Free NHL Picks: Devils at Sabres Odds
by George Monroy - 1/3/2014
The Buffalo Sabres are still on pace to barely crack the 50-point mark and earn the lowest NHL points total in the last 10 years. Buffalo has 26 points in the standings at the halfway mark of the season—the team played its 41st game on Thursday. However, the Sabres could have been in a much worse situation if not for a mini-surge that saw the squad play .500 hockey over an eight-game stretch. It might not seem like much, but without those few extra wins Buffalo might be chasing a spot on the ‘worst records of all-time’ list.
Outside of a seven-game losing streak to start the year, the New Jersey Devils have been a decent .500 hockey team and are within two points of the final playoff spot in the
Eastern Conference. The team has been stingy on defense all season and allows the eighth-fewest goals in the league with 2.4 per game. Saturday’s matchup will be a chance for both teams to earned a much-needed win and hopefully build a winning streak entering the New Year. Let’s take a closer look at the game and offer some predictions and analysis.
Devils at Sabres Betting Story Lines
Buffalo is on a two-game losing streak but will head home for a three-game stand inside the First Niagara Center on Saturday that will start with the Devils, and it will not play its next road game until Jan. 12. The Sabres do, however, have an impressive four-game, home-winning streak going, which includes wins over the Washington Capitals, Phoenix Coyotes, and Boston Bruins. Buffalo has been in quite a groove when playing at home and has managed to hold its opponents to only four goals during that span.
Buffalo’s goaltender, Ryan Miller, has been a big part of the winning streak and has begun to thrive behind the much-improved defense that the Sabres have displayed over those four games. However, there are still moments when Miller has to take over games, as evidenced by the team’s last home win over the Capitals. During the matchup, Buffalo gave up a whopping 50 shots on goal, and Miller turned away 49 of them in perhaps his most impressive performance of the season.
The Devils have been on a defensive tear over their last three games by allowing only three regulation goals during that span. In reality, the team has been excellent on the defensive end for the entire season and allows the fewest goals in the league. During its last outing, New Jersey held the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins to one goal on only 20 shot attempts. Overall, the team has won five of its last eight matchups and is also on a two-game winning streak.
Devils at Sabres NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
New Jersey opened as a -110 favorite over the +100 underdog Sabres at BetOnline. The total was set at five goals, with the “under” favored at -121. Buffalo is 4-0 over its last four home games but only 1-4 over its last five versus the Metropolitan Division. The team is 7-18 over their last 25 games versus the Eastern Conference and 7-19 when playing on one day of rest.
New Jersey is 7-0 on the second night of a back-to-back and 5-0 during its last five Saturday games. The team is also 5-1 over its last six games versus the Eastern Conference and 11-28 over its last 39 road games. Head-to-head, the home team is 4-0 over the last four meetings.
Free NHL Picks: Devils at Sabres Predictions
Saturday’s matchup is a great situation for Buffalo to earn another win and keep its four-game home winning streak alive. The team has built up a sense of confidence at home, and it will probably enter this matchup believing it is the favorite to get the win. Goaltender Ryan Miller has been impressive during his last four home starts and will look to continue that trend after a disappointing performance during the team’s last loss against the Minnesota Wild. Buffalos has value at even money entering Saturday’s game, but the best option is to take the under on five goals. Both teams have been excellent defensively, but more importantly, they still struggle on offense. Expect a strong defensive matchup and for the game to stay well under five goals.
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