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NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Stars vs. Sabres (Jan. 20)

NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Stars vs. Sabres (Jan. 20) article feature image
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Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Pavelski.

  • The Stars head into Buffalo on a disappointing seven-game road losing streak.
  • The Stars are road favorites in this matchup, but is this a chance to buy low on the Sabres?
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Stars vs. Sabres Odds

Stars Odds -215
Sabres Odds +185
Over/Under 5.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Stars head in to Buffalo desperately seeking a rare road win. A shocking 5-2 home loss to the lowly Canadiens Tuesday extended their deficit in the Western Wild Card race.

A regulation win here would go a long ways to keeping Dallas’ thin playoff hopes alive, increasing their chances to still just 16.4% (according to our friends at MoneyPuck).

Will Dallas be able to snap their seven-game road losing streak here against the Sabres?

Dallas Stars

For Coach Rick Bowness, the Stars’ shocking home and road splits have been a large point of contention, and it’s easy to see that even a modest road record would have the Stars currently holding a Wild Card spot.

Dallas seemed to respond to their coach’s critical comments towards the team’s awful road play in Tampa. They hung tough in the second leg of the brutal Florida back-to-back before falling late for a 3-1 final after an empty netter.

The effort would be viewed as a positive, if the club didn’t follow it up with an awful home defeat to Montreal, even if a 5.90 to 3.23 Expected Goals game score suggests things could have gone differently.

The loss of Jason Robertson from the last two contests from the Stars’ ridiculously strong top line alongside Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski has been notable, but that’s far from an excuse for Tuesday’s performance.

With Bowness’ contract expiring this year, it’s possible we could see a shakeup should the Stars’ inconsistent play continue.

A 49.74 xGF% on the month seems to be just a fair indication of what the Stars are — a borderline playoff club, consistent with their season long mark of 50.17 (14th). But that’s far better than the Sabres have fared of late.

Robertson did take the morning skate Tuesday and is questionable for this one. Alex Radulov could also likely return here.

It’s unclear whether the Stars will look towards Braden Holtby or Jake Oettinger for this one. Holtby holds a +2.1 Goals Saved Above Expected rating and .920 Save %, and Oettinger a +0.4 GSAx and .905 Save %.

Both have been solid, and the difference between the two is marginal. Oettinger has been stronger than those current numbers indicate, and consequently, I’m not overly concerned with wagering before the decision.

Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres have stabilized over a 2-1-1 stretch, and with Alex Tuch sitting at a point per game in seven contests with the club, there are some positives right now for the Sabres.

However, a 33.09 xGF% over that span is simply dismal, and whether you put much stock in that number or not, it’s hard to argue they haven’t lucked their way into a small sample of better results.

And even still, that 2-1-1 record and 33.09 xGF% come against the likes of Detroit (x2), Ottawa, and Nashville. It is concerning that in three games against notably soft competition (considering how hard Detroit have dropped off of late), the Sabres have still posted a shockingly low control of play at even strength.

Over a bigger sample of 10 games, Buffalo is still holding a comparably poor 37.64 xGF% rate. This recent 2-1-1 stretch looks seems to be a stretch of more favorable puck-luck in a notably close league.

To expect the Sabres to continue to post results even around NHL .500 with their glaring roster flaws seems unwarranted, and I think this price sets up as a good spot to fade them.

Michael Houser was strong in his season debut against Ottawa but still is a well below average NHL option. He has posted a .900 Save % in 11 AHL starts this season and an .876 Save % in three ECHL starts.

It’s unclear whether he or Aaron Dell will start here, but neither is a strong option. Dell holds a -4.9 GSAx rating and an .892 Save % this season.

Sabres vs. Stars Pick

I love this as a spot for the Stars to come out and bounce-back (after an embarrassing defeat to Montreal) against a Buffalo squad which has posted some shockingly poor play-driving numbers this month.

The Star’ seven-game road losing streak by no means makes it more likely the Stars are “due” to win one, but with that treacherous stretch etched in the team’s mind, we should see them come out motivated to finally end that streak in a very winnable situation.

An effort similar to what we saw in the 3-1 loss to Tampa after coach Bowness’ comments on the awful road play should do the trick here, or in the controversial 2-1 loss to St. Louis. Furthermore, I like the chances the Stars win comfortably here.

Dallas holds a notable goaltending edge with Oettinger/Holtby over either of Michael Houser or Aaron Dell, and the Stars are still holding league average play-driving rates compared to Buffalo’s 33.26 xGF% this month.

Should Jason Robertson draw back in the for the contest, it will offer a notable boost to the Stars’ value of a +110 price to win in regulation. Even should he sit, I’m very comfortable with that line and backing the Stars to find a win inside regulation from a pure lottery team here.

Pick: Dallas Stars Regulation Win +110

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