Sabres vs. Penguins Odds, Picks, Preview: Bet Pittsburgh to Win Big

Sabres vs. Penguins Odds, Picks, Preview: Bet Pittsburgh to Win Big article feature image
Credit:

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Sidney Crosby

  • The Sabres hit the ice to take on the Penguins in Friday night hockey action.
  • Buffalo finds itself on a back-to-back, which may benefit Pittsburgh tonight.
  • Pat Pickens breaks down the game and shares his top bet below.

Sabres vs. Penguins Odds

Sabres Odds +250
Penguins Odds -320
Over/Under 5.5 (-120 / +100)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Sabres will close their brief three-game road trip with a date with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday at PPG Paints Arena.

Buffalo has won two straight with upset wins over the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild. The Sabres claimed a 3-2 victory over the Wild in a shootout Thursday.

The Penguins will close their own three-game homestand on Friday. Pittsburgh is rolling, winning five straight and seven of its past 10, and sits securely in the first wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Buffalo Sabres

Their recent hot streak aside, the Sabres have struggled away from home. Buffalo is 4-7-2 in 13 road games this season and has been outscored 49-35 in those games.

The Sabres’ road advanced metrics, as expected, are ugly. Buffalo ranks worst in the league in Expected Goals-for percentage in road games (38.4) and third-worst Corsi-for percentage at all situations (44.0), according to Natural Stat Trick.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen started in goal for Buffalo on Thursday, meaning backup Malcolm Subban is likely to get the nod for the Sabres in Pittsburgh. Subban has the lowest 5-on-5 Save Percentage of any goalie with at least a start this season (.773) and has a minus-3.28 Goals-Saved Above Average at 5-on-5 this season.


Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins were beset with injuries to stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and lost 10 of their first 15 games to start the year. Yet, they are back from the dead, with 10 wins in their past 13 games and a 42-20 Goal Differential in that span. That run interestingly started after the Penguins lost 2-1 to the Sabres on home ice November 16, even though Malkin still hasn’t played this season.

Goalie Tristan Jarry has been one of the best in the NHL this season. Despite playing the fourth-most minutes in the league (1340:16), Jarry ranks third in the NHL in Goals-Against Average (1.93) and ninth in the league in Save Percentage (.934) among qualifying goalies.

Pittsburgh has been particularly adept at tacking on in this span, with eight multi-goals wins in its 10-2-1 run, despite losing leading scorer Jake Guentzel (broken hand) and fellow forward Bryan Rust (lower-body injury) during the hot streak. Crosby, as expected, has picked up the slack with points in eight of Pittsburgh’s past nine games and 15 points in that stretch.

Sabres vs. Penguins Pick

There’s a chance that Luukkonen could play for the second game in as many nights, particularly given the game’s importance from Buffalo’s perspective as well as Subban’s struggles since coming to the Sabres via trade on December 4th.

Luukkonen has been great, with the second-best Save Percentage among all qualifying goalies — and he has played consecutive nights once this season earlier in December. Still, would you trust the Sabres, who played the night before, to stay close against the Penguins, who have outscored their opponents 19-6 in the past five games?

I wouldn’t.

Pick: Pittsburgh -1.5 (+100)

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