Minnesota Wild vs. Buffalo Sabres Odds, Picks, Predictions: Total Has Value on Friday
Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: The Sabres celebrate a goal.
- The Wild have become an even bigger favorite over the Sabres throughout the day Friday, moving from -185 to -225 at DraftKings.
- Buffalo scored a huge upset over the Leafs this week, and will now look to do it again against a sturdy Wild team.
- Jacob McKenna is targeting the total, however, as both teams have been vulnerable on defense recently.
Wild vs. Sabres Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings, updated Friday afternoon. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.|
The Minnesota Wild end their short, two-game road trip on Friday night with a clash against the Buffalo Sabres.
Minnesota comes into this matchup with a 32-17-3 record after a win Thursday night against the Flyers. Meanwhile, the Sabres are just 3-6-1 in their last 10 games and currently sit in seventh in the Atlantic Division.
The Wild clearly have the upper hand in this matchup from a talent perspective, but given that this is the second night of a back-to-back, could Buffalo still have a chance?
Wild Trying to Get Back on Track
The Wild hit quite the rough patch recently, having lost six of their last seven games prior to their win on Thursday against Philadelphia.
Bu, in that game against Philly, the Wild once again proved that they are one of the best scoring attacks in the NHL by putting up five total goals on 38 shots. Even though the Flyers don’t have an impressive defense, it was good to see the Minnesota offense get back on track after averaging two goals per game in the last four contests.
The Wild rank second in the NHL in goals for per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 with 3.22 and have scored 128 total goals in similar situations. This is a team that can score the puck at will, and it looks like the recent struggles may have finally concluded.
However, even though the Wild have had a solid defense all season — posting 2.27 Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) in 5-on-5 — it has simply fallen apart in their last few games.
In their last eight contests, the Wild have surrendered an average of 4.75 goals per game, a number that is far higher than their season average of 3.12.
Luckily, it appears that Kaapo Kahkonen will get the start in net in this game, which could help alleviate some of the defensive woes. In 5-on-5 this season, Kahkonen has an SV % of .920 and -1.1 Goals Saved Above Expected in 21 games.
Sabres Struggle in Every Aspect
The Buffalo Sabres have not had much to hang their hats on this season, and when you start to dig into the stats it is easy to see why.
This is an offense that is simply not strong enough to compete on a nightly basis. Entering this matchup, the Sabres have just 2.11 Expected Goals For per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 situations, according to Natural Stat Trick, which is the fourth-lowest in the NHL.
Buffalo did manage to score five goals in its most recent win against Toronto, but that game appears to be an outlier. In their six games prior to that win, the Sabres averaged just two goals per game, which resulted in six-straight losses.
In addition, this is a defense that ranks in the bottom 10 of the league in both xGA/60 with 2.6 and High Danger Chances Against per 60 minutes (HDCA/60) with 11.85 in 5-on-5 situations. Buffalo has lots of holes to fill, and filling those holes against the Wild is no easy task.
Craig Anderson will likely be in net for Buffalo in this one. Anderson has missed some time due to injury this season, and in 5-on-5 he has an SV % of .911 and -2.3 GSAx.
Wild vs. Sabres Pick
The Sabres have the rest advantage entering this matchup, and even though their offense has been poor for most of the season I expect them to be able to find the back of the net a few times.
Furthermore, even with this being the second of a back-to-back for Minnesota, the Wild are in a prime position to take advantage of a poor defense and use this game to add on to the momentum they gained on Thursday.
Both defenses have been vulnerable of late, and as a result I think both the Wild and Sabres score their fair share of goals, pushing this game to a high total.
Pick: Over 6.5 (-110)
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