Free NHL Picks: Wild at Sabres Odds
by George Monroy - 10/14/2013
The Minnesota Wild will begin a four-game road trip Monday night when the team travels to Buffalo for a matchup against the Sabres. The game will take place in the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York, as the Sabres try to win their first game of the season. Buffalo has six straight losses to start the year and has been outscored 16-6 over those games. The team only has one point so far this season, which came from an overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning nearly a week ago.
Minnesota is currently riding a solid two-game winning streak after starting the season with three straight losses—two of them in overtime. The Wild have scored seven goals during that span, and they are simply trying to keep up in a very talented Western Conference where seven teams have already put together eight points or more. Let’s take an in-depth look at tonight’s Wild versus Sabres game and figure out which is the best side to bet on during the matchup
Wild at Sabres Betting Story Lines
Buffalo has been horrendous to open up the season and is coming off a 4-1 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets and a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. The Sabres were dominated during that matchup, and the game was not nearly as close as the score might have indicated. However, there were some improvements and bright spots that the team could take comfort in. Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller saved 38 shots against the Blackhawks and managed to keep his team in the matchup for most of the night. The team’s offensive struggles and inability to move the puck seem to be Buffalo’s main problem at the moment. Chicago was able to outshoot them by a ridiculous 20-6 margin in the first period alone. Giving up that many shots—no matter how good your goalie is—won’t lead to many wins over the course of the season.
Minnesota may have only two wins and four points through five games this season, but the team has played much better than its record shows. The team lost its first two games of the year in overtime and then lost a close matchup against the Nashville Predators, before producing two solid wins over the Winnipeg Jets and Dallas Stars. The team last played on Saturday and dominated Dallas to the tune of a 5-1 victory. Minnesota rookies Justin Fontaine and Mathew Dumba both managed to score their first career NHL goals, while goalie Josh Harding made 18 saves during the game. The Wild have been excellent defensively this season and are allowing a league-low in shots attempted—22.0 per game. The team has not been outshot in five games this season.
Minnesota currently ranks 16th in average goals scored per game (2.8), sixth in average goals allowed (2.2), and fifth in power play percentage. Buffalo is ranked last (30th) in average goals per game (1.0), 15th in goals allowed (2.7) and 27th in power play percentage. Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury and is not expected play in tonight’s matchup. The injury has not really impacted the team as of yet simply because the Wild have not allowed many shots and have kept the pressure of off Harding, who is filling in for Backstrom
Wild at Sabres NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
Minnesota opened as a -130 road moneyline favorite at BookMaker, while Buffalo is receiving +110 moneyline odds as the underdog. The Wild are receiving +235 puckline odds for giving up the 1.5 goals, and the Sabres are -280 favorites for receiving the extra 1.5 goals. The total for the game is set at five goals, with the “over” being favored at -120. The “under” currently has a 4-1-1 record over the last six meeting between these two teams. The Wild are 4-1 for the last five meetings in Buffalo. However, the road team has won five of the last six overall matchups.
Free NHL Picks: Wild at Sabres Betting Predictions
The majority of the action from BookMaker has been on Buffalo to get its first win of the season. Wagering on road favorites is always a tricky proposition, but in this instance the Wild have been playing better than what their record might indicate, while the Sabres have simply been horrible this season. All the value here is on a solid Wild team that is only a slight favorite at -130. The main factor in this game will be shots allowed. Buffalo allows nearly 37 a game while the Wild allow only 22. The Sabres are playing at home, and they could win this game. However, it is unlikely that they will be able to outscore the Wild with a 15-shot differential. This is a situation where Minnesota will very likely be the victor
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