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Adrian Dater for Bookies.com

By Adrian Dater | | 4 mins

Lightning vs Panthers Odds, NHL Playoff Picks & Predictions

Lightning vs Panthers Odds, NHL Playoff Picks & Predictions

Floridians normally like to be outdoors in all that great weather, but they have a good excuse to go inside to freezing buildings now. It’s the Tampa Bay Lightning vs the Florida Panthers in Round 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs. 

It’s the first time the teams have ever met in the postseason, and it figures not only to be a fun series because of the in-state rivalry, but it should be some great hockey, too.

Let’s take a look at the series from an NHL betting perspective:

Panthers vs Lightning Odds

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Panthers vs Lightning Betting Tips

First off, I think this will be a lower-scoring series than some others, even though both teams have a lot of offensive talent. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy looked like his dominant self again in Game 7 of the first round against Toronto, and you have to like the NHL odds of him keeping the momentum and the Lightning rolling. I'll actually take the under on games more often than not, probably.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper usually devises better defensive schemes as the playoffs move along, and he knows the Panthers very well having played in the same division all year. 

Tampa Bay is still fresh from beating Toronto and seems to enjoy playing on the road as a villain, so I like the Bolts on betting sites to take Game 1. Florida should win Game 2. The teams split four regular-season games.

Florida's leading scorer Jonathan Huberdeau had only one goal in the six games of the opening round, and I expect him to do more than that this time. Don’t be shy in taking Huberdeau in goal prop bets in the first two.

For Tampa Bay, take Nikita Kucherov on betting apps to hit the over for points. He’s heating up again, with six points in the first round.

Currently, the odds are +600 at DraftKings that the series will end in six games. I love the price on that and it's one of my favorite NHL picks. We’ve seen a lot of Game 7s, so that probably explains the rather low price of +200 on that series total.

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Panthers vs Lightning Series Prediction

This is a very tough series to call. While I picked the Lightning to win the opening round against Toronto, I feel like the Bolts might finally have met their match here.

Florida did not look all that awesome in the first round, but they dug deep and got it done despite some adversity. Florida has faster forwards, and it’s a deep group. Defensively, Florida is sound, though Victor Hedman is the best defenseman in this series. He usually is regardless of matchup.

The biggest question for Florida: Goaltending. Sergei Bobrovsky had just a .906 save percentage in the first round. That needs to be better against Tampa Bay or the Bolts will likely be going to another Eastern Conference Finals. Vasilevskiy is the X-factor in the series, but he looked only average much of the time in the first round, too.

Are the Panthers truly ready for this? Or, are they still learning how to win and not quite ready for prime-time?

That’s a tough question, but I’m going to take a leap of faith and pick the Panthers to end Tampa Bay’s two-year Cup reign. I'm going with the Panthers in six games, which you can get at +440 with FanDuel Sportsbook.

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About the Author

Adrian Dater for Bookies.com
Adrian Dater
Adrian Dater writes about the NHL for Bookies.com. The longtime NHL writer spent 25 years at The Denver Post, 20 of which as the beat writer of the Colorado Avalanche.