NHL Pick: Top Capper Says Lightning vs. Penguins Will Go Over

Dana Lane

Sunday, May 22, 2016 3:00 PM UTC

Sunday, May. 22, 2016 3:00 PM UTC

The Lightning and the Penguins series is tied up at two game apiece as the the two teams shift back to the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh for game five, so come get your NHL Pick.

The Lightning won game four 4-3 behind Andrei Vasilevskiy's 35 save effort to tie the series.

The NHL odds opened the Penguins as definitive favorite of -200 or more in some places. We are going to pass on the Penguins side because on paper I agree with the Penguins being that much better especially with the return of Marc-Andre Fleury back in goal but there are a few variables involved that tends to lead me to the Lightning side but not without the puck-line. 

Matt Murray did a fantastic job leading the Penguins this far but now it's time for the two time All-Star to take the reigns. Fleury was back in the starters net during morning skate which is also a reflection of the large moneyline. Remember, Books make lines to create equal action based on public perception. The public perceives Fleury to be an upgrade so you're going to pay a price for that. When Ben Bishop was lost in game one we saw the game two line close at -230 when insiders knew that Vasilevskiy was more than capable but the books made the public pay a premium for that injury. Penguins won th egame but it wasn't as easy as the public thought. 

There seems to be some debate on who should start in goal and for me there is no controversy. For those who say that Matt Murray should start is like saying Scott Darling should have stayed the Blackhawks goaltender last season when Corey Crawford was ready to play. Murray has done what he is paid to do and that's back up Fleury and he did an amazing job but Marc-Andre was responsible for 35 of the Penguins 48 wins this season and by the way has won a Stanley Cup. He is a big-time goaltender and should be in big-time games.

A bigger concern for Penguins is the loss of defenseman, Trevor Daley who was seen leaving Amalie Arena on crutches after injuring his left foot in game four. Daley didn't take part in morning skate, even though it was optional, but it's fair to expect Olli Maatta to take his place in the line-up. That injury probably played a role in the decision to start Fleury as Mike Sullivan would prefer a veteran netminder down a defenseman. 

The Total opened at five shaded to the 'over' -125 while the first period 'over' offers us another plus money opportunity at +122. I've had some people ask why the first period 'over' is offering plus money but the game is not. The simple answer is there are too many variables, like empty net goals and man advantage goals from pulling a goaltender, at the end of the end that could potentially push the game over the total, variables you don't have in the first period so odds makers are more liberal with the plus money on the 'over'. 

We are going to play the 'over' 5 as our NHL pick, at a better price of -125, down a bit from -135 and the 'over' 1.5 in the first period at +122. For the game it's worth a shot to take the Lightning but let's grab the +1.5 even though -160 is not an idea price to be laying.

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Free NHL Pick: Over 8 -130
Best Line Offered: at Intertops

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