NHL Odds, Picks Today: Sabres vs. Flyers Betting Preview & Prediction (Friday, March 17)

NHL Odds, Picks Today: Sabres vs. Flyers Betting Preview & Prediction (Friday, March 17) article feature image

John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Tage Thompson #72 of the Buffalo Sabres

  • The Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers face off in a Friday night matchup between two surging offenses.
  • Grant White sees value in the over/under (6.5) in tonight's matchup.
  • He breaks down the matchup and his betting picks below.

Sabres vs. Flyers Odds

Sabres Odds-144
Flyers Odds+120
Over/Under6.5 o-110 / u-110
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Buffalo Sabres are clinging to their playoff hopes, sitting six points out of the final wild card spot with three games in hand. That means the Sabres could climb into the driver's seat and control their own destiny by winning all three contests.

That starts with a Friday night matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers, who are resigned to another summer of 'what could have been. Philly tends to collapse, which could be their undoing against the high-powered Sabres.

Let's take a look at the matchup and betting prediction for Sabres vs Flyers.

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Buffalo Sabres

As is the case with many teams, Buffalo's success is predicated on offense. They've advanced their own cause more recently, amplifying their production metrics. The Sabres have attempted 10 or more high-danger chances in five of their past seven, eclipsing 23 scoring opportunities in all but one of those games. Improved analytics has positively impacted output, with the Sabres recording four or more goals in four of seven contests.

However, a surging offense has done nothing to resolve the Sabres' longstanding defensive woes. This season, Buffalo has given up the sixth-most high-danger opportunities, a number that has spiraled out of control lately. Opponents have exceeded 13 quality chances in four of Buffalo's last six games, averaging 12.5 per game. Those metrics look worse when we tease out home games, with the Sabres allowing an average of 14.0 over their past eight as the visitors.

As expected, the betting market has adjusted its totals to the Sabres games. Buffalo has entered four of its previous seven games with a total of 7. Moreover, they are still finding a way over those hefty numbers, going 3-3-1 across that stretch. That's been par for the course for the Sabres, who are going over the total in 64.7% of their games since Feb. 11.

Philadelphia Flyers

Although they've cooled over their past few games, the Flyers have been on an equally impressive over streak lately. Philadelphia has eclipsed the total in eight of their past 13 games, for a 61.5% over rate. Considering their ineffective defensive play, that trend will likely continue against the Sabres.

Like Buffalo, Philly ranks in the bottom tier of NHL teams. The Flyers have allowed the 10-most high-danger chances and 11th-most scoring opportunities this season. Worse, they've fallen apart down the stretch, foregoing defensive zone coverage for a few extra shots in the attacking zone.

Opponents have hit double-digit quality chances in five of Philadelphia's last 10 games and 13 of 21. Scoring opportunities are just as abundant, with the Flyers allowing 24 or more in seven of 10.

As terrible as they've been in their own end, the Flyers deserve some credit for their improved offensive proficiency. Philadelphia has attempted 11 or more quality chances in three of six. Not coincidentally, all three improved performances have come on home ice. As such, we're anticipating another strong showing against the defensively challenged Sabres.

Sabres vs. Flyers Pick

Both teams come into this Eastern Conference showdown on reliable over trends. The Sabres are producing offensively, but not enough to overcome their porous defense. Likewise, the Flyers' best offensive performances come at home, while they've been unable to contain opponents in any venue.

Consequently, we are anticipating a high-scoring affair on Friday night. Either team could push the pace offensively, forcing their opponent to try and keep up. The end result should be a game that easily surpasses the total.

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