NHL Betting Odds and Picks (Monday, March 9): Capitals vs. Sabres, Golden Knights vs. Oilers and More

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Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Ovechkin

Mar 09, 2020, 06:20 PM EDT
  • The updated odds of tonight's NHL matchup between the Capitals and Sabres make the Caps favorites (-160) on the road.
  • Michael Leboff previews Monday's slate, including Capitals vs. Sabres and more.
  • Check out his betting preview and picks below.

A few weeks ago, everybody in hockey was praising the strength of the Metropolitan Division and snickering at the anybody-can-win Pacific Division.

Things have changed a bit.

There’s less than a month to go in the NHL regular season and every contender in the Metropolitan Division outside of the Philadelphia Flyers has stumbled, while a few teams in the Pacific Division — Vegas, Edmonton and Calgary — are making a late-season push.

Oh, and a night after they beat the Boston Bruins, the Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

Hockey continues to make little sense.

Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres

  • Capitals odds: -165
  • Sabres odds: +145
  • Over/Under: 6.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

I wouldn’t say the Washington Capitals are a paper tiger — they have a lot of talent and won a Stanley Cup despite some mediocre 5-on-5 metrics two years ago — but I remain skeptical that Washington is as much a contender as its record makes it out to be.

The Capitals rank 16th in the NHL with a 50.3% expected goals rate at 5-on-5 on the season and they’ve been trending down of late. Washington sports a 48.7% expected goals rate and is allowing 3.3 goals per 60 minutes (5-on-5) in that span. The Caps can outscore some of their flaws, but this is a defense that is playing with fire.

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