Sabres vs. Blue Jackets Odds, Prediction, Pick: NHL Betting Preview for Wednesday (December 7)
Joshua Bessex/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Tuch #89 of the Buffalo Sabres.
- The Buffalo Sabres are home favorites (Moneyline:-170) against the Columbus Blue Jackets ahead of their matchup Wednesday.
- Nicholas Martin explain how to get plus-money odds on the favorites to win the game outright in his betting breakdown.
- Check out the Sabres vs. Blue Jackets odds, prediction and pick below.
Sabres vs. Blue Jackets Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||+140|
|Over/Under||7 (+108 / -132)|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
In previous years that may sound like somewhat of an unappealing matchup, but lead by Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin the Sabres have quietly become must watch hockey.
Will the Sabres offense stay red-hot Wednesday?
After falling into its traditional early November lull, Buffalo has snapped back into form with a 4-2-1 record over its last seven led by some spectacular offensive play.
The Sabres has scored 4.85 goals per game during this seven game upswing, which is not incredibly a far cry from its league leading 4.07 xGF/60 mark throughout that span.
Tage Thompson has been one of the most dynamic players in the league over the last two seasons, and has taken his play to another level with 16 goals and 34 points in 25 games this season.
He leads the way on a top unit with Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch that is in elite form, and for good reason that line has grabbed a ton of media coverage this season.
So to switch from beating a dead horse, let’s talk about the Sabres second offensive unit of two rookies and a sophomore being Jack Quinn, J.J. Peterka, and Dylan Cozens.
The average draft position of each member of the line was 16.33 overall, and each young talent has shown a lot of reasoning towards their high draft selection over Buffalo’s last run of play.
The trio has combined for 26 points over the last seven games, and offers some serious offensive upside behind one of the league’s truly great top units.
Analytically the Cozens line has been amazing as well, and it’s 63.4% expected goals rating is the ninth best in the entire league among forward trios with over 75 minutes of time on ice together.
Buffalo’s 53.45 xGF% over the last seven contests suggests the strong results can continue moving forward, and it is far from a surprise to see Buffalo’s strong recent run started in the game which defender Mattias Samuelsson made his return from injury.
Samuelsson is a highly underrated defensive defensemen, and works well opposite to Rasmus Dahlin on the Sabres top defensive pair.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will start in goal for Buffalo in this contest. Luukkonen has played to a -2.7 goals saved above expected rating and .857 save percentage in five appearances this season. It’s worth noting that tiny sample of results was heavily by a six goal Lightning performance, which included three powerplay goals.
Luukkonen will likely not be an above average goaltender by any means this season, but is still considered a reasonably strong goaltending prospect and should stabilize moving forward.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus has been dealt a brutal hand this season with injuries this season, but realistically with such a stacked NHL entry draft ahead it will likely be a blessing in disguise, as Columbus was not going to be in the playoff mix anyways.
The Blue Jackets have allowed 3.96 goals for per game this season, which is the second worst mark in the entire league.
The absence of top defender Zach Werenski, among many others certainly is part of the causation towards the dreadful results. However the Blue Jackets were already one of the worst defensive sides in the league last season and did not shore up that concern this offseason.
If anything the addition of Erik Gudbranson and loss of Oliver Bjorkstrand made the Blue Jackets notably worse altogether, and the current flaws in this roster will likely continue moving forward.
Over the last ten games Columbus has played to a 26th worst xGA/60 of 3.61, which is actually an improvement upon its form from earlier on in the season but still far from ideal.
Blue Jackets fans will point out that Elvis Merzlikins has had an extremely rough season and has been a huge causation towards it’s awful results, however its worth noting No. 1 netminder Joonas Korpisalo still owns a goals against average of over 3.50, and that clearly playing behind Columbus has not been easy.
Korpisalo will start tonight start, and has played to a +3.0 GSAx rating and .905 save percentage in 10 games played this season.
Sabres vs. Blue Jackets Pick
Buffalo’s top offensive stars will be in the perfect spot to thrive Wednesday night skating on a rare national broadcast, and build upon a dominant run of production.
Buffalo’s top two forward units has been working wonders over the last handful of games, and the powerplay is in stellar form as well.
Those are three areas in which Buffalo has consistently found production of late, and it’s very hard to imagine a Columbus side which has allowed the second most goals against per game handling this matchup effectively.
Buffalo are still available at +100 to win this contest in regulation, and my belief is the Sabres will do so often enough to hold value down to a price of -110.
Pick: Buffalo Sabres 3-Way Moneyline +100 (FanDuel)