Our resident NHL handicapping professional shares his thoughts on Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series between Tampa Bay and Montreal on Friday. His betting preview article on this contest concludes with a money line selection.
Lightning and Canadiens to open Series on Friday
The Montreal Canadiens host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Friday at 7:05 PM ET. According to the NHL betting odds at GTBets, Montreal is a -135 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.0.
Tampa Bay dominated Montreal in their five meetings during the 2014-2015 regular season campaign. The Lightning won all five games and outscored the Canadiens by a wide margin of 21-8. They also held a huge territorial edge in those five encounters by having a cumulative 191-125 shots on goal advantage. Putting all of those head-to-head numbers into proper perspective, the Lightning had a +2.6 goal per game differential, +13.2 shots on goal per game differential, and they averaged a robust 38.2 shots on goal per game. Four of the five games went over the total.
How they advanced to Conference Semifinal Round
The Tampa Bay Lightning is coming off a tougher than expected opening round playoff series versus the Detroit Red Wings. The Lightning prevailed in a series that went a full seven games, and was culminated with their 2-0 home win during Game 7. Tampa Bay was able to overcome a 3-2 series deficit, and the first lead they held came at the conclusion of the final game.
The Montreal Canadiens are coming off a hard fought six game series versus the Ottawa Senators. The Canadiens star goaltender Carey Price was brilliant in the series clincher by stopping all 43 shots on goal in their Game 6 win at Ottawa.
NHL Betting System
Tampa Bay is coming off a 2-0 home win over Detroit in Game 7 of their opening round series. Montreal is coming off a 2-0 win at Ottawa which closed out their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. The combination of these two results sets up a rare, but extremely profitable betting system, and it certainly has aced the test of time. I’m going to utilize this valuable handicapping tool when making my NHL picks on Friday.
Any money line road underdog (Tampa Bay) of +100 to +150, coming off a home win in which they shutout their opponent, and is facing a team (Montreal) coming off a road win by two goals or more, resulted in that road underdog going 21-6 (77.8%) since 1996.
NHL Pick: Tampa Bay +115 on the money line over Montreal at GTBets.