NHL Free Pick: Blackhawks vs. Lightning Betting Lines & Preview

Betting On The Stanley Cup Finals?

Stanley Cup Final action sees the Chicago Blackhawks taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 June 3 at Amalie Arena. Cappers Picks provides free NHL handicapping tips all season long.

The Stanley Cup Final kicks off in Tampa Bay on Wednesday night – two skilled, fast teams will do battle for Hockey’s Holy Grail.

Daily NHL Hockey Odds

Chicago at Tampa Bay
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
Broadcast: CBC, NBC, TVA
Blackhawks NHL Betting Odds: +1½ -285 +102
Lightning NHL Betting Odds: -1½ +240 -113 Un 5 +126
NHL Over Under Betting Odds: Un 5 +126,  Ov 5 -139
***2015 NHL BONUSES***
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Both the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning enter Game 1 off difficult seven game series but a few days off should ensure that both teams are ready to go on Wednesday night. So who draws first blood in the culminating series of the 2014-2015 NHL season?

Let’s break it down.

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A lot has already been made about the experience advantage that the Chicago Blackhawks hold over the Lightning in this series – the Hawks have won two of the last five Stanley Cups while many of the Lightning superstars will make their first experience on Hockey’s biggest stage.

That experience level likely won’t be more apparent than in Game 1.

Chicago has won five of their last seven games on the road in the playoffs – pretty impressive. They enter Game 1 playing very well in the offensive zone and averaging 3.29 goals per game so far – much more potent than any team that the Lightning have faced so far in the playoffs.

Everybody seems to be on the Chicago Hot List right now – Jonathan Toews scored five times against Anaheim including twice in Game 7.

Marian Hossa has goals in his last two games and four points in four games, Patrick Kane has 10 goals and 20 points in the playoffs and has five points in his last two games, Duncan Keith has five points in two games, Brandon Saad has five points in four games, Brent Seabrook has four points in four games and even the role players have come up big.

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Andrew Shaw has three points in three games and Andrew Desjardins has two points in two games.

Everyone is contributing offensively for Chicago heading into Game 1 – they are a scary team indeed.

Defensively the Hawks played well against the Ducks despite playing a ton of minutes. Consider Anaheim a good tune-up for what Chicago is about to face. The real story here may be Corey Crawford who struggled at times in the West Final but who has the experience to rise to the occasion in the Cup Final. Crawford is 9-4 with a 2.56 GAA and .919 SV% thus far this postseason.

The Tampa Bay Lightning utilized a terrific offense and some timely goaltending to get to the Stanley Cup Final. They are going to need every bit of each to hoist Hockey’s Holy Grail this year. This is a team that has knocked off some tough teams already this postseason – Detroit, Montreal and the Rangers – there is a ton of belief in the room.

Tampa has gone just 5-5 so far at home this postseason – not great. But the offense has found another gear. Tampa Bay has “The Triplets Lines” still going strong. Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov have given Jimmy Howard, Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist fits.

They have combined for 28 goals (the Lightning have 55) and 55 points. Johnson is first in playoff goals (12) and points (21). Kucherov is fourth in points with 19, including nine goals. Palat has 15 points, including seven goals.

But what makes Tampa dangerous right now is the fact that Steven Stamkos has found his groove and is as dangerous a guy as there is in the playoffs right now. After a rough start to the playoffs Stamkos had seven goals and 14 points since Game 2 against the Canadiens – impressive.

He, Valtteri Filppula’s and Alex Killorn give the Lightning a formidable top line and along with “The Triplets” the Lightning will enter Game 1 with two electric lines.

The underrated Tampa defensive unit will be under siege for sure in Game 1 – the momentum of the visiting team could be too much to handle. That leaves Ben Bishop and his somewhat inconsistent ways to steal the game.

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So far this postseason, Bishop has a record of 12-8 with a 2.15 GAA and .920 SV%. Bishop gave up five goals or more in three games against the Rangers however – not sure how he’ll fare against the terrific Chicago offense.

He is 7-1 with a 1.25 GAA, .951 save percentage and two shutouts in games after losses in the playoffs however and may need a loss in Game 1 to get him going.

NHL Gambling Trends

• CHI are 9-3 in their last 12 overall.
• CHI are 12-5 in their last 17 vs. Atlantic.
• CHI are 33-16 in their last 49 Wed. games.
• TB are 10-1 in their last 11 Wed. games.
• Over is 11-3-1 in TB last 15 Wed. games.
• TB are 37-14 in their last 51 home games.

The Lightning are 4-0 in their last four home games against Chicago.

But the playoffs are a totally different ball game. Expect the Blackhawks top 4 defense to slow down Tampa’s top two lines in Game 1 and for the Lightning to struggle scoring because of that.

Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson and Oduya did a remarkable job against Anaheim’s top 2 lines – expect more of the same Wednesday night.

I also think that Ben Bishop struggles under the pressure in his first Finals start – he seems to only play well after a loss.

NHL Betting 4* Free Play

It all adds up to a Chicago win in Game 1 as the experience gap becomes evident right away.

Chicago Blackhawks +102 NHL Betting and gambling site provides the BEST Online hockey predictions for you to bet on for the NHL hockey season! Stick with us all season long!

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By DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.