Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Free Pick

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

Two squads that are squarely in the playoff picture, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs meet at Air Canada Centre for a divisional showdown. The puck drops at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, January 2, and it can be seen live on TVA Sports.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Odds

Tampa Bay enters the game as the favorite with a -130 moneyline. The line for Toronto sits at +110 and the oddsmakers have set the Over/Under (O/U) at an even 6 goals (-110 for the over, -110 for the under).

Tampa Bay is 28-10 straight up (SU) and has netted 13.6 units for moneyline bettors this season. Through 38 regular season outings, 22 of its games have gone over the total, while 16 have gone under and none have pushed. This 2017-18 Lightning team is 12-6 SU on the road.

Tampa Bay currently touts the second-strongest power-play unit in the NHL, as it’s scored on 25.9 percent of its extra-man advantages this year. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 23rd overall, and the teams successfully killed off 79.1 percent of its penalties.

For the team as a whole, the Bolts have been penalized 4.2 times per game overall during the 2017-18 season, and 5.2 per game over its last five road outings. The team has been forced to defend opponent power plays 11.6 minutes per contest over their last five road games.

Averaging 28.5 saves per game with a .935 save percentage, Andrei Vasilevskiy (25-7-1) has been the primary option in goal for Tampa Bay this season. If head coach Jon Cooper chooses to rest him, however, the team might turn to Peter Budaj (3-4-1 record, .878 save percentage, 3.80 goals against average).

Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos will both lead the offensive attack for the visiting Lightning. Kucherov has 56 points via 25 goals and 31 assists, and has recorded multiple points in 19 different games. Stamkos has 17 goals and 32 assists to his credit (and has logged a point in 26 games).

On the other bench, Toronto is 23-17 straight up (SU) and has netted 1.6 units for moneyline bettors this season. 21 of its games have gone over the total, while 16 have gone under and just three have pushed. This year, the teams 11-5 SU at home.

The Maple Leafs have converted on 21.9 percent of their power play opportunities this year, a mark that places it in the top-10 among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 10th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 82.7 percent of all opponent power plays.

Maple Leafs players have been sent to the penalty box 3.7 times per game in total this season, and 4.6 per game over their past five outings. The teams had to defend opponent power plays just 8.3 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Frederik Andersen (31.3 saves per game) has been the primary selection in goal for the Maple Leafs. Andersen has 20 wins, 12 losses, and one OT loss to his name and has registered a .920 save percentage and 2.71 goals against average this season.

The home team will be led on offense by Auston Matthews (17 goals, 14 assists).

Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs Betting Picks

Predictions: SU Winner – Lightning, O/U – Under

Betting Trends

  • Tampa Bay is 2-1 in games decided by a shootout this season while Toronto is 2-1 in shootouts.
  • The total has gone over in four of Toronto’s last five outings.
  • Over Tampa Bay’s last ten games, six of them have been decided by two or more goals (the team is 5-1 in those games).