NHL Picks: Lightning vs. Penguins

Mike Richardson

Sunday, February 24, 2013 7:32 PM GMT

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 7:32 PM GMT

Sunday is no day of rest in the NHL and when the on-form Pittsburgh Penguins host the Tampa Bay Lightning this handicapper is expecting plenty of action, and a big betting win.

SBR NHL  

The day is Sunday the venue is the Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh and the game is very much hockey! Off the ice one of the biggest talking points ahead of this match is the fact that the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby will likely take to the ice (for the first time) against the side that clattered him so roughly into the glass (and caused a season spoiling concussion) back in January 2011. Crosby looks to be back with a vengeance after his lengthy battle with concussion-like symptoms. Every Penguin fan will remember that game on 5th January when Crosby was sent into the glass by Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman. Symptoms lingered and Crosby played just 22 games a year ago as the Penguins had a “disappointing” season.

Enough with seeing stars…WHERE’S THE MONEY MIKE?

Looking back at the 2011 playoffs Pittsburgh won three of four, including Games 5 and 7. Also Tampa Bay were outscored 12-3 on the road against the Penguins (losing both) last season. That points to a home win, and the Penguins winning is at -175 NHL odds with Ladbrokes.

However…

The Lightning are in with a chance of  their first three-game road winning streak since 2011, after Saturday's 5-2 victory over Carolina. That victory also gave them sole possession of the Southeast Division lead. Still the sports books have an away victory at +150 with most sportsbooks.

Could be a tight game

The Lightning are averaging a league-best 3.88 goals per game, while the Penguins are second at 3.28, so the game could well come down to the goaltenders. Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (who, FYI has victories in each of his last four starts) is on 1.00 GAA and has won his last three regular-season home starts versus Tampa Bay.

[gameodds]7/219229/43/us[/gameodds]

History says…

If you look at the last 48 games in this series, we can see the home team is on 27 wins compared to 21 for the road team. That hardly gives you a clear winner and I wouldn’t blame you for betting on the game ending drawn at +300.

In the last 24 games between these sides when Pittsburgh has been the home team, the Penguins have won 12 games compared to 12 wins for the Lightning. Sounds like you should bet on a draw, again!

Personally

I’m going on current form and a little bit of history with my betting.

Thus far this season the Penguins have played 52 games at home, and they’ve averaged 3.6 points per game, and allowed 2.7 points. That translates to a season record of 34-18. So way not, at the very least back the game going over 4.5 at -400, while under is +270. Poor odds but a safe bet.

NHL Picks: Penguins win 4-2, available at +1500 with Betway for your NHL picks.

Get the Hockey Picks of the Day right here to take it to the bookies tonight~
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