There are a lot of jobs you can be kind of good at and keep. You know, like a weatherperson. One job where getting things right only some of the time will get you fired quicker than a Stamkos one-timer is oddsmaker. To me it’s fascinating how good the men and women that set lines for spots games are at being right where they need to be to bring money into the sportsbook. Remember their job isn’t too be right, it’s to set a number that will get people to bet evenly on both sides. With that in mind, lets look at some of the early lines for the Tampa Bay Lightning 2021-22 NHL season.
First the total number of points the Lightning will accumulate in the season is set at 108.5 according to our friends at www.betonline.ag (who we will use for all of these bets). That’s a pretty healthy number. In fact, it’s the second most in the league behind only the Colorado Avalanche’s 110.5. In case you were wondering, the lowest total is 68.5 for the Arizona Coyotes. Oof.
For the Lightning to achieve 109 points (believe it or not the NHL hasn’t figured out how to award a 1⁄2 point yet, but I bet they are working on it) and hit the over on the bet they would need to pick up 66.4% of the maximum points available to them throughout the season (82 games x 2 points for a win). That seems like a lot at first glance, but last season, when they pretty much mailed in the final week or so, they still managed to pick up 67%. Nine teams in the league hit that number or better with Colorado besting the league at 73.2%.
In 2019-20 they collected 65.7% of the points available to them and in 2018-19 they pulled in an amazing 78.1%. That really way a great regular season, wasn’t it? In order for the Lightning to get to where they need to be they will need to put together a couple of nice point streaks. Winning streaks are always nice, but picking up the Bettman point in overtime or shootout losses also helps grind away at that number.
Is this team, as it’s currently constructed, good enough to hit that mark? In my opinion - yes. While the depth will be tested, the important parts of the roster - top six forwards, top four defensemen, Andrei Vasilevskiy - remain. Even at 85% of the talent of the last couple of teams they’ve put on the ice in recent seasons they are still one of the best teams in the league and should be favored to win pretty much every night they take the ice.
Would I bet this number? Probably not. Personally, I’m not a fan of season-long bets simply because there is too much uncertainty in the sport. One major injury, one long losing streak, one COVID shutdown and they’e behind the eight-ball chasing that number. Also, the payout isn’t really worth it. The odds are -115 for either the under or the over on the number ( if you’re not familiar with gambling think of it as you having to bet $115 to win $100). If I am going to go long term I want to have better than even odds.
If I was going to put down a season-long wager on the Lightning I’d lean to something like them winning the Atlantic Division at +150 (bet $100 and win $150) or the Stanley Cup at +625. At least then I’d be looking at a nice return for the money tied up in a long-term bet. I don’t think winning the Cup at those odds is a bad bet, that number probably won’t change much barring a major injury. Not as big of a fan of the Division-winning bet. This team isn’t focused on winning the Atlantic Division. They just want to be healthy heading into the playoffs, if that costs them a division-banner so be it. They can win on the road or at home, they don’t care. Let Florida win it (+375) and then beat the Cats in the playoffs (again).
As for individual awards? Nikita Kucherov is currently at +1100 to win the Hart Trophy with only Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, and Auston Matthews posting lower odds. Could Kuch rampage his way through the regular season now that he’s healthy again? You’re darn right he could.
Vasilevskiy is the favorite to win the Vezina at +400 (had to use Bovada odds on this one). Again, not a bet I’m a big fan of right now. With one of the best defensive lines in hockey torn away from him along with a few question marks outside of the top four on defense, his numbers could be a little off in the regular season. Again, I don’t see this number moving too much early in the regular season, so you can probably grab him at a similar number in December or January if he is putting together a lights out season.
Generally, I’m not a huge fan of betting on or against the Lightning. Why add more stress to watching the games throughout the season? Also, I live in a state that is steadfastly against gambling of any form so it makes it a little tougher.
Make sure if you do make a wager or two, stay within your limits. Gambling can be addictive so if you think you may have a problem, or know someone that might, there are resources that can help.
Lightning / Hockey News
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Flew to Hungary on Tuesday making it the 30th country the #stanleycup has visited. After driving thru Hungary we were given a Slovakian escort by the Police to the home of Erik Cernak @nhl@TBLightning @HockeyHallFame pic.twitter.com/EB0T5Zdapp— Philip Pritchard (@keeperofthecup) September 1, 2021
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