Tuesday NHL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Buffalo Sabres vs. Ottawa Senators Betting Preview
Photo by Joe Hrycych/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Tuch & Michael Houser (Buffalo)
Sabres vs. Senators Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Do not adjust your set.
For the second consecutive week, the Ottawa Senators will host the Buffalo Sabres at the Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday night.
Last week, the Sabres skated out of Ottawa with a 3-1 victory, thanks to a 43-save performance from farmhand Michael Houser in his first NHL start of the year.
Houser added a second win on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers, and should get the nod for Buffalo again on Tuesday night.
Here’s why a little deja vu could deliver a tidy profit for savvy bettors.
Sabres Looking Up?
Over the last decade or so, the Sabres have been the butt of many hockey jokes. But they’ve put some nice building blocks in place over the past couple of seasons.
And despite stripping down their roster to the point where they barely reached the salary-cap floor this year, Buffalo currently has three players in double digits in goals, led by a resurgent Jeff Skinner with 16.
Alex Tuch has been producing at a rate of better than a point-a-game since joining the team as a key piece in the Jack Eichel trade. And even prospect Peyton Krebs has started to make a mark, logging the first two goals of his NHL career against the Flyers on Saturday.
But injuries to goaltenders have been a year-long issue. Houser is the sixth netminder that the Sabres have used this season, summoned after he was released from training camp back in October and signed on with the Cincinnati Cyclones in the ECHL.
The Sabres aren’t going to dazzle anybody with their underlying numbers. Their best attribute is their power play, which clicks at a solid 20.7%.
Senators Have Had Rough Go This Year
The Ottawa Senators sit seventh in the Atlantic Division standings, six points behind sixth-place Buffalo. But the biggest difference between the two clubs is the number of games played. The Sens are at just 35 games, for a .386 points percentage, while the Sabres have a .402 percentage over 41 games.
Like the other Canadian NHL teams, the Senators have been dealing with a long stretch of road games and a handful of postponed dates. Last week’s loss to Buffalo was Ottawa’s first home game since Dec. 11, and was played with no fans in the building.
This week’s game marks the beginning of a four-game homestand, which will once again be fan free.
After seeing the Sabres last week, Ottawa strung together three very respectable road games — a 6-4 loss in Pittsburgh, a 3-2 overtime defeat in Washington, then a 2-1 win in Columbus.
And while the Senators have also gone through stretches this season where they couldn’t get a save, Matt Murray and Anton Forsberg have looked settled over the last couple of weeks.
Forsberg has started three of Ottawa’s last four games, and gave up just five goals in total during those contests. In 16 games played, he has a winning record at 7-6-1 and is up to a solid 3.6 goals saved above average for the season.
By their standards, the Sens are relatively healthy at the moment. The most notable players who are sidelined are forward Connor Brown, who has a broken jaw, and defensman Nikita Zaitsev, who is out with a heel injury.
Much like Buffalo, Ottawa’s underlying possession numbers also fall near the bottom of the league in most categories. But on a good night, they can surprise teams with bursts of offense or unexpectedly strong goaltending performances.
Sabres vs. Senators Pick
Though they’re division rivals, we don’t have much head-to-head data available to help us assess Tuesday’s matchup. Last week’s win for Buffalo was the first time the two clubs have met since the 2019-20 season, when both rosters were very different and Ottawa won the season series 3-1.
This week’s game is a bit of a pick ’em, so it’s a bit surprising to see such a discrepancy in the odds. The two sides are quite evenly matched and, by their standards, both are playing reasonably well.
With Ottawa’s home-ice advantage muted by the fan-free environment, and Houser riding a wave as the Sabres’ latest netminding savior, I don’t mind a bet on the underdogs — especially if Murray gets the nod in net for Ottawa.
Keep an eye on Tuesday’s morning skate. Buffalo should offer solid value in what could be an entertaining matchup that will feature some of the NHL’s top stars of tomorrow.
Pick: Sabres (+155); play down to +130
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