Monday, April 13, 2015

NHL Playoffs 2015: Red Wings Vs. Lightning Prediction

Detroit Red Wings Vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Market Watch

All season I've been high on both of these teams, and while I think the Lightning win this series, I do question the price put up by sportsbooks. Tampa Bay are listed as -192 favorites, which is a 65.8% chance to win the series. The value here is on Detroit, but whether they can make good on that is up for debate.

Bottom Line

The Lightning have controlled the puck more than most of their opponents for the entire season (53.5% SAF). On the flip side, the Red Wings are no pushovers in that category either (52.5% SAF). The Red Wings will start Mrazek in goal, which is the obvious choice given how Howard has played, but does Mrazek have more playoff question marks than Bishop? Bishop has more experience, but there isn't much separating them in raw talent.

Tampa Bay also have serious problems on their power play. No team in the league has a worse PP FF/60 rate. I'd set the short-handed scoring opportunities for Darren Helm at over/under 3.5. 

Therefore, the clear choice here is to take the value with the underdog, right?

I do think Detroit have what it takes to put up a good fight in this series, and if Mrazek plays up to his potential, an upset is entirely possible, but this Tampa Bay team is primed for a cup run. Only the Blues have as much offensive depth up front (Palat-Johnson-Kucherov is the best line in the league), and I like the additions that Yzerman has made since last season. It's a far better team top-to-bottom this year, and I don't know who is going to stop them in the East.

The Bolts are one of my cup picks, so I'm betting on them to win this series in 6 or less.

Pick: Lightning -1.5 (+113) (2u)