NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Sabres vs. Red Wings (Jan. 15)

NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Sabres vs. Red Wings (Jan. 15) article feature image

Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Red Wings players celebrate.

  • The struggling Sabres are underdogs on the road on Saturday night against the Red Wings.
  • Buffalo has been outperforming its metrics of late, while Detroit appears set for an uptick in results.
  • Grant White breaks down the game and delivers his pick below.

Sabres vs. Red Wings Odds

Sabres Odds+150
Red Wings Odds-175
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Buffalo Sabres can accomplish something that they've only done twice since the opening three games of the season: win consecutive games.

Buffalo is coming off a 4-1 victory against the Nashville Predators and will be looking to knock off a Detroit Red Wings team that has lost four in a row. The betting market favors the Red Wings, but the implied probability (63.6%) of the current price (-175) still underestimates the Wings' chances.

Negative Regression Looms For Sabres

The Sabres' success isn't limited to their most recent outing. They've been trending upwards over their recent sample, collecting three wins and nine points over their past 10 games, including winning consecutive games back in December. However, the Sabres' success isn't reflected in their advanced metrics as they continue to get outplayed on a near-nightly basis, implying that they could be entering a correction phase shortly.

The Sabres have posted an expected goals-for rating below 50.0% at five-on-five in eight of the past 10 contests, establishing a 40.4% expected goals-for rating over that span. Buffalo's offense has been almost non-existent, attempting a combined 17 high-danger and 82 scoring chances over the previous five contests. That is impacting output, as the Sabres have scored five goals at five-on-five over that span, with only one of those goals coming from high-danger areas. We can't expect more four-goal performances with metrics like that.

After a period of improved defensive metrics, we're expecting the Sabres to come crashing back down over their coming games. Buffalo has limited their opponents to nine or fewer high-danger chances in four of their past six, well below its season-long average of 12.0 per game. Scoring chances could be a good indicator of what to expect, as the Sabres have given up 30 or more scoring opportunities in four of six, with a six-game average of 31.5. It's been a fun ride, Sabres fans, but regression is looming.

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While Red Wings Are Due To Improve

The Red Wings' offensive well has run dry over their recent stretch, scoring just three goals at five-on-five and five goals overall over their past four games. Three of those four games came on the road, though, with the Wings returning home for their most recent game. They are better positioned to improve against the Sabres, as their metrics have been much better on home ice.

Detroit has posted expected goals-for percentages above 50.0% in three of their past five home games. That recent stretch elevated their season-long rating to 50.7%, which is identical to their rating across all strengths. Despite those metrics working in their favor, the Wings only have two wins over that span, losing the other three games in regulation and posting a .995 PDO across all strengths.

That deterioration of the Wings' PDO should start to progress the other way, catching up with their stronger relative metrics. The Wings have posted below-average shooting and save percentages in three of their past four at home, and five of their past seven overall, even though they are starting to outplay their opponents.

Progression is also implied in the Wings expected goals-for rating, as their actual output remains below expected values so far this season. The Wings can take a step in the right direction against an inferior Sabres team on Saturday night.

Sabres vs. Red Wings Pick

Three wins and nine points are more than the Sabres deserve over their recent sample, as they continue to get outplayed. The opposite is true for the Red Wings, as we're anticipating progression from them, as their actual output catches up to expected values. It all comes crashing together in a game that the Wings should walk away from victorious.

Pick: Red Wings -175

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