Lightning vs. Sabres Betting Odds, Pick: How To Bet a Rare Weekday Matinee
Tim Fuller, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Rasmus Dahlin
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Buffalo Sabres Betting Odds
- Lightning odds: -170
- Sabres odds: +145
- Over/Under: 6.5
- Time: 2 p.m. ET
- TV: NBCSN
- Location: Stockholm, Sweden
I’ve long said that the NHL should schedule more weekday matinees.
I know players hate them and the union will be salty, but with full-scale legalized betting on the horizon, a once-a-week workday matinee would be an easy way to grab a hold of the ever-growing invested audience without alienating your natural fanbase.
Think about how much better a day at the office seems when you can have a little action on a random MLB matinee.
Would you watch a Tigers-Rangers game on a Wednesday night? Most likely not.
But if you put that sucker on during the middle of a workday? The next thing you know you’re hunched over your coworker’s laptop looking at Matt Boyd’s wOBA against and getting ready for a nice in-office sweat.
That exact scenario can be replicated with the NHL.
And if you’re thinking, “Nobody will watch a Blue Jackets-Canucks game on a Wednesday afternoon,” you’re probably right. But I implore you to flip on the NHL Network at 2 p.m. ET on a random Tuesday. Odds are that they are showing “Youngblood” or a paid infomercial.
That brings us to Friday’s “Global Series” game between the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning.
When it was announced that the Lightning and Sabres would play this two-game set in Scandinavia very few people would have guessed that Buffalo would be the team with the better record, but here we are.
Tampa Bay’s mediocre start has been one of the biggest stories in the first month of the season. After a record-setting campaign in 2018-19, the Bolts are 6-5-2 through their first 13 games and currently sit outside the playoff picture.
The Lightning’s vanilla record is a pretty fair representation for how they’ve played through the first part of the season. Tampa Bay ranks 16th in the NHL with a 50.8 expected goals rate (xG%) and 14th in high-danger scoring chance percentage.
Tampa Bay is too talented to keep operating at this level and at some point you’d have to assume the Bolts will start to put things together.
The Sabres, meanwhile, bring a 9-4-2 record with them to Stockholm. Buffalo’s strong start has attracted a lot of attention, but are the Sabres for real?
A look under the hood suggests reasons to be skeptical. The Sabres are outrunning their peripheral metrics by quite a bit.
Buffalo ranks 25th in the NHL with a 47.4 xG%. The Sabres are scoring 2.34 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 but they are only generating 2.03 xGF per hour. The Sabres aren’t creating enough opportunities to suggest that their hot start is sustainable.
If the Sabres were a dynamite defensive team, I’d be a little more optimistic about their season-long prospects, but they’re mediocre in their own end, allowing 2.25 xGA and 10.24 high-danger chances per 60 minutes at 5-on-5.
But we’re not discussing the big picture here. This is a preview for a single game and the listed odds for this matchup suggest the Lightning win this game 60.7% of the time. I think that’s a tad high and at the current odds it’s Buffalo or nothing, but I’m going to wait until closer to puck drop to see if the price on the Sabres climbs past +150. At that point, I’ll tap Buffalo.