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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Red Wings vs. Sabres (December 29)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Red Wings vs. Sabres (December 29) article feature image
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Joshua Bessex/Getty Images. Pictured: Tage Thompson #72 of the Buffalo Sabres.

  • The Buffalo Sabres carry their four-game win streak into a matchup with the Detroit Red Wings Thursday.
  • The Red Wings pulled off an improbable comeback win Wednesday, but the Sabres enter as significant favorites (-172 Moneyline).
  • Grant White looks at the Red Wings vs. Sabres odds and gives his betting pick for the matchup.

Red Wings vs. Sabres Odds

Red Wings Odds +145
Sabres Odds -170
Over/Under 6.5 (-130 / +110)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV SN360
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

We witnessed one of the best comebacks of the season last night, as the Detroit Red Wings erased a 4-0 deficit to claim a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime.

They’ll have to follow that up on the second night of a back-to-back, taking on the Buffalo Sabres on the road. The Sabres have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL, having home ice and a scheduling advantage on Thursday.

Those advantages are not reflected in the odds, making the Sabres an undervalued commodity on tonight’s slate. Let’s dive into tonight’s matchup to find the best bet for Sabres vs. Red Wings.

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Detroit Red Wings

Detroit has been a stout defensive team, but that has come at the expense of its offensive production. The Red Wings rank in the league’s top half in scoring chances allowed per game, but have the third-fewest attempts at five-on-five.

Similarly, Detroit ranks better than just two teams in high-danger opportunities, again ranking among the top 16 teams in quality chances per game. That’s conducive to lower-scoring contests, but it won’t help the Red Wings win more frequently.

Moreover, we’ve seen a downturn in their underlying metrics over the Wings’ current schedule. Detroit has been out-chanced in scoring chances in seven of their past 10, creating more high-danger opportunities than their opponents just twice. Cumulatively, the Red Wings have posted a 42.1% scoring chance ratio over their 10-game sample and a 38.4% high-danger opportunity percentage. Both fall below their respective season averages of 43.8% and 43.1%.

Take note of the Red Wings’ subpar metrics on the second night of back-to-backs. So far this season, Detroit has played on consecutive nights four times. The team has been outplayed on three occasions and has diminished offensive production with no rest. The Red Wings average 15.8 scoring and 6.0 high-danger chances in this scenario, negatively impacting their chance at victory.


Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres have surprised the NHL, jumping out to a more competitive start than anticipated. Buffalo is on the cusp of a postseason berth for the first time since 2010-11, needing to make up ground over the second half of the campaign to catch the wild card teams ahead of them. Unfortunately, they’ve experienced a decline in their metrics, which support that goals may be harder to come by over their coming games.

There’s been no shortage of goals in Sabres’ contests lately. Buffalo has sniped 18 tallies over their last four games, scoring four or more in three of those matchups. However, that success is contraindicated in their production metrics, as the Sabres haven’t attempted more than 20 scoring or seven quality chances in any of those contests. Worse, the team is averaging a laughable 4.5 high-danger chances and 16.3 scoring opportunities across that stretch.

Nevertheless, the Sabres have a lethal combination of offense and goaltending. Buffalo has the second-best shooting percentage at five-on-five and a 91.5% save percentage. Altogether, their PDO is above average at 1.012.

Although that will inevitably work back down towards average, they remain in a good position to extend their recent hot streak, improving on their 1.044 PDO rating over their previous six games against a tired Red Wings team.

 Red Wings vs. Sabres Pick

The biggest advantage in tonight’s contest is on the under. The Red Wings have prioritized team defense throughout this season and overachieved relative to their lowly production metrics over their past few games.

The Sabres are operating well above expected ranges, and should see output balance with production, resulting in fewer goals. As such, we’re playing the plus-money on the under 6.5.

The Sabres appear undervalued in the betting market. Currently listed at -145, we would play the home side up to -160.

Picks: Under 6.5 +100 | Sabres -150

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