The Pittsburgh Penguins found a more challenging opponent than they may have anticipated when they arrived in Buffalo, and smart Penguins betting money can take advantage. The Buffalo Sabres gave them all the Penguins could handle on Saturday. Still, the Penguins emerged victorious 3-2. They have earned points in five straight games and taken over second place in the East Division.
Let’s take a look at this matchup, the sixth of eight between the teams this season, from a betting perspective in our Penguins vs. Sabres betting preview with odds, picks and predictions.
The Sabres continue to play better hockey since their epic 18-game winless streak. They are now 5-3-2 over their last 10 games. Buffalo officially became the first team eliminated from playoff contention with their latest loss to the Penguins. Still, their run of better play has been more about earning jobs for next season than it was about getting back into the playoff race. Look for more of the same from the Sabres moving forward.
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Sabres vs. Penguins Prediction
Pittsburgh has Buffalo’s number this season. The Penguins have won all five games played between the teams and outscored the Sabres 20-6. The Penguins are surprising a lot of the hockey world with their excellent play despite missing so many key players due to injury, and now, as they slowly return to health, Pittsburgh believes it has a team that can make waves in the playoffs.
Despite their better play of late, the Sabres still struggle to score, averaging just 2.36 goals per game. That has improved to 3.60 goals per game in this 10-game stretch, but they don’t seem to have an answer for the Penguins. Buffalo is averaging just 1.20 goals per game against the Penguins.
It’s worth noting that Buffalo is without both of their top two goalies, and third-stringer Dustin Tokarski played both Thursday and Saturday, meaning the Sabres will likely have to go to a fourth-string goalie on Sunday.
While it had not been announced at the time of this writing, neither Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen nor Michael Houser, who are next on the depth chart, have ever seen NHL action. When Buffalo and the Penguins had back-to-back games in late March, Tokarski started both.
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Sabres vs. Penguins Odds
Here are the odds for Penguins vs. Sabres at DraftKings Sportsbook:
|Penguins||+1.5 (-286)||-105||O 5.5 (+115)|
|Islanders||-1.5 (+230)||-110||U 5.5 (-139)|
Bets We Like With a Penguins Win
Sidney Crosby 2+ points (+150, DraftKings)
This pick didn’t hit yesterday as Crosby only recorded one point, but we’re going back to the well today for the same reasons we identified Saturday.
Crosby has been red-hot in April for the Penguins. He has three goals and eight assists for 11 total points, meaning he’s accounted in some way for exactly one-third of the Penguins’ goals this month. Also, in five games against Buffalo this season, he has two goals and six assists for eight points – meaning he’s averaging more than a point per game. With the odds in your favor, take a chance Crosby gets on the scoresheet twice, especially with the Pens installed as a heavy favorite and possibly facing a goalie making his NHL debut.
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Bets We Like With a Sabres Win
Sam Reinhart OVER 0.5 goals (+260, FanDuel) or Victor Olofsson OVER 0.5 goals (+280, FanDuel)
One thing that has been almost automatic in every Buffalo win this season – either Sam Reinhart or Victor Olofsson, or both, score a goal.
Buffalo has only 11 wins all season. Either one or both of these guys have scored in nine of those 11 victories. They have both only scored in a win twice, so you have to figure out which one you want to ride if you’re looking for a quality bet that carries long odds.
From this perspective, Olofsson might be the slightly better choice. He has scored two of the six goals this season against the Penguins, while Reinhart has been held scoreless to this point.
Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Penguins to win AND OVER 5.5 goals (+130, DraftKings)
The only reason we are suggesting to take the over/under line down a half point is that Buffalo struggles to score against the Penguins, so if you can get that six-goal total as a win instead of a push, then it’s certainly to your benefit.
Pittsburgh should win this game. They saw Buffalo’s best and were still able to win on Saturday. Give yourself a better payday with this parlay.
Sabres vs. Penguins Prediction
The Sabres did a nice job defensively in front of Dustin Tokarski on Saturday but still fell behind the Penguins early in the game.
With a rookie goalie possibly making his NHL debut, it’s going to be tough to slow the Penguins this time around.
Pittsburgh’s offense is explosive but has only posted five goals over its last two games against inferior opponents.
Don’t expect that to last long.
Betting Pick: Penguins 5, Sabres 2
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