The Stanley Cup could be handed out to the Colorado Avalanche tonight, but the Tampa Bay Lightning have to let go of it first. The two-time defending champs avoided elimination in Game 5, and now have a chance on home ice to force a Game 7. This betting guide will give some of the best value plays for this pivotal Game 6 with the Avs holding a 3-2 series lead.
Colorado Avalanche (-115) vs Tampa Bay Lightning (-105)
After falling behind 3-1 in the series thanks to a huge goal from Colorado’s Nazem Kadri, the Lightning came up with a massive 3-2 victory in Game 5. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was the hero, stopping 35 shots. He has north of 34 saves in each of the last three games, and the Lightning haven’t trailed in either of the last two games, except for the instant Kadri’s overtime goal hit the back of the net.
Colorado hasn’t lost back-to-back games this entire postseason, and they’ve only lost one game on the road the entire playoffs. That was Game 3 in Tampa Bay when the Lightning piled up six goals and caused Avs goalie Darcy Kuemper to get pulled. But Kuemper has been as locked in as Vasilevskiy since then and has allowed just two goals in each of the previous three games following a loss. Expect Colorado to bounce back once again, and take the Avalanche (-115) to close it out on the road.
Over/Under: Over 5.5 (-130)
The over hasn’t hit in the last two games, but the number keeps dropping, and getting a total of 5.5 goals in an Avalanche game is almost unheard of. The total has gone over this number in 12 of Colorado’s 19 postseason games, and in five of the last six meetings between these two teams in Tampa Bay. Things have tightened up a bit in the series, and things have gotten lower-scoring for the Lightning the longer series have gone.
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Once past Game 3 in a series, the under is 7-2 for Tampa Bay, and both games that went over were against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round. But Colorado has been a different animal. The shots are going to keep on coming, and both goaltenders started showing some cracks with some soft goals in Game 5. Look back towards the over (O5.5, -130) in Game 6, with high potential for an empty-netter in play, too.
Prop Bet: First Period Spread (Tampa Bay -0.5, +175)
Tampa Bay has led after the first period in each of the last three games, and that includes two games at home. The Lightning are trying to avoid elimination and are back in the friendly confines of Amalie Arena, where the first period has been very good to them. Tampa has led or been tied after the first period in nine of their 10 playoff games at home this season. The only outlier was the Lightning’s first home game of the playoffs, a 5-2 loss to Toronto in Game 3 of the first round, all the way back on May 6.
The Lightning have also scored a first-period goal in four of the five games this series, and with Vasilevskiy delivering spectacular goaltending lately, this seems like a good play. Tampa has turned things around from the first two games of this series where they allowed a total of 11 goals, and expect another fast start from them at home. This series has tightened up, but there is a lot of value in taking the Lightning to lead after the first period (+175).
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
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