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NHL Odds & Picks for Sabres vs. Flyers: Buffalo Remains Undervalued (Jan. 19)

NHL Odds & Picks for Sabres vs. Flyers: Buffalo Remains Undervalued (Jan. 19) article feature image

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images. Pictured: Jack Eichel.

  • After winning on Monday night in Philadelphia, the Sabres find themselves as underdogs yet again against the Flyers.
  • Philadelphia is a bookmaker's favorite right now after a strong end to last season and performance in the playoffs.
  • Pete Truszkowski is backing Buffalo with plus odds and explains why.

Sabres vs. Flyers Odds

Sabres Odds +140 [BET NOW]
Flyers Odds -167 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 6 [BET NOW]
Time 7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Monday evening and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Less than 24 hours after the Buffalo Sabres laid a 6-1 beating on the Philadelphia Flyers, the two teams will face off again in the City of Brotherly Love on Tuesday night.

Curtis Lazar and Sam Reinhart scored twice for Buffalo on Monday night, while both Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall had three points.

Will we see a similar result on Tuesday in the second half of the back-to back games?

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Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo was a trendy pick by a lot of people to take a step forward this season. The Sabres made the biggest signing of the offseason when they added Hall. They also added Eric Staal to anchor the second line while bringing in players like Cody Eakin, Riley Sheahan and Tobias Rieder to shore up the bottom-six forward spots.

Buffalo’s offense has plenty of potential with the new acquisitions. Eichel has established himself as one of the best players in the league, but he no longer has to carry the franchise on his shoulders with Hall and Staal around. Players like Reinhart, Victor Olofsson and Jeff Skinner have all produced in their careers, and Buffalo will look for them to add secondary scoring. Dylan Cozens is a highly regarded rookie who should improve as he gets his legs under him. 

In defense, the Sabres are led by Rasmus Dahlin, the first overall pick of the 2018 NHL Draft, as he grows into a franchise player on the backend.

The Sabres’ team defense has been impressive to open the season as they have the second best expected goals against (xGA) per 60 minutes in the league through the opening five days of the season. Buffalo’s 1.36 xGA/60 mark is impressive when you consider it has played the Capitals twice and the Flyers. 

While the forwards have potential and the defense has been impressive, the question for the Sabres comes in the crease. Carter Hutton got the start in Monday’s game and was impressive, stopping 21 of 22 shots. The Sabres will likely turn to Linus Ullmark in the second half of a back-to-back, which is a good thing for them since Ullmark is the better of the two netminders. Ullmark has had his moments in his NHL career but is yet to fully put it together enough to inspire much confidence. 

Philadelphia Flyers

Much was made of the Flyers in the second half of last season and in the bubble. Prior to the regular season being suspended in 2020, the Flyers were the hottest team in the league and had just come off a nine-game winning streak.

In the postseason, they eliminated the Montreal Canadiens and then pushed the New York Islanders to a Game 7 in the second round. 

While the Flyers are a good team, I don’t buy them as one of the elites in the league like the betting market seems to suggest at times. Their underlying metrics last season were more aligned with an average team.

Coming out of the gate this season, their gameplay is nothing to write home about. The Flyers have the third worst expected goals (xG) rate in the league at just 41.84%. It’s early and I expect that to tick upward, but their 2-1 record is doing a lot to mask some issues here. 

The Flyers were dealt a major blow in game two of the season when Sean Couturier left with an injury, forcing the standout two-way center out for a few weeks. Not only will the Flyers offense take a hit without their number one center, but Couturier is normally tasked with neutralizing the other team’s best offensive line.

Morgan Frost has been inserted into Couturier’s role. While Frost is a promising young player, he has a long way to go until he can be counted on to replace Couturier. 

Carter Hart has been the main reason why the Flyers have had so much success despite a pedestrian analytical profile. Hart is to Flyers goaltenders as Baker Mayfield is to Cleveland Browns quarterbacks. This franchise has been waiting a long time for a guy they can trust and who can perform at a high level at the most important position. Much like the Browns, it looks like the Flyers finally have their guy. 

Unfortunately, Hart was not good in Monday’s game against Buffalo and was pulled after four goals on 22 shots through a period and a half. Did he get pulled in order to preserve him for the second half of the back-to-back, or did his performance earn him a night on the bench?

We won’t know until closer to puck drop, but if Brian Elliott gets the start for the Flyers, it’s a big-time downgrade. 

Sabres vs. Flyers Best Bet

The Sabres won on Monday night as +135 underdogs and it looks like the oddsmakers are not admitting their miscalculation and are hanging a similar number for the rematch. 

While Philadelphia will surely be motivated to rebound after an embarrassing performance, the line is just too high.

The Sabres have performed very well and have been one of the better teams in the league defensively to open their season. They also saved their better goalie for the second half of the back-to-back. 

I think the Flyers are overrated by the oddsmakers after a nice stretch to end last season. While good, this line implies the Flyers are one of the elite teams in this league and I don’t buy that. There’s also the chance that Carter Hart doesn’t play in this game which would weaken the Flyers chances. 

At these odds, I roll with the Buffalo Sabres. I feel comfortable betting them at any price above +125.

Pick: Buffalo Sabres +140 (+125 or better)

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