Sabres vs. Blue Jackets Odds, Pick: Will Buffalo Stay Unbeaten?
Buffalo Sabres at Columbus Blue Jackets Odds
- Sabres odds: -110
- Blue Jackets odds: -110
- Over/Under: 6.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
The first week of the NHL season belonged to the Buffalo Sabres.
Not only is Buffalo 2-0, but the Sabres lead the NHL with a 68.3 expected goals rate (xG%) so to call either of their wins undeserved would be unfair. It’s such a small sample, but the early returns on Buffalo under new head coach Ralph Krueger are encouraging.
Oddsmakers have taken notice.
The guys behind the window have also taken note of the Blue Jackets’ slow start. Columbus has collected zero points in its first two games, though the Blue Jackets opened with a tough schedule, playing Toronto and Pittsburgh on back-to-back nights.
The Blue Jackets have lost by a combined eight goals in those games and the new goaltending tandem of Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins has surrendered 11 goals on 69 shots. Not nice.
One of the luxuries of betting early in the season is that we have a pretty good idea of how good teams are expected to be in a given season. For example, the Sabres closed with a season points total of 81.5.
Columbus’ Over/Under closed at 85.5 and the Jackets had shorter Stanley Cup odds.
Part of the reason that Buffalo’s Over/Under was short of the Blue Jackets is that Buffalo plays in the stronger division, but the Metropolitan isn’t a cakewalk either. Adjusting for that, we can say that Buffalo and Columbus were expected to put pretty similar results in 2019-20.
Two games shouldn’t change that.
One thing to note is that Columbus is playing its third game in four nights, but it is still early in the season so fatigue shouldn’t be that much of an issue. Even if you adjust the Jackets down a notch for being at a schedule disadvantage, these odds suggest that Buffalo would be between a -125 and -130 favorite on neutral ice, which is too big of an adjustment from two games.
Columbus closed last season strong and even though the Blue Jackets lost their three best players in free agency, its defense remains its strength. Over the last 25 games of last season the Blue Jackets posted the third-best xGA/60. That type of defensive sturdiness will be paramount this season as the situation in goal for Columbus is combustible, to put it mildly.
In terms of talent, depth and goaltending I think these two teams are pretty evenly matched, but I still have the Blue Jackets rated slightly higher than the Sabres, so I see value on this line up to -120.