NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Panthers vs. Sabres (March 7)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images. Pictured: Mason Marchment celebrates with the Florida bench after a goal.
- The Panthers are big road favorites tonight in Buffalo against the Sabres.
- The Florida offense is elite, so is this matchup as clear-cut as the line would indicate?
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this one, including a betting prediction.
Panthers vs. Sabres Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Florida Panthers are one of the best teams in the NHL, but their road record of 12-7-5 pales in comparison to their home mark of 25-6-0.
It may not matter on Monday night, however, as they travel to Buffalo on Monday night to take on a Sabres team that’s below .500 on home ice with a 9-15-4 record.
Can Florida’s lethal offense take advantage of a porous Buffalo defense to notch an easy road victory?
Panthers an Offensive Juggernaut
It was another night at the office for the Panthers on Saturday as they comfortably dismantled the Red Wings in the 6-2 win.
Florida shuffled its lines for the contest and found success, proving that the top-three units are going to thrive no matter how they’re set up. It continues to be harder and harder to come up with reasons why this offense will not post ridiculous numbers.
Mason Marchment continued his spectacular breakout season Saturday, posting a goal in the big win to make it 31 points in 30 games this season.
Marchment is just another in a long list of very capable offensive pieces for the Panthers, who have continued to attack in waves night after or night. They have the league’s top expected goals for per/60 rate at 4.07 in eight games since restarting their season after a 15-day layoff on February 16.
The Panthers’ deep top nine should make for a matchup nightmare for the Sabres, and Florida should be able to generate a lot offensive looks against a Sabres team skating some very middling pieces.
The defensive cracks have continued to show somewhat, but the Panthers are still getting the better of their opponents overall, with a 63.08% expected goals rate since February 16.
It seems plausible the Panthers will go with Spencer Knight here and save Sergei Bobrovsky for Tuesday’s contest against the Penguins.
Knight has struggled more than many thought he would in limited time this season. He has a -3.7 goals saved above expected rating and an .898 save % throughout 18 games.
A potential Knight start doesn’t scare me away from Florida, however, as I expect him to fare better moving forward and thing the Panthers will be looking to put together a sharp effort to keep their young netminder heading in the right direction. Quality backup play will be massive for them down the stretch.
It Could Be a Long Night for the Sabres
Buffalo enter this one having put together a very respectable week of play, which featured wins over Toronto and Minnesota before a respectable loss at home Sunday to the Kings.
However, the Sabres still hold just a 2-7-0 mark over their last nine contests — with a 47.07 expected goals rate and a -17 goal differential over that span — and the roster has all the holes one might expect from a team going through another rebuilding season.
Mattias Samuelsson has showed lots of promise of late on the back end, but the Sabres do not appear well equipped to deal with Florida’s potent offensive unit.
It could be a tough night Craig Anderson, who will likely draw the start for the Sabres. Anderson holds a -3.5 goals saved above expected rating with a .907 save % through 15 games played this season.
Panthers vs. Sabres Pick
Buffalo has been beaten by two or more goals in seven of its last nine contests, and the Panthers should be able to come in and put together another big night.
Florida should be able to control far more of the play here and take advantage of a soft starting netminder in Anderson. These points are crucial for the Panthers as they look to avoid a dreadful first round matchup, and I think we see their spectacular top offensive unit show through.
This is another one of these spots where I imagine all day Monday money continues to pour in on Florida, and I can’t see any reason to wait when there’s probably very little chance the line ever looks better than the current -105 at the time of writing.
Pick: Florida Panthers -1.5 -105 (Play to -125)