Vegas +145 at Tampa Bay O/U 6
The Vegas Golden Knights qualify under a 20-10 67% betting angle over the last two seasons; bet on teams playing their normal scheduling routine against teams playing their first game following the league mandated five-day break which the Tampa Bay Lightning will be doing tonight. However, that is not the sole reason for backing Vegas tonight. Tampa Bay suffered a massive injury in their last game prior to the break against the Calgary Flames when their stalwart defenseman and one of the best in the NHL at his position Victor Hedman left the game with a left knee injury that has sidelined him for 4-6 weeks which opens up a huge void the Lightning are going to have to fill on their blue line. Hedman plays the most minutes of any Lightning defensemen and plays in all situations so his absence is as big as it gets and the fact, Tampa Bay crumbled mentally and physically getting routed by Calgary 5-1 and falling apart in the moments following Hedman’s departure from the game speaks volumes about the impact he makes on this hockey team and their success. Tampa Bay has had a great first half of the season but they were only an ordinary .500 hockey team just prior to their break going 4-4 in their last 8 games. Vegas is in a solid bounce back spot here in addition to being poised to take advantage of a potentially rusty Tampa Bay squad. The Golden Knights have dropped two games in a row each by a single goal coming out of their 5 day break to Edmonton and Nashville but they outshot those teams by a combined margin of 79-57. They played well enough to win both games and I expect they will turn some of those missed chances into goals tonight. Tampa Bay lost their first game after their mandatory 5 day break period last season dropping a 4-3 game in OT to Dallas and I think they are at risk of losing in this game tonight. There is enough value to step in with a recommendation on Vegas in this +145 underdog price range.