The Pittsburgh Penguins missed an opportunity to gain more ground on first-place Washington with a frustrating 2-1 shootout setback against Philadelphia on home ice on Thursday night. They will look to rebound today against one of the NHL’s worst teams in the Buffalo Sabres.
Let’s take a look at this matchup, the fifth of eight between the teams this season, from a betting perspective in our Sabres vs. Penguins betting preview with odds, picks and predictions.
Despite their overtime setback, the Penguins picked up a point and are now within three points of the first-place Washington Capitals. The Penguins have a game in hand. The Sabres’ hopes to contend ended long ago in the midst of a stunning 18-game winless streak.
However, Buffalo has been playing spirited hockey since that streak, going 5-2-2 over its last nine contests. That stretch includes a 5-2 upset win in Washington earlier this week.
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Sabres vs. Penguins Betting Pick
Pittsburgh’s offense was rolling the game against the Flyers. With the addition of Jeff Carter at the trade deadline, conventional wisdom suggested that it would be even better. But Philadelphia goalie Carter Hart had a superb game to deny the Penguins.
Still, they have scored 30 goals in just seven games this month and beat the Sabres badly all four times they have faced them this season, outscoring Buffalo by a 17-4 margin.
Meanwhile, Buffalo’s offense is dreadful. They rank 29th in the NHL, scoring with just 2.37 goals per game. However, in this nine-game stretch since their winless streak, the Sabres have outscored their opponents by a 34-27 margin, averaging 3.78 goals per game.
The problem for Buffalo today, and moving forward, is starting goalie Linus Ullmark was hurt earlier this week, and latest reports suggest he could be done for the season, meaning the Sabres will now have to rely on the well-traveled Dustin Tokarski in goal on most nights.
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Sabres vs. Penguins Odds
Here are the odds for Penguins vs. Sabres at DraftKings Sportsbook:
Spread: Penguins (-1.5 -110), Sabres (+1.5 -108)
Moneyline: Penguins (-275); Sabres (+225)
Over/Under: Over 6 (-117)/Under 6 (-104)
Bets We Like With a Penguins Win
Sidney Crosby 2+ points (+150, DraftKings)
Crosby has been red-hot in April for the Penguins. He has three goals and seven assists for 10 points, meaning he’s accounted for scoring in exactly one-third of the Penguins’ goals this month. He also has two goals and five assists for seven points in just four games against the Sabres this season, good for nearly two points per game.
With the odds in your favor, take a chance that Crosby gets on the scoresheet twice, especially with the Pens being a heavy favorite as they face an AHL goalie.
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Bets We Like With a Sabres Win
Sabres to win (+225, DraftKings)
This one is pretty simple. If you believe in the Sabres turnaround over their last nine games, and you think there’s a chance they catch the Pens napping in an afternoon road game, then simply picking the Sabres to win should bring a great return on investment.
This is the first of five straight home games for the Sabres against Pittsburgh and Boston, and home underdogs have been a nice play, especially in the first of back-to-backs this season. Don’t make it a big bet, but something palatable with a chance to more than double that money is worth a small investment.
Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
OVER 6 goals (-117, DraftKings)
This looks too easy. We outlined the Penguins’ recent offensive prowess above (the Flyers loss aside). We also mentioned the Sabres are now turning to a third-string goalie while noting Buffalo’s recently improved scoring attack. This one could reach the six-goal mark by the second period.
Penguins vs. Sabres Prediction
Pittsburgh is the better team with more riding on this outcome than Buffalo, but the Sabres have been playing plucky hockey lately. It’s possible they could match the Penguins chance-for-chance for a little while.
We already told you we like the over in this spot, even at 6 goals, but maybe consider bumping the total down to 5.5 and parlay it with a Penguins victory to get the odds in your favor (+116, DraftKings). Make it Penguins 5, Sabres 3.
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