Sabres vs. Penguins Odds & Prediction: Betting Value on Underdog
Joshua Bessex/Getty Images. Pictured: Buffalo Sabres fprward Alex Tuch.
- The Buffalo Sabres meet the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second night in a row on Saturday.
- The Sabres enter this game as big underdogs despite playing the Penguins close last night.
- Nick Martin breaks down Sabres vs. Penguins and shares his best bet for this Saturday night NHL game below.
Sabres vs. Penguins Odds
|Over/Under||6.5 (-130 / +110)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Pittsburgh Penguins host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night for Game No. 2 of a home-and-home set.
Friday’s opening leg was a very entertaining affair, ultimately ending in a 4-3 overtime win for the Penguins. Pittsburgh capitalized in overtime on a late major penalty to Sabres star Jeff Skinner, who will likely receive supplemental discipline today.
The Sabres are priced as massive underdogs at +172. Should the loss of Skinner and a start for a backup netminder mean a significantly longer price than yesterday’s contest?
Even in a losing result, Don Granato’s young Sabres roster displayed a ton of positives Friday versus Pittsburgh.
Simply put, the Sabres seem to be undervalued in the betting markets at the time of writing, as they have stabilized greatly from their traditional midseason stumble in early November.
The Sabres have played to a 51.06 xGF% since Nov. 22 and own a 6-2-2 record and +13 goal differential during that span.
Buffalo’s offensive play has been downright incredible, and the Sabres enter this contest with the league-best average in goals per game (3.96) and have quietly become must-watch television.
Buffalo’s back end holds some concerns, which will always be compounded by the fact that the Sabres will never receive above-average goaltending this season.
Even still, Buffalo features a number of capable finishers throughout its lineup and very solid underlying numbers in most areas.
The return of Mattias Samuelsson goes as a massive boost to the Sabres’ blue line, and Buffalo’s recent turnaround coincides directly with his return from injury. Samuelsson is one of the more underrated defenders league-wide and is a great fit on Buffalo’s top pairing alongside Rasmus Dahlin.
Skinner will likely be suspended for tonight’s contest, and it will be worth noting how the Sabres forward lines look after warm-up.
Whichever forward takes that spot on Buffalo’s top line alongside Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch will see a serious uptick in chances offensively and could be ripe for the picking in both DFS and prop markets.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen should likely start in goal for Buffalo, and many bettors will view that as an auto-fade based upon his -3.6 goals saved above expected rating and .854 save percentage.
It is worth noting, however, that has come in a tiny six-game sample. Luukkonen’s reputation as a prospect did suggest better results at the NHL level this season.
Pittsburgh has also righted the ship after a very out-of-the-blue seven-game losing streak and now sits comfortably in the playoff picture at 15-8-4.
The Penguins have played to a 55.38 xGF% over the last month of action and have fought through a tough loss to legendary blue-liner Kris Letang with strong results.
At 35 years of age, Sidney Crosby generating 35 points in 26 games with some excellent defensive play deserves to be a bigger story than it has been this season.
Casey DeSmith will likely start in goal for the Penguins in this matchup. DeSmith has performed effectively this season with a +0.0 GSAx and .908 save percentage in nine appearances.
Sabres vs. Penguins Pick
These teams went toe-to-toe last night in what was a wildly entertaining affair, and the rematch should make for tremendous television as well.
Buffalo proved yet again in that contest that it’s likely playing at a higher level than most realize, as it was a very respectable loss in a well-contested game by both teams.
The scoring chances were nearly even until Skinner’s five-minute major, which was undoubtedly the right decision by the referees. It became the decisive moment in the contest.
Penalties of the 4-on-3 variety are incredibly tough to kill off, and teams score at significantly higher rates in those situations than on 5-on-4 penalties. The Penguins ultimately cashed 1:36 into Skinner’s major.
Regardless, re-envisioning the whole game based on the final score and result does not make much sense handicapping-wise. Saying that Buffalo deserves to be a pretty gigantic underdog by NHL standards at +172 for today’s rematch doesn’t make much sense either.
Considering betting prices and gameplay I would argue the Sabres were the correct side in last night’s contest. That makes +172 in the same matchup a night later a stellar number.
This is in no way slighting the Penguins, and there’s no need to reach for angles as to why Pittsburgh may not be elite this year. It’s simply that Buffalo has a better shot at winning than this long number suggests.
Luukkonen drawing in for Buffalo is a concern, but he’s likely still going to stabilize toward more livable results moving forward.
Skinner’s likely suspension could also move the number, but +172 is still a great price even when expecting his absence.
Pick: Sabres +172 (Play to +160)