Is There Value With the Tampa Bay Lightning to Three-Peat?

The Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning will kick off the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals series on Wednesday from Ball Arena.

Below are some notable series odds from the FanDuel Sportsbook.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Odds, Total

Series Betting: Tampa Bay Lightning  (+155) | Colorado Avalanche (-180)

Total Games: 4 Games (+550), 5 Games (+240), 6 Games (+205), 7 Games (+200)

Tampa Bay and Total: Lightning in 4 (+1600), Lightning in 5 (+980), Lightning in 6 (+570), Lightning in 7 (+610)

Colorado and Total: Avalanche in 4 (+820), Avalanche in 5 (+410), Avalanche in 6 (+440), Avalanche in 7 (+410)

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Series Analysis

The Lightning are the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions, and they’re set to make their third straight Finals appearance, which is unheard of in the salary cap era. On the other end of the spectrum, the Avalanche were finally able to break through in the Western Conference and get out of the second round. Colorado did it in style, only taking 14 games to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. Tampa Bay had a more challenging road, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games, the Florida Panthers in four, and the New York Rangers in six. There’s a lot to like about both of these teams, and this would have been the best matchup if you had to pick two teams to collide when the postseason opened up. 

Heading into the Stanley Cup Finals, the Avalanche will have home ice and have looked like a juggernaut from the jump. Meanwhile, the Lightning have used prior experience to gain strength as they’ve progressed. The Avs will have been off for nine days before Game 1, which could make things difficult, much like we saw after the Lightning’s long layoff ahead of the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs, Colorado has faced David Rittich, Connor Ingram, Ville Husso, Jordan Binnington, Mike Smith, and Mikko Koskinen. The Avs haven’t met a tough goalie challenge, but that’s about to change with the Lightning ready to send out one of the best goalies of this generation, Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Russian netminder struggled at times in the first round against the Maple Leafs, and it probably isn’t a coincidence that the Lightning have played much better as Vasilevskiy improved through each round. The Lightning goalie won the Conn Smythe Trophy last season and should be in the running once again this year. Whoever the Avalanche start, whether that’s Darcy Kuemper or Pavel Francouz, the Lightning will have a distinct advantage in goal.

There’s also a case to be made that the Avalanche haven’t met a defenseman of Victor Hedman‘s caliber in these playoffs. The Swedish defenseman has once again been a key cog on the backend for the Lightning, and he’s going to cause issues in transition for this Avs team with his elite gap control and strong puck possession. Cale Makar has a great chance to counteract that for Colorado, but we’re probably looking at a wash between two of the best defenseman in hockey.

Brayden Point might be the biggest X-factor in this series for Tampa Bay. According to head coach Jon Cooper he’s expected to be able to play at some point in this series, which will be a massive boost to the team. With injury concerns surrounding Nazem Kadri for the Avalanche, getting Point back early in the series could give the Lightning an edge up the middle.

If you look at the current series pricing on both the Lightning and Avalanche, you can make a real case that there’s value with the Lightning winning the series in six (+570) or seven games (+610).