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Eastern Conference Final Betting Preview

The last time the Tampa Bay Lightning reached a conference final they went on to win the franchise’s only Stanley Cup. Tampa Bay is a series underdog at +144 at Sports Interaction when they begin the Eastern Conference final against the Boston Bruins in NHL playoff betting action Saturday.

Boston has home-ice advantage throughout the series and Sports Interaction has the Bruins as a -140 favorite for Game 1 at TD Garden. The posted OVER/UNDER total is set at 5.5.

Both teams have depth, but the secondary scoring of Tampa Bay with Sean Bergenheim (a team-best seven goals), Dominic Moore (eight points in 11 games), and Teddy Purcell (11 points in 11 games) has taken the strain off superstars Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.

Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, and others have provided some depth for the Bruins, and the goaltending has been as steady as ever. Patrice Bergeron is leading the team with 12 points in the playoffs, but he suffered a concussion and is most likely out for Game 1 and possibly the series. This could give the edge to Tampa Bay in terms of depth in a long series.

This series could be tight from start to finish with the way both teams swept through No. 1 and No. 2 seeded Washington and Philadelphia in their second-round playoff matchups. It could come down to depth, where the edge goes to Tampa Bay, while the goaltenders are pretty even with Tim Thomas and Dwayne Roloson.

The Bruins are series favorites, but taking the road underdog Tampa Bay Lightning could be worth the payout. Boston won three of four during the regular season and they will garner most of the attention from bettors at least for Game 1 on the NHL betting lines.

Tampa Bay has gotten that much-needed exceptional playoff goaltending from Roloson. This boosts a team’s confidence offensively when they know the last line of defense is as strong as Roloson has been; he gives them a chance to win every night with his impeccable .941 save percentage.

While both goaltenders should keep the floodgates from opening, it should be pointed out that four of the last six head-to-head matchups have made winners of OVER bettors in totals betting.