Penguins vs. Sabres Odds & Prediction: The Team Total to Bet

Penguins vs. Sabres Odds & Prediction: The Team Total to Bet article feature image

Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Buffalo Sabres forward Tage Thompson.

  • The Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins meet in Friday night NHL action.
  • Buffalo's offense has been on a role of late, led by the Jeff Skinner-Tage Thompson-Alex Tuch line.
  • Check out Tony Sartori's full betting guide and pick for Penguins vs. Sabres below.

Penguins vs. Sabres Odds

Penguins Odds-150
Sabres Odds+130
Over/Under7 (+110 / -130)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

We have an Eastern Conference tilt with the Atlantic Division's Buffalo Sabres hosting the Metropolitan Division's Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night. These teams previously met in Buffalo on Nov. 2, a game the Sabres won by a score of 6-3.

Will the Sabres take care of business once again, or can the Penguins exact their revenge as road favorites?

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins enter this contest in solid form, winning three straight games and eight of their last 10. However, now might be the time to sell high on Pittsburgh.

Since this game is the first of a home-and-home series with Buffalo, backup goaltender Casey DeSmith is the likely starter in this matchup given Tristan Jarry has started in four straight games.

While DeSmith is a capable backup, his game has started to slide recently. Over his last three starts, he's 1-2 with a .895 save percentage and a 3.68 goals against average.

This recent slide in performance has been predictable given his metrics. If he qualified, DeSmith would rank just 24th among starting goaltenders in goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60) at 5-on-5.

In front of DeSmith is a blue line that's missing its best player, as defenseman Kris Letang continues to recover from the stroke he suffered at the end of November.

Miraculously, he was skating with the team on Thursday, although he's still out indefinitely until doctors clear him for game action.

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Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres have also started to turn things around recently, winning five of their last eight games. Their offense has been a buzzsaw during this stretch, scoring four or more goals in seven of those eight contests.

Based on their metrics, regression should not be an issue, as the Sabres rank 10th in the league in expected goals per 60 minutes (xGF/60). Coming off their nine-goal performance against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, Buffalo will look to keep it rolling against the Penguins.

In that game, Tage Thompson recorded five goals as the Jeff Skinner-Tage Thompson-Alex Tuch line continues to thrive. However, perhaps going under the radar a bit more is the JJ Peterka-Dylan Cozens-Jack Quinn line that now boasts a 61% xGoals% through 105 minutes played together this season.

This top-six forward group has been putting up points at an insanely high clip over the last eight games, a trend that should continue against Pittsburgh's backup goaltender and a defense missing its best player.

Penguins vs. Sabres Pick

DeSmith was the starting goaltender in the first meeting between these two clubs this season. He allowed four goals on 31 shots for a .871 save percentage in that matchup.

Now, without Letang in front of him and playing a Sabres offense that's in much better form, there's no reason to suspect this contest will go any smoother for DeSmith.

Buffalo has now scored four or more goals in seven of its last eight games and in each of its last two against Pittsburgh.

At plus money, it's worth taking a shot at these trends to continue.

Pick: Sabres Team Total Over 3.5 (+130 · Play to +115)

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