NHL Picks for Lightning vs. Blue Jackets

David Lawrence

Monday, January 13, 2014 1:11 PM GMT

11 points separate the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference standings but both teams enter Monday’s affair with some momentum. Traditionally, this has been an under series as 11 of the last 13 meetings have stayed under the number. Is Monday’s game going to continue that trend?

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":252686, "sportsbooksIds":[43], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

The Tampa Bay Lightning can win because…

They’ve been on a roll lately. The Lightning are 9-3-1 in their last 13 games and that’s mostly because their offense has been working like a well-oiled machine. Tampa Bay has scored three or more goals in six of their last seven while averaging 3.6 goals per game in that span. Although their 13-9-2 road record doesn’t look that impressive, they’ve actually been far more reliable in road games in the last couple of weeks. The Lightning have won seven of their last eight away games and are now a healthy +5.9 units (12-7) when on the road facing a total of 5.5 on the hockey odds board.

The Blue Jackets are enjoying a nice little spell but on the year, they haven’t fared well against teams above .500. The Blue Jackets are just 7-13 when facing a winning team (-5.1 units) while Tampa Bay is 17-7 against teams below .500. The choice for your NHL picks is pretty clear.

The Columbus Blue Jackets can win because…

They’ve been playing well over the last couple of weeks. They’ve won three straight and seven of their last 10. It’s no coincidence that some of that hot streak has coincided with the return of Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who has a shutout and two wins since returning from his month-long absence.

The Lightning are banged up these days as they’re without their two best players: Stampkos and goaltender Ben Bishop. The Lightning are not the same team without Bishop as they are 22-5-3 with him in the lineup and just 5-9-1 without him. Monday is a good spot to take a shot with the Blue Jackets for your sports picks.

Also make sure to check out our 2014 Winter Olympics Ice Hockey Odds Preview

Outlook & Pick

Both teams are playing well these days but I’m going to side with Columbus. They’ve got their top goalie back while the Lightning are without theirs. That’s going to be the difference.

NHL Pick: Blue Jackets -115 at Pinnacle