Things were wild and wooly in the penultimate game of the regular season between the Sabres and the Penguins. Jeff Carter scored four goals for Pittsburgh in an 8-4 track meet of a victory.
Let’s take a look at this May 8, 2021 matchup from a betting perspective in our Sabres vs. Penguins betting preview with odds, picks, and predictions.
After getting some unexpected help from the rival Flyers Friday, who defeated Washington, the Penguins can clinch the East Division today with some help. A Penguins win in regulation forces Washington to win both of their remaining games in regulation to leapfrog Pittsburgh. If the Pens win in overtime or a shootout, Washington would still need to win both games, but only one in regulation. A Penguins victory coupled with a loss by the Capitals against either Philadelphia tonight or Boston on Tuesday would clinch the division for the Penguins.
Meanwhile, Buffalo’s loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday guaranteed the Sabres’ the NHL’s worst record and the best chance at the No. 1 overall draft pick in the upcoming draft. Saturday will mark their final hockey game of the season and they face a summer of upheaval.
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Sabres vs. Penguins Betting Pick
The interesting thing about this final game of the season, which certainly has more meaning for Pittsburgh than it does Buffalo, is that it will be played by a couple of minor league goalies.
Buffalo has been leaning on ECHL netminder Michael Houser as their goaltending situation has been a total mess this season. They have used six different goaltenders — in a shortened season no less.
Meanwhile, both of Pittsburgh’s regular goalies are out of the lineup. Tristan Jarry has an upper body injury and Casey deSmith has a lower body injury. Reports are that both will be ready for the playoffs, but in the interim, the Penguins will have to rely on a minor league goalie to try and win them the East crown. As such, look for Maxime Legace to make his first NHL start in more than two years.
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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 -1.5 AND OVER 6 goals (+165, DraftKings)
The Penguins are a heavy favorite, so why not parlay two bets to get the odds in your favor? The Penguins should cover that 1.5 goal spread easily. We just don’t see Buffalo putting up a huge effort today. And if the last game featured 12 goals between these two teams, and there are now two minor league goalies this time, going OVER 6 ought to be a breeze.
Sabres Bets We Like With a Buffalo Win
Sam Reinhart OVER 0.5 goals (+220, FanDuel)
Reinhart has been the best player on a bad team this season. He has 25 goals for the Sabres, and 14 of those tallies have come in wins. It’s unlikely the Sabres will win this game, but it’s still worth it to give Reinhart some love in his final game of the season. Going against a third-string goalie, Buffalo should get a few looks, and Reinhart deserves at least one more for playing so hard in such a lost season for the Sabres.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Sidney Crosby OVER 0.5 goals (+136, FanDuel)
Crosby needs one more goal to reach 25 goals for the 12th time in his illustrious career. Players know things like this. Teammates know things like this, and although priority number one for the Penguins is a regulation win today, priority number two is going to be to get Sid No. 25.
Sabres vs. Penguins Prediction
We can’t stress how much we like the OVER in this game. If nothing else, bet that (-125, DraftKings). But the Penguins are going to win this one going away, and it shouldn’t even be a concern.
Pick: Penguins 6, Sabres 3.
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