picking up two points on Sunday is critical for Jon Cooper’s defending champs.
Oddsmakers have the home side as a massive -385 favorite with the total opening at 5.5.
Here are our free picks and predictions for Detroit Red Wings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning for Sunday, April 4 (12:00 p.m. ET).
Red Wings vs Lightning odds
NHL sharp money and line movement reportBy Patrick Everson
It's arguably the NHL's best team against one of its worst teams, so Tampa Bay opening a hefty -375 at DraftKings perhaps shouldn't be a surprise. That was the price Friday evening, and it initially dipped to -360, then returned to-375, got as low as -345 this morning, game day, and is -360 less than 30 minutes before puck drop. The Lightning are taking 87 percent of tickets and 92 percent of cash on the moneyline. The total is at 5.5 (Under -120), with 57 percent of bets on the Under and money running dead even.Check out the full line movement for this game
Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning betting preview
Red Wings: Jonathan Bernier G (Questionable), Tyler Bertuzzi F (Out), Bobby Ryan F (Questionable).
Lightning: Nikita Kucherov F (Out), Erik Cernak D (Out).
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Betting trend to know
The Under is 7-1 in the last eight matches in Tampa Bay. Find more NHL betting trends for Red Wings vs. Lightning.
Yesterday, in the first of the two-game set, the Lightning were a ridiculous -400 favorite, meaning the Wings were +300 on the moneyline. Those were the highest odds Tampa has seen all year, with a -380 back in February in a 3-1 win over Detroit. At +300, we’ll be looking for any reason to take the Wings on the backend of a back-to-back and playing competitively yesterday despite the outcome.
Coming into the series, Detroit had picked up five of a possible eight points in its previous four games but the road has not been kind to the eighth-place team this year. Heading into the series, Detroit has managed just three wins across 18 road matches in 2021. Detroit is the worst road team per a points/game standpoint and faces a Tampa club that is 15-3 SU on home ice. But +300 is +300. Let’s keep digging.
Detroit did take three of four points from the Lightning back in March, including a 6-4 victory over Tampa back-up Curtis McElhinney. The Wings also took No. 1 goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to OT and potted three goals against one of the league’s best.
With Vasilevskiy starting yesterday, the Bolts will likely go with the No. 2 on Sunday. McElhinney is 3-5 SU on the season and owns five of the Bolts’ 11 losses. The backup goalie has just one win in his last five starts and has surrendered 16 goals on 126 shots for a .873 save percentage. McElhinney hasn’t been a very busy No. 2, which only works against Tampa if they do start him Sunday.
Jonathan Bernier (lower-body injury) could draw the start for the Wings with Thomas Greiss starting on Saturday. Bernier has been out for two weeks but practiced on Friday and has a great chance of starting Sunday. He owns the better numbers of the two Detroit goalies and has a winning record of 8-6 SU on the year. The Detroit netminder has seen the Lightning once this year and came away victorious.
The Wings have not had much success with the man advantage this season, but they should get a few cracks with the power-play on Sunday. Tampa is the most penalized team in the league and is the only team to take more than four penalties per game. If Detroit is going to pull off the upset, they’ll have to take advantage of Tampa’s generosity.
Playing on Sunday afternoon is nothing new for Detroit, either. The Wings are 2-2 SU in their last Sunday matinees which include wins as +210 and +145 dogs.
Schedule-wise, the Lightning will take off after Sunday’s game as they hit the road for the next eight days which includes stops in Columbus and Nashville. Detroit has the advantage of not having to worry about the lookahead, while Tampa will be doing nothing but scoreboard watching till the playoffs.
PREDICTION: Detroit ML (+310)
Detroit has been one of the better Under teams all season, with a 13-23 O/U mark entering the two-game series. The Red Wings failed to hit an Over in seven of their previous eight matches before traveling to Florida, while the Under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings in Tampa.
Offensively, the Red Wings have struggled to put up points all year as they sit near the league basement in goals per game at 2.16 per match. The power-play has not generated much success either this season, going 13 for 110 (11.8 percent).
Tampa may have the league’s second-best power-play, but at home, it has been league average. On the road, the Lightning PP is scoring a league-high 31 percent, but that success rate falls to 23.6 percent at home — good for 15th in the league. Detroit is a below-average team in terms of taking penalties on the year.
We still like the Wings on the ML, but know that it won’t be easy to score for their struggling offense. The Bolts have been stingy all year at home and are giving up just 2.06 goals per game on home ice.
Bernier was in great form before going down with an injury on March 18. The veteran goalie had allowed more than three goals in just three of his last 14 starts. If Bernier does draw the start, he should be fully rested, healthy and ready to pull off the unlikely upset.
It always seems that Sundays are low-scoring affairs — the Under is 12-4 over the last three Sundays and that’s what we’re banking on this afternoon.
PREDICTION: Under 5.5 (-120)
Red Wings vs Lightning betting card
- Detroit ML (+310)
- Under 5.5 (-120)
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