Stanley Cup Final Game 3 best bets: Tightening the screws in Tampa

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The Colorado Avalanche have jumped out to a 2-0 series lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning. While Colorado has looked like the much better team, it's the total that appeals most to me in Game 3.

Let's dig deeper into that, as well as a couple of player props.

Avalanche (-105) @ Lightning (-115)

Seven goals were scored in each of the first two games, pushing the total over on both occasions.

There's reason to expect different as the series shifts back to Tampa. For one, the two sides haven't exactly been trading chances. They've combined to generate 4.39 expected goals per game thus far.

Even with the shooting talent each side possesses, you'll generally see plenty of unders with that kind of output.

Andrei Vasilevskiy has looked a little out of sorts through two games, but I wouldn't expect that to continue. He's consistently bounced back after hitting a rut, and he owns a .947 save percentage on home ice this postseason.

The Lightning are also much, much better defensively in their own building. At five-on-five, they've conceded 2.19 expected goals and 8.31 high-danger chances per 60. Oh, and opponents have scored only six five-on-five goals through eight home games.

Their road numbers don't exactly compare. The Bolts have allowed 2.64 expected goals and 11.74 high-danger chances per 60 while conceding 25 times over 11 contests away from Tampa. That's a stark contrast.

I'm not suggesting the Lightning will all of a sudden neutralize the high-powered Avalanche. But there's reason to believe there'll be tighter checking in Tampa, just like in each of the first three rounds.

Bet: Under 6 (-125)

Victor Hedman over 2.5 shots (-137)

We've targeted the Avalanche with defenders all season long, and there's no reason to stop now. The Lightning play a lot of low-to-high hockey in the offensive zone - especially at even strength - which is why it's no surprise to see that their top three players in shot attempts this series are defenders.

Unsurprisingly, Hedman is leading the pack. He attempted seven shots in the series opener and came through with three on target last time out.

We're going right back to the well with Hedman in Game 3. Not only are the Avalanche a fruitful matchup for big-minute defenders with a willingness to shoot, but Hedman also stands to benefit from home ice. He's averaged well over six attempts per game in Tampa during the playoffs, which leads the Lightning.

He's as likely as any to test Darcy Kuemper as the Bolts try to claw their way back into the series.

Cale Makar over 2.5 shots (-180)

Makar has been an absolute monster this postseason, and not just at home. The blossoming superstar has 13 points through eight road games - no Avalanche player has more than eight - and has attempted 46 shots in that span.

Nathan MacKinnon, who has 50 shot attempts on the road, possesses one of the highest shooting floors and ceilings in this spot. His shot line sits at 4.5, which should put Makar's value in perspective.

Defensemen don't hit the net at the same frequency as forwards since their shots generally come from further out. Makar is always up in the play, though, and he's as threatening as any blue-liner in the sport.

Look for him to be heavily involved in the attack and generate his share of shots.

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

Stanley Cup Final Game 3 best bets: Tightening the screws in Tampa
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