After a brief resurgence of competitiveness following their epic 18-game winless streak, the Sabres hit the skids again and lost seven of nine. However, they’re back on the upswing after a pair of victories against the New York Islanders earlier this week closed off the home portion of their season schedule, and they’ll now wrap up their season with a pair of games in against the Penguins.
Let’s take a look at this May 6, 2021 matchup from a betting perspective in our Sabres vs. Penguins betting preview with odds, picks, and predictions.
The Penguins are in a slugfest with the Capitals for the top spot in the East Division as both teams have 73 points, but the Caps still have a game in-hand with less than a week remaining in the regular season. The Penguins enter this two-game series with Buffalo coming off of a comfortable 7-3 win over the Flyers that followed an embarrassing 7-2 loss the night before.
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Sabres vs. Penguins Betting Pick
The Sabres have not yet secured the worst record in the NHL, giving them the best chance at the No. 1 overall draft pick in the upcoming draft lottery, but their magic number is down to one. That means one more point lost by Buffalo , or one point earned by both Vancouver and Anaheim, guarantees the Sabres the best odds in the lottery.
As such, the Sabres might want to finish strong to have something to build off of going into the summer, but at the same time, they don’t want to miss out on the potential to draft another top-end prospect like they did with Jack Eichel a few years ago.
Meanwhile, the Penguins’ offense continues to pour it on. They’ve scored 70 goals in their last 18 games (3.89 per game), and have welcomed back players like Evgeni Malkin and Kasperi Kapanen in recent games, giving the team a wealth of depth up front that is going to make it a matchup nightmare in the playoffs.
Sidney Crosby (2G, 1A) and Jake Guentzel (1G, 2A) had three-point games against the Flyers, while Marcus Pettersson (1G, 1A) and Malkin (2A) also had multi-point games last time out.
When these two teams most recently met in Buffalo, they split a weekend series. The second meeting that weekend is the only Buffalo win over the Penguins this season, as they’re just 1-5 in the head-to-head matchup to this point.
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Sabres vs. Penguins Odds
Here are the lines for Sabres vs. Penguins odds at DraftKings Sportsbook:
|Penguins||+1.5 (-286)||-105||O 5.5 (+115)|
|Islanders||-1.5 (+230)||-110||U 5.5 (-139)|
Penguins Bets We Like With a Pittsburgh Win
Penguins to score first and win the match (-162, DraftKings)
It’s definitely hard to lay odds like -345 for a team to win a game, even if they figure to outclass an opponent. That said, we recommend a combination bet to cut those odds in half and make it a little more palatable for your bank roll.
The Penguins have scored first in each of their five wins this season against Buffalo. The only time they didn’t, the Sabres won.
Considering the Penguins have something the play for and Buffalo would like that first overall pick, it’s a good bet that the Penguins are the team that comes out of the gate fast tonight.
Sabres Bets We Like With a Buffalo Win
Sam Reinhart OVER 0.5 Points (-106, FanDuel)
Reinhart has played in 14 of the 15 games Buffalo has won this season. He has registered at least one point in 11 of those games. You have to think if Buffalo is going to win here, Reinhart is going to contribute. He has taken the mantle as the best Sabres scorer with Eichel sidelined for most of the year, so if you like the Sabres, take Reinhart to get on the scoreboard in some way.
If you are feeling frisky, 14 of Reinhart’s 25 goals this season have come in Buffalo victories. So, you could take him OVER 0.5 goals at great odds as well (+225, FanDuel).
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Penguins -2 AND UNDER 6.5 goals (+265, DraftKings)
When games appear lopsided going in, we try to find exotic bets that have a decent chance of hitting to bring you a better return. In this instance, we recommend bumping the game line from 1.5 to 2 while backing the Penguins and moving the over/under up a half-puck to take the under.
In four of the five Pittsburgh wins over Buffalo, the Pens have won by three goals or more. In four of the six games between the teams, the total has been under 6.5 goals. These odds are especially in your favor considering the circumstances surrounding this game tonight.
Sabres vs. Penguins Prediction
The Penguins need to win to remain alive for the top seed. The Sabres are looking at tee times as early as Sunday. We don’t want to pick a shutout, but that’s highly possible as well (and a good bet at +600 with DraftKings). We just know Pittsburgh should win this one going away, while totally limiting Buffalo.
Pick: Call it Penguins 4, Sabres 1.
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