NHL Odds, Pick: Ducks vs. Sabres Betting Preview & Prediction(January 21)
Joshua Bessex/Getty Images. Pictured: Buffalo Sabres forward Alex Tuch.
- The Sabres have struggled at home this season, but host the Ducks on Saturday afternoon as they look to reverse that trend.
- Anaheim has struggled all season and Nick Martin believes Buffalo should come away with the win in this contest.
- Continue reading for Martin's best bet and analysis.
Ducks vs. Sabres Odds
|Over/Under||6.5 (-132 / +108)|
|Time||12:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
On the night Sabres legend Ryan Miller had his #30 raised to the rafters, Buffalo collected two points from the Islanders after a beautiful Dylan Cozens overtime winner.
Buffalo has actually played to a worse record on home ice this season at just 10-12-2 compared to a 12-7-1 road mark, but is well positioned to build off of that momentous win Saturday as it plays host to the lowly Anaheim Ducks.
Led by Connor Bedard, the 2023 NHL entry draft boasts a number of potential franchise changing pieces. As it happens, the bottom of the NHL standings is extremely crowded with four teams on pace to finish below 62 points.
Anaheim may arguably be the worst of those four with its -83 goal differential and .337 points percentage.
The Ducks did manage a rare win last time out versus Columbus, but nothing inside of the past handful of contests indicates a true change in form is on the horizon.
Over the past 10 games, Anaheim has played to an xGF% of just 39.47, a historically bad clip.
With Jamie Drysdale sidelined, Anaheim’s crew of aging blue-liners continues to be exposed night after night, and its hard to see what can change moving forward to improve that flaw.
Veteran center Adam Henrique has been in spectacular form and Anaheim is actually outscoring its opponents in the minutes he’s on the ice. He’s becoming a very attractive piece of trade bait.
However, Henrique’s level of two-way dominance is extremely uncommon among the rest of the Ducks forward core, which boasts a number of below replacement level players and has contributed greatly to the team’s lowly defensive play.
As you would expect from a team with a -83 goal differential, the goaltending has been well below league average.
John Gibson has been the worse of the two options, but was strong in relief Thursday versus Columbus.
My expectation is Gibson will get the start in this matchup. Gibson has played to a -8.8 GSAx rating and a .896 save % through 31 appearances.
Buffalo’s triumphant comeback win Thursday was quite impressive, and coach Don Granato had to have been very impressed by the way his young squad stuck with it and found a way to win.
Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin was extremely sharp in the contest and kept the game much closer than it should have been.
The Sabres generated a whopping 4.43 expected goals in the contest, which is par for the course for a team that has quietly become one of the NHL’s deepest offensive sides.
In January, Buffalo has played to an xGF% of 50.6, with an expected goals for per 60 rating of 3.40. The Sabres roster quietly boasts more true scoring talent than an average NHL side, and is likely to continue outscoring it’s strong expected mark.
Buffalo’s +14 goal differential is actually the 14th-best mark in the league, and is a firm sign that the Sabres young core is on the cusp of some meaningful progress.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will likely start in goal for Buffalo, and has played to a +5.1 GSAx rating and a .896 save % throughout 17 games this season.
Ducks vs. Sabres Pick
Buffalo grinded out a gutty, impressive victory last time out and I believe this is a great spot for the Sabres to build off of that and take advantage of the Ducks treacherous defensive play.
The Sabres hold three units capable of doing damage at even strength, and also boast one of the top powerplay units in the league. My expectation is they will be up for this one, and play with a lot of urgency to claim two points and hang around in the race for the last wild card spot.
There is not much reasoning to expect the Ducks to find more success in the back half of the season, and they project to remain a historically bad defensive side.
Anaheim has lost 26 times by two or more goals this season, which accounts for 56% of its 46 games played and has made backing Anaheim’s opponents to cover the puck-line very profitable.
With Buffalo seemingly in a good spot in this matchup and skating a very high-powered offense, I see value backing the Sabres to continue that trend and cover the puck-line at +100.
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