Golden Knights vs. Sabres NHL Betting Odds and Picks: Value on Home Underdog
Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Tuch #89 celebrates his second period goal with Tage Thompson #72, Jeff Skinner #53 and Henri Jokiharju #10 of the Buffalo Sabres
- The Buffalo Sabres play host to the Las Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.
- Revenge will be on Buffalo's mind as former captain Jack Eichel returns to Buffalo for the first time since the trade.
- Grant White breaks down the game and shares his best bet below.
Golden Knights vs. Sabres Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-164|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Not to overstate the importance of a Thursday night NHL game, but this could be the most captivating contest of the Buffalo Sabres season. The Sabres welcome back former captain Jack Eichel for the first time since the disgruntled forward was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights last season. Revenge will be at the forefront of the Sabres’ minds, but they could be out of their depths taking on the best team in the league.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights conclude a five-game road trip in Buffalo, looking to make it a perfect 5-0-0 expedition. Vegas has smothered its opponents with offense over that stretch, recording 18 goals through the first four games of the trip. However, there’s a disconnect forming between the Knights’ metrics and outcomes, suggesting they’re due for regression.
The Pacific Division leaders started their road trip by thoroughly dispatching the Washington Capitals, but have come unglued in the three games since. The Golden Knights have been outplayed in two of the three games, allowing at least 10 high-danger chances at five-on-five in each contest. Moreover, they’ve been outscored at five-on-five in all but one of those games, allowing at least three goals each time out.
The Golden Knights’ reliance on special teams scoring to set themselves apart is implicit in those outcomes. However, you may be surprised that their powerplay is not coming through. The Knights have recorded two short-handed, three powerplay and one three-on-three goal over their past three outings. Their shooting percentage was an unsustainable 16.0% over the three-game stretch, including scoring on 20.0% of shots Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It’s been an impressive stretch, but the Golden Knights can’t maintain their current form — Vegas has needed overtime to clinch victory in two of its past four games.
You wouldn’t know it from the results, but the Sabres have been playing an elite brand of hockey recently. Buffalo has posted an expected goals-for percentage above 50% in five of its past seven games, with a cumulative 55.1% rating over that stretch. However, the Sabres actual goals-for rating comes in at 50.0%, and they only have three wins to show for their effort, implying the Sabres are progression candidates over their coming games.
Defense has been the backbone of their analytics success, something they will need to lean into to quell the Golden Knights’ attack. Buffalo has allowed more than seven high-danger and 21 scoring chances just once over its previous five outings. More importantly, the Sabres have out-chanced their opponents in three of those five contests, while posting 55.8% scoring chance and 52.6% high-danger opportunity ratios.
Lastly, Buffalo is in an ideal schedule spot. The Sabres have been home since Sunday and got through their flat spot against the Arizona Coyotes last time out. With rest and analytics working in their favor, the Sabres should make the most of their four-game homestand and start to see the results follow their solid underlying metrics.
Golden Knights vs. Sabres Pick
This date has been circled on Buffalo’s calendar since the schedule came out. The Sabres and Golden Knights are on opposite ends of the puck luck spectrum. Vegas has relied on timely, low-probability scoring over the past few games while getting outplayed more often than not.
Conversely, the Sabres have been assertive, but haven’t gotten any friendly bounces in losing three straight. If Buffalo wins only one more game this season, they will make sure it comes against Eichel and company. We’re playing this line down to +130. We’re also rolling the dice on the Golden Knights’ overtime trend continuing, backing it at +320 or better.
Pick: Sabres +136, 60-minute tie +330