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Avalanche vs. Sabres NHL Odds, Picks, Predictions: How To Target the Total (February 19)

Avalanche vs. Sabres NHL Odds, Picks, Predictions: How To Target the Total (February 19) article feature image
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Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Goaltender Darcy Kuemper #35 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on with teammate Jack Johnson #3 against Cody Eakin #20 of the Buffalo Sabres

  • Looking for the latest NHL odds as the Buffalo Sabres host the Colorado Avalanche? We’ve got you covered.
  • The Avs have been firing on all cylinders while Buffalo has been stumbling, but defensive struggles on both sides make the total an exciting bet in this showdown.
  • Find our analyst’s prediction and pick below.

Avalanche vs. Sabres Odds

Avalanche Odds -350
Sabres Odds +290
Over/Under 6.5
Time 1 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

It’s best versus worst when the Colorado Avalanche travel to take on the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday afternoon. The Avs have been riding hot, going 18-1-2 since the start of 2022. Conversely, the Sabres have been anchored to the bottom of the standings, putting together the sixth-worst points percentage in the league. That jump in quality is reflected in the betting price, but a few metrics worth considering suggest that this inter-conference matchup could be a high-scoring affair.

Colorado Avalanche On a Roll

The Avs have been one of the most prolific offenses in the league this season. Colorado has scored the second-most goals and attempted the fifth-most shots, averaging 4.0 goals and 35.2 shots per game. Despite those solid metrics, the Avs offense has been cooling off recently, staying under the total in six straight contests. We’ve seen a marked increase in their production metrics and are expecting output to follow.

The Avs have been more assertive than usual, recently attempting 11 or more high-danger chances at five-on-five in each of their last two games, including 23 quality opportunities against the Dallas Stars two games ago. Still, Colorado has recorded just three goals in that span, despite the substantive boost to its production metrics. That’s part of a more significant trend in which the Avs have scored just 16 goals across their past six games while putting up 12 or more high-danger chances across all strengths in four of those contests. We’re anticipating increased scoring from the Avs, which should come against the Sabres.

However, we can’t look past the Avs’ questionable defensive metrics over their recent sample. Over their past seven games, Colorado has allowed 12 or more quality chances in five of seven and 28 or more scoring opportunities in four of seven. There’s also a disconnect forming in Colorado’s goaltending metrics, as goals-against have decreased despite the increased opportunities against. The team save percentage is up to 93.8% over the seven-game sample, above their season-long average of 90.9%. We’re expecting regression from the Avs goalies over their coming games.


Buffalo Sabres Stumbling

The Sabres have struggled all season and have arguably been the worst team in the league. Buffalo has the worst expected goals-for rating at five-on-five, putting up a 44.5% rating through 49 games. Somehow the Sabres have been worse over their recent sample, compiling a 43.9% mark over their past eight games, getting outplayed in six of those contests.

Buffalo’s Achilles heel has been its sloppy defensive zone coverage. Opponents have attempted 11 or more quality chances at five-on-five in five of eight games. Those metrics look worse when we consider their analytics across all strengths, as the Sabres have given up 14 or more high-danger chances in six of eight, with a rolling average of 14.1. Worse teams than the Avs have put forth dominant offensive metrics against the Sabres.

That porous defense is leading to more goals against, as Buffalo is giving up an average of 3.5 goals per game over the eight-game sample, with four opponents scoring four or more. Preventing goals hasn’t been a strength for the Sabres this season. The team has given up the seventh-most goals, and Buffalo goalies have combined for the ninth-worst save percentage.

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Avalanche-Sabres Pick

The betting public loves the Avalanche, and that’s going to drive up the price on them as we head into Saturday afternoon’s tilt. We’ve seen Avs moneyline prices climb into the -600 range already this season — if the price shifts beyond -450, there may be value in backing the Sabres.

For now, we’re taking a stance on the over, with the expectation that both offenses come out firing and neither team has an answer defensively.

Pick: Over 6.5 (+100)

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