Rangers vs. Sabres Odds, Pick: Expert NHL Prediction (March 31)

Rangers vs. Sabres Odds, Pick: Expert NHL Prediction (March 31) article feature image

Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers

  • The Sabres host the Rangers in what has the potential to be a high-scoring Friday night affair.
  • A matchup between a backup goaltender and a rookie seems to be a recipe for offensive success and our expert is targeting the over.
  • Greg Liodice details his best bet below.

Rangers vs Sabres Odds

Rangers Odds-150
Sabres Odds+125
Over/Under6.5 (-130 / +105)
Time7 p.m. ET
TVNHL Network
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The New York Rangers head to Western New York to take on the Buffalo Sabres. The Rangers are hot — 7-2-1 in their past 10 games — but did lose Thursday night to the Devils.

Buffalo is coming off a tough shootout loss to Montreal. It’s been a rough go for the Sabres lately, as they’re 3-4-3 in their past 10 games and veering further away from playoff positioning.

Let's break down the game and make our Rangers vs. Sabres pick below.

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New York Rangers

Since coming to New York, there may have been some growing pains for Patrick Kane. However,  he seems to be settling in now as he's scored goals in consecutive games. With Kane, the Rangers are primed for a playoff run with superstars in Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox.

The Rangers have all-world talent, but also have a hard time generating even-strength offense. They’ve consistently placed in the bottom half in expected goals this year and have a 49.68 xGF%. Special teams has been New York’s saving grace as it's scoring almost 23% of the time on the power play and excelling on the penalty kill.

New York’s defense has been stellar. The penalty kill is 12th, succeeding nearly 81% of the time, and the Rangers are also 12th in xGA/60 at 2.58.

With Igor Shesterkin playing Thursday, I’d expect Jaroslav Halak to start Friday. Halak has had a solid season as a backup, playing to +2.0 goals saved above expected (GSAx) and a .905 SV%.

Buffalo Sabres

It’s been a season of progress for the Sabres and, when looking at the roster, it’s easy to see why. Tage Thompson, an all-world scorer, missed Buffalo's last game and is listed as day-to-day. His sidekicks, Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch, are also having wonderful seasons.

For the most part, the Sabres have been able to generate an even strength attack, but the month of March hasn’t been kind. Since the first of the month, Buffalo is 26th in expected goals with a 44.56 xGF%. However, the power play has clicked and scored 24.3% of the time.

The Sabres defense has been awful, and even worse since Mattias Samuelsson got hurt. Their xGA/60 is at a sixth-worst 3.16, and the penalty kill is second-worst at 72.8%.

Buffalo’s goaltending situation has been hard to predict all season. However, recently signed rookie Devon Levi will make his NHL debut Friday. Levi has been highly touted since being drafted and posted a .933 SV% in college this season.

Rangers vs. Sabres Pick

We have a backup goalie facing off against a goalie making his NHL debut. Both teams have the ability to score in bulk and have dynamite power plays. Additionally, the Sabres penalty kill is dreadful.

The Sabres haven't been able to put together wins, but they’ve consistently hit the over in recent weeks. Prior to last night’s game, the Rangers past two games have gone over 6.5 goals. Not only that, but in Halak’s past four games, he’s allowed over three goals three times.

It’s the perfect storm to pick the over here.

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