The fifth installment in the series shifts back to Tampa Bay one more time for a Saturday night tussle between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The series has set off a few trends that are noteworthy. These may or may not serve you well, but they should act as a guideline for potential betting picks in this pivotal Game 5.
This now comes down to a best-of-three series. Most thought it would be 3-1 in favor of Chicago by now. However, Tampa has proven to be tougher than people thought. As a matter of fact, despite injuries, they have controlled more of the overall action than the Blackhawks have.
Jon Cooper and company have to be credited for devising a plan that mostly neutralizes Chicago’s top players despite not winning many faceoffs. There are a few contradictions but Tampa Bay has managed to use a style that would work better only if they had a little more puck luck.
Flurries Don’t Help Often Enough Betting Wise
The Lightning mounted a big Game 4 rally late, but all those chances and nothing going in has been a microcosm in these flurries for both teams. Too many times both teams have done this where it looks like they are doing a ton and yet the shots counter does not go up though the scoring chance one might. At one point Tampa was outshooting Chicago 11-3 early in Game 4 and then Tampa went into a cold stretch that lasted over a period.
Tons of posts were hit on Wednesday night too. The iron probably was more dented than it had been in weeks. For Tampa to win, it comes down to these flurries resulting in more goals.
With the Lightning having the last line change, they have to dictate play through sustained offense. Flurries are great, but not finishing and playing safe is death still. The only reason this series is tied is that Chicago has actually played a hair better in the bigger moments while Tampa’s flurries have not provided much fruit.
Finally Some Conflict In The Betting Line
This is rare for this time of year, but you will notice a little back and forth among the casinos, bookies, etc. On Friday afternoon, the lunchtime snapshot of the Vegas money lines from Vegas Insider were full on intrigue.
|06/13 8:05 PM
10 Tampa Bay
A good part of this has to do with the uncertainty of the status of Ben Bishop.
The mysterious undisclosed injury kept him out of Game 4 and is looking almost as iffy for Game 5 on Saturday night. His chances are less than 50-50 at this point.
Two Lightning goalies at practice but no Ben Bishop. #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/gh5iIambdW
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) June 12, 2015
With no real information to share, we have to go on what we can actually see. No Bishop means there is still a significant problem. He could still play on Saturday though. That is why you see the over/under back and forth between 5 and 5 1/2. What is more peculiar is the money line. That ranges from -120 for Chicago to -125 for Tampa Bay.
If you are wondering about the betting puck line, then wonder no more. The MGM Grand actually has Tampa on the plus end of the puck line which means they have Chicago as the favorite. These numbers are so wacky and wild for a Game 5 and indicate the volatility in betting on this game.
Even the first period line is all mixed up, so this really comes down to which casino or bookie you go with at this point. This may be the toughest game to gauge and that makes it the most fun. There are lots of variables including Chicago who has been pummeled repeatedly. Their hit differential basically indicates they have been checked over 800 times this postseason and yet they have found a way to survive. Tampa, despite injuries and inconsistency, has found a way to get to this point as well.
It all comes down to who gets that final goal it seems. Will we see an overtime? There sure are a lot of questions.
Final Betting And Judgment
With lots of moving parts, we have to rely on our gut, which did a much better job in Game 4. Take Tampa with the Chicago hedge on the puck line (where Chicago is not the favorite). The biggest key with the spread is to take advantage of Vegas and pick your spots wisely here. This game may push at 5 but it may not. So go with the over if you can get it at 5. Otherwise it may be best to play it safe for now.
Saturday evening will tell us more betting fans. Until then, thanks for reading!