Sabres vs Kings NHL Odds, Picks, Predictions
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images. Pictured: Tage Thompson of the Buffalo Sabres
- The Sabres head to LA for Monday's NHL nightcap against the Kings.
- Nicholas Martin thinks Buffalo may be undervalued in this sport.
- Below, he shares his two favorites betting angles for the game, including a play on the underdog.
Sabres vs. Kings Odds
|Over/Under||6.5 (-125 / +105)|
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The NHL’s California swing was once dreaded by visiting Eastern sides for holding three heavy and elite teams. But now it’s become somewhat of a cakewalk and offers an opportunity to stockpile points.
Los Angeles is by far Golden State’s top team, but Buffalo may still like its chances as a +130 underdog as it has dominated the West with a 16-8-2 record this season.
Just a Hiccup for Buffalo
Buffalo came out of the break with an embarrassing 7-2 loss to the Flames and were also dismantled 5-1 by a dominant Carolina side in its last contest prior to the layoff.
Those two losses seem to have quickly put what was an impressive stretch of hockey in the rearview mirror for a lot of observers.
Over the last nine games, Buffalo is 5-2-2, which is still an elite clip. The Sabres have played to a 50.85% expected goals rating, and apart from the two recent blowout losses, the process has looked really sharp.
Tage Thompson and Dylan Cozens provide an elite 1-2 punch down the middle, and each leads a strong five-on-five unit. Buffalo also holds the league’s fifth-best powerplay unit, which seems very sustainable with the talent on board.
There is no doubt there’s some work for GM Kevyn Adams to put in around the edges, but nothing suggests the Sabres’ success through 51 games has been a fluke.
It seems likely that Craig Anderson will be offered a chance to start Monday with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen coming off of two tough outings, but that’s unofficial speculation for now.
Anderson has played to a +6.0 GSAx rating and .918 save % throughout 17 games played.
Can Los Angeles Clamp Down Net?
Los Angeles played its game of the season Saturday as it honored former captain Dustin Brown with a dominating 6-0 performance over the Penguins.
Over a larger sample, however, the Kings’ recent results look very similar to the Sabres, and tonight should be a tougher game.
Los Angeles has played to a 49.08 xGF% over its last 10 games while going 5-4-1.
Against the Eastern Conference, the Kings are 11-10-3. These two teams would arguably look much more comparable if offered the same slate of competition.
Los Angeles has seen some horrific goaltending overall this season, which has been a large part of being the only playoff-bound team in the NHL with a negative goal differential at -4.
Pheonix Copley has stabilized the crease with a +2.3 GSAx and .901 save % throughout 21 games played, and he will start Monday.
Sabres vs. Kings Pick
Buffalo has been one of the league’s most dangerous teams this season, and I expect them to bounce back with a firm test for Kings netminder Pheonix Copley.
The Sabres have tormented the softer Western Conference while Los Angeles has struggled versus the East.
I believe the gap between these two teams is not quite as large as this price indicates, and part of that could be undervaluing how much easier it is for LA playing out of the Pacific division. which has led to an inflated record.
Los Angeles’ recent underlying numbers are nearly identical to Buffalo’s, as well, and the gap between Pheonix Copley and Craig Anderson in goal is fairly marginal.
Buffalo is priced as fairly heavy underdogs at +132, but I believe the gap between these two sides is not that significant and that +120 would be the right number.
Seeing each team manage some solid offensive outputs makes sense as well. Copley included, I do not believe either side is skating a league-average starter, and Buffalo is by no means a strong side defensively.
I see value backing the Sabres to win this game at +132 on the moneyline, and I also like an over-under bet on the game to over 6.5 at -125.
Pick: Sabres (+132 at DraftKings), play to +120 | Over 6.5 (-125 at DraftKings), play to -135
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