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Tampa Bay Lightning Odds - The future isn’t now, but it’s not far off

Posted by Don Melrose on 4/24/2012 11:37:12 AM
hockey linesAfter last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning odds are sure to frighten most hockey betting fans. A year ago, Tampa was a hot sleeper pick, having retooled with a pile of veteran free-agent signings. Then the Lightning totally flopped – enough to earn the No. 2 overall pick in the draft this past summer. It’s not a question of if they’re rebuilding now – just how long it will take.

Tampa Bay Lightning Odds: Youth movement will score, allow many goals

  • Offense won’t be a problem; Tampa has four excellent scorers up front
  • Hedman, Ohlund make Tampa defense legit for the first time since Dan Boyle left town
  • Is Mike Smith the answer in goal?

Tampa Bay Lightning odds maker breakdown: OFFENSE
If Tampa has a single strength this season, it’s scoring. Vincent Lecavalier suffered through his worst season in years in 2008-09, perhaps distracted by trade rumors. He’s a virtual lock to return to elite scoring levels this year and he’ll have plenty of help. Martin St. Louis remains a reliable sidekick; Steve Stamkos blossomed late in his rookie season; Alex Tanguay is a great playmaker who can hang with any top-six forward; Ryan Malone is good for 25 or so goals.

Tampa Bay Lightning odds maker breakdown: DEFENSE
The biggest influence on Tampa’s online sports betting odds this season should be the blueline. Andrej Meszaros and Paul Ranger were a subpar top two last year, but how about them as No. 3 and 4 defenseman? Tampa drafted Victor Hedman, the NHL’s most hyped defense prospect in years, with the second pick in the draft. He has Chris Pronger’s size and, supposedly, Nik Lidstrom’s skating and vision. High praise. With newly signed Matthias Ohlund, a veteran and fellow Swede, in town to mentor him, Hedman could make an impact right away. Tampa’s “D” is a work in progress, still a young group that will make mistakes, but it’s on the rise.

Tampa Bay Lightning odds maker breakdown: GOALTENDING
Here’s Tampa’s biggest weakness. Is Mike Smith really the goalie of the future? At 27 years old, he’s not exactly young, and he has battled concussion issues. He and Antero Niittymaki form one of the weaker tandems in the league, though Smith has the ability to prove me wrong.

Tampa Bay Lightning odds maker breakdown: SPECIAL TEAMS
Look for Tampa’s power play to improve significantly this season. Alex Tanguay is a master at dishing to the trigger men with the man advantage and Hedman could mature into a quarterback as early as this season. The Lightning’s penalty kill was a liability last year and should be again this year.

Tampa Bay Lightning odds maker breakdown: SEASON OUTLOOK
Tampa learned from last offseason’s mistakes, opting to spend and draft wisely this time around. The pieces are in place for a rise to playoff contention, but the kids won’t mature into complete players overnight. Expect improvement, but the playoffs are probably a year away.

For full Tampa Bay Lightning odds, check out the sportsbook. Keep reading the Betting Edge for more top-notch sports betting analysis.

Who better to offer great sports betting and hockey tips than a native Canadian? Like any good Canuck, Don Melrose eats, sleeps, breathes and bets hockey, making him the perfect NHL handicapper. Thoughts or questions?



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