Sunday NHL Odds, Picks, Prediction: Los Angeles Kings vs. Buffalo Sabres Betting Preview
Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Viktor Arvidsson.
- The Los Angeles Kings are favored Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres.
- Buffalo has looked capable of late, although Los Angeles is riding a hot streak.
- Carol Schram breaks down the matchup and makes her betting pick below.
Kings vs. Sabres Odds
|Over/Under||6 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Fresh off a come-from-behind overtime win, the Los Angeles Kings will look to continue their quest for a playoff spot when they visit the Buffalo Sabres for a matinee game on Sunday.
The Sabres, of course, are well outside the postseason picture. But with 40-year-old Craig Anderson between the pipes, they come into Sunday’s game riding a two-game winning streak following victories against Toronto and Minnesota.
Here’s more of the latest on both clubs, and your best bet for Sunday’s matchup.
Los Angeles Enjoying Strong Stretch
The Kings are a solid 7-3-0 in their last 10 games and picked up two much-needed points in Columbus on Friday, but they had to work to get there. Los Angeles fell behind 3-1 late in the second period when the Blue Jackets scored three goals in just 46 seconds, a franchise record.
After the Kings forced overtime, Columbus had an apparent winning goal called back after an offside video review. Then, Viktor Arvidsson potted the actual game winner — and picked up his fourth career hat trick for his efforts, as well.
The Kings had also experienced a similar breakdown two nights earlier. On the first game of their current road trip, they watched a 3-1 lead in Dallas evaporate in the last six minutes of the middle frame. That turned into a 4-3 regulation loss.
It’s a worrisome trend that’s uncharacteristic for a team with strong defensive chops. The Kings allows the fewest shots per game, and are tied with Boston for the lowest Corsi against per 60 minutes. They’re still successfully limiting their opponents’ 5-on-5 scoring chances. But lately, more goals have been finding their way past both Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen.
Sunday’s game is part of a back-to-back set for the Kings, who will also face the Bruins at TD Garden on Monday — just one week after a 7-0 beatdown back on home ice. Expect Quick and Petersen to split the netminding duties, although it’s not clear as of Saturday afternoon which stopper will get which game.
But while the Kings are not as defensively airtight as they were earlier in the season, they’ve also revved up their offense of late. They have now climbed to the middle of the pack with 2.83 goals per game. And somewhat surprisingly, the Kings are now third in shots per game, averaging 35.2 and sitting behind only Florida and Calgary.
Buffalo Showing Some… Promise?
Don’t look now, but Craig Anderson has a winning record with the Sabres this season. He’s 8-7-0 with a respectable .907 save percentage, and kept the powerhouse Toronto Maple Leafs to just one goal on 30 shots last Wednesday.
Anderson returned to action in late January, after missing nearly three months with an upper-body injury. Since then, he has played nine of Buffalo’s 14 games. But the Sabres are also heading into a back-to-back, hosting Florida on Monday. So, like with the Kings, the early start time for Sunday’s game probably means we won’t know if it’s Anderson or Dustin Tokarski in net until pre-game warmups.
In his five starts since Anderson’s return, Tokarski is 1-3-1, with a 3.64 goals-against average and .887 save percentage. Overall, Buffalo ranks 27th in goals against, allowing 3.55 per game.
But lately, the Sabres have been scoring, and winning some games. They’re 4-6-1 since the All-Star Break, and have been averaging 3.27 goals per game, just hair below the Kings’ 3.33. Their power play is clicking at 25.9%, and their offense has been fuelled by nine goals in 11 games from Tage Thompson, 13 points from Jeff Skinner, and seven goals and nine points from a revitalized Kyle Okposo.
When they’re on their game, like they have been this week against both Toronto and Minnesota, they can give good teams some trouble. Especially if they’re underestimated.
Kings vs. Sabres Pick
Since the All-Star Break, the total has gone over 6 in seven of the Sabres’ 11 games, and eight of the Kings’ 10 games. Even without knowing which goaltenders will be tapped, that looks like a pretty solid bet for Sunday’s matchup.
At -170, there isn’t much value in backing the Kings. But if Anderson does start for Buffalo, you could also consider the home team on the moneyline, with an appealing +250 potential payout.
A confident Buffalo team with a hot netminder could surprise again.
Pick: Total Over 6 Goals (-115 | play to -130)