Friday NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Buffalo Sabres vs. Edmonton Oilers Betting Preview
Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Leon Draisaitl
- The Buffalo Sabres square off against Edmonton Oilers in Friday's NHL showdown.
- Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have been stellar for the Oilers to start the season.
- Greg Liodice takes a deep dive into this matchup below and details why he's backing Edmonton to get the victory.
Sabres vs. Oilers Odds
|Over/Under||6 (+100 / -120)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Edmonton Oilers travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres after defeating the Bruins on Thursday night. Following three nights off, the Sabres look to get off the snide and break a five-game losing streak.
Fans in Northern Alberta are proud to see their team is finally living up to the potential they desperately have wanted to see (re-visit this in the playoffs). Edmonton has been smoking the competition, winning four out of their last five and eight out of their last 10.
For the past decade-plus, the passionate Buffalo fans have been through the ringer. When an unexpected team starts off hot like the Sabres did, you try to temper your expectations, and Buffalo is coming back down to Earth.
Oh, Buffalo. What a story it could have been. After shocking the hockey world by starting 3-0, the Sabres have gone 2-5-2 since. Coach Don Granato has gotten the most out of his players, but the reality is, they don’t have the high-end talent. Sure, they have quality players like Victor Olofsson, Rasmus Asplund, and Tage Thompson, but they aren’t enough given the fabric of the league these days.
It shouldn’t be a secret that the Sabres are riding the struggle bus offensively. Coming into this bout, they’re currently a bottom-10 team in Expected Goals per 60 minutes with 2.13, and also a bottom-15 team in High Danger Chances, generating only 98 all season.
Granted, they’re missing solid pieces in Henri Jokiharju and Casey Mittelstadt to injury, but I think they’d be in the same position had they not been injured.
The goaltending situation is a mess, and yet somehow stable – for now. After losing Linus Ullmark to unrestricted free agency, the Sabres went into scramble mode, convinced Craig Anderson not to retire, and then signed Dustin Tokarski, who played in the AHL for the past five years.
Anderson has played fine, posting a .921 SV%, but with an underwhelming Goals Saved Above Expected in a -1.4 GSAx. If Anderson doesn’t play, which is possible due to injury, Tokarski has a .902 SV% with a GSAx of -0.8. Either way, it could be easy pickings for the opposition.
Edmonton knows the pain that Sabres fans are enduring, as they’ve been through that pain for far too long. It’s a new era, however, as captain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are taking the Oilers to the next level.
Both stars are posting insane numbers, each with 23 points in 11 games. Other key players are also contributing at a high level; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 14 points, Jesse Puljujarvi has 13, and the Zach Hyman signing is looking smarter and smarter as he has 10 points.
The offense has been clicking on all cylinders for the Oilers. With four players averaging over a point per game, they can certainly put the puck in the net, so generating chances shouldn’t be a problem. Unlike their counterparts, Edmonton is proficient in Expected Goals per 60 with a 2.74 rating, as well as generating 108 High Danger Chances – good enough for 11th-best in the league.
For years, goaltending was a hotbutton issue for the Oilers. In a way, it still is, but this time, they are getting quality goaltending. 39-year-old Mike Smith, who was supposed to be the number-one netminder, went down with an injury, allowing Mikko Koskinen to take on the reins.
Koskinen is finally starting to live up to his contract, posting a .920 SV% and a 1.9 GSAx. It’ll be interesting to see how they split the games once Smith comes back, but for once, goaltending isn’t the one thing holding back this talented team.
Oilers vs. Sabres Pick
Quite frankly, I don’t think this game will be close.
The Oilers are eons ahead of the Sabres talent wise, in all aspects. Even with Edmonton coming off a back to back, I would be stunned if Buffalo pulls off a win here.
Buffalo is known to be in rebuilding mode, and even though they will play hard, ultimately the Oilers’ talent will prevail.
Pick: Edmonton ML (-175)
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