NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Sabres vs. Oilers (October 18) — Snag This Over Before It Moves
Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images. Pictured: Craig Anderson.
Sabres vs. Oilers Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Will the Oilers take care of business as a large home favorite, or can the Sabres keep this one close?
The Buffalo Sabres enter this contest following their 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday. With the over cashing in that contest, we should expect more of the same against Edmonton.
Last season, the Over was typically a good bet (40-35) for Buffalo, especially against offensive-minded teams like the Oilers. Under head coach Don Granato, this team loves to play south-to-north as quickly as possible, which results in many games turning into track meets with an abundance of shots on net.
Looking at the first two contests the Sabres have played this season, there has been an average of 68 total shots on net per game. While the talent on this team is promising, their defense has not played well in its own end. At 5v5, Buffalo ranked just 27th in the league in goals against (GA) and 19th in xGA last season.
Projected to take the crease for the Sabres in this matchup is long-time veteran Craig Anderson. In his one start this season, he stopped 35 of 36 shots against the Ottawa Senators to lead the Sabres to a 4-1 victory. While he was tremendous in that game, we should not expect that level of excellence to be sustainable for the 41-year-old.
Last season, Anderson went 17-12-2 with a .897 SV% and 3.12 GAA. Among starting goaltenders, he ranked 29th in 5v5 goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60).
In his one start against the Oilers last season, Anderson allowed six goals on 36 shots for a .833 SV%. Obviously, the over hit in that game.
On the other side of the ice, we can expect Stuart Skinner to take the crease for the Edmonton Oilers. Stopping all 31 of the shots he faced on Saturday, Skinner was brilliant in relief after Jack Campbell allowed four goals in the first period.
That being said, I do not believe this is a sustainable level of goaltending moving forward from Skinner.
There is nothing to critique in his game against the Flames, he was outstanding between the pipes. However, the larger sample size suggests that Skinner is a replacement-level netminder. Last season, he would have ranked just 21st among starting goaltenders in 5v5 GSAx/60. In his one start against the Sabres last year, Skinner allowed three goals on 23 shots for a mere .870 SV%.
Not helping Skinner’s case will be the weak defense in front of him. At 5v5, Edmonton ranked just 19th in the league last year in GA and 23rd in xGA. They did absolutely nothing to address the blue line over the off-season and have already seen repercussions of those actions (or lack thereof) early on this season.
Through the first week of the season, the Oilers rank 24th in 5v5 xGA/60. We typically know what we are going to get out of this offense due to the fact that they boast two of the most talented offensive players in hockey.
Last season at 5v5, Edmonton ranked 10th in the league in GF and sixth in xGF. The offense revolves around McDavid and Draisaitl, which typically means high-scoring games.
Sabres vs. Oilers Pick
I mentioned earlier that Buffalo loves to play south-to-north as quickly as possible since Don Granato took over behind the bench, which should complement Edmonton well as they also play at an extremely high tempo.
This high-tempo playstyle has been on display through each of their first two games this season as the Oilers beat the Canucks 5-3 and lost to the Flames 4-3. We should expect this game to turn into a track meet, which should mean a lot of goals. Additionally, both teams’ strengths are on the offensive side of the ice while both teams’ weaknesses are on the defensive side.
This total likely opened at 6.5 instead of seven because of the deceivingly good starts from both Anderson and Skinner. Regression is going to hit these goaltenders at some point, and that could very well be tonight considering the firepower on both teams.
I would rather lay more juice at 6.5 than take the over at seven.
Pick: Over 6.5 (-130) | Play up to (-135)