The Tampa Bay Lightning dominated the NHL this season. The team tied the NHL record for regular-season wins with 62. Then the Lightning rolled into the NHL Playoffs last week as heavy favorites to win the Stanley Cup.
But now it’s a different story. Tampa Bay’s hockey team stands on the verge of an epic first-round collapse. One that could very well be considered one of the biggest upsets in NHL history.
After another win Sunday, the Columbus Blue Jackets are up 3-0 in the first-round best-of-seven series against Tampa Bay.
Columbus will head into Tuesday night’s Game 4 with a chance to make history by sweeping the NHL’s best regular season team out of the playoffs. And that gives anyone in the eight states where sports betting is now legal the chance to bet on either the Blue Jackets closing it out or the Lightning starting a miraculous comeback.
NHL sports betting basics
Basic betting on NHL playoff games is quite similar to betting on the NHL during the regular season. The main difference is that in the playoffs you can wager on the outcome each seven-game series. Plus, individual games and who will win the Stanley Cup.
Basic NHL Playoff bets available at most legal sportsbooks across the US for Game 4 of the Lightning-Blue Jackets series and all the other NHL Playoff action includes:
- Futures – Bets on which team will win each playoff series, conference, or the Stanley Cup. Odds are adjusted as the playoffs continue.
- Moneylines – Bets on a single NHL playoff game paying out at odds set according to each team’s probability of winning. All you have do is pick the winner.
- Puck Lines – Bets on a single NHL playoff game with a point spread factored in. All you need to do is make the correct prediction with puck line factored in.
- Totals – Bets on whether the total number of goals scored in a particular NHL Playoff game will land over or under a line set by oddsmakers.
- Parlays – A single bet combining two or more basic NHL Playoffs bets. Parlays pay better than individual bets, but you need to win every leg.
NHL Futures see dramatic changes
However, it moved back up to around +500 by the time the Lightning were down 2-0. Plus, it should climb even more ahead of Tuesday’s Game 4.
With the Lightning faltering, almost every other team has seen dramatic changes in their odds of winning it all as well. For example, the Blue Jackets were a +2000 longshot at the start of the season, but have dropped down to +1200 or better now.
The Lightning were heavy favorites to win the first-round series with the Blue Jackets before the puck dropped on Game 1. Now, following Game 3 Sunday, 888 Sport in New Jersey had the odds flopped completely, with Tampa Bay at +500 to win the series and Columbus at -770.
This moment could represent a rare opportunity to get a great price on a 62-win team that was once the favorite.
If the Lightning somehow survives this series, the futures prices will certainly correct themselves. However, the Lightning is just one game from elimination and sportsbooks winning any and all bets on the team.
Lightning-Blue Jackets Game 4 lines
Oddsmakers appear to think the Lightning aren’t going to go down without posting at least one win. Game 4 will be played in Columbus, but Parx Sportsbook in Pennsylvania had the moneyline as Tampa Bay -141 and Columbus +117 immediately after Game 3.
Similar lines should be available at legal sportsbooks in:
- West Virginia
- Rhode Island
- New Mexico (At Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel only)
If you’re anywhere near one of these states, enjoy the chance to get in the action as history is quite possibly made in the first round of the NHL Playoffs. Then, take your winnings and let it ride as the chase for Lord Stanley’s cup continues.