NHL Hockey Betting Odds, Boston Bruins vs Buffalo Sabres Picks

Bruins at Sabres Picks

By Adam Markowitz

NHL Betting Odds

The Buffalo Sabres are the worst team in the Eastern Conference by a wide margin. They have just 23 points through 33 games and are six points behind Florida, the next worst team in the East. It’s looking very likely that Buffalo will be missing out on the postseason for the seventh straight year. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins are in a decent position to get back to the playoffs and are looking to stop a recent skid. They lost their last two games and that has stopped their rise in the standings. They have games in hand on every other team in the conference though.

Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres
Date and Time:Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
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Bruins at Sabres TV Coverage: NBCSN

Buffalo continues to slide in the standings. The Sabres have won just three of their last 18 games this year and they have been held to one goal or less in half of those games. It’s hard to win like that and it’s no wonder that the team has been struggling.

The Bruins have been able to put pucks on the net lately and are back to playing the solid defense that they are known for. Although that hasn’t worked in their last two games, they have the 11th best scoring defense in the NHL now.

Letdown, Look ahead Situation

There aren’t many chances where you might be able to confidently back the Sabres, but this is one of them. Buffalo last played on Friday and after this game won’t have to play again until next Friday. The team has been able to stay in Buffalo the whole time and that extra rest helps over the course of the NHL season.

Boston is about to catch up with the other teams in the East in terms of games played. The Bruins just got done playing three days in four days last week, playing on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Now they are about to do the same thing and they have a road trip in there as well.

On Monday, Boston hosts Columbus. After that game is over, the Bruins have to travel to Buffalo for this game the next day and then they host Winnipeg on Thursday. They will be on much more tired legs than Buffalo and that gives the Sabres the advantage in one area.

Key Stats

Buffalo’s offense has been the worst in the NHL this season. The Sabres are dead last in the league in scoring with just 2.2 goals per game on the year. Outside of Evander Kane and Jack Eichel, this team just doesn’t have any playmakers and no one besides those two is in double digits in goals this season.

The offense has a tough task too. Boston is playing good defense again and the goaltending has rebounded after a rocky start to the season. Anton Khudobin and Tuukka Rask are both stopping more than 91 percent of their shots and the defense is limiting the number of shots that these two see.

Bruins at Sabres Free Picks

These two teams played early in the season in what was surprisingly an offensive outburst. This was one of Buffalo’s eight wins and it came in thrilling fashion as the team went into Boston and overcame two different three-goal deficits in order to get a 5-4 win in overtime.

Buffalo dominated the run of the game after the first period. Boston jumped out to a lead, but the Sabres outshot the Bruins 21 to 6 in the third period and extra frame and that led to Buffalo getting the win.

The Sabres have a great chance to win this game and you can probably get good odds on them here. Many people will jump on the chance to back Boston at a short price and not care that the Bruins are on the road and will be tired. Go the other way and hope that you can get Buffalo as a home underdog because of it.

Bruins at Sabres Pick: Look for Buffalo to get a much needed home win
Bruins at Sabres Score Prediction: Sabres 4 – Bruins 2

 

NHL Hockey Betting Odds, Chicago Blackhawks vs Tampa Bay Lightning Picks

NHL Hockey Betting Odds

Blackhawks at Lightning Picks

By Adam Markowitz

There’s no team in hockey that has looked better than the Tampa Bay Lightning through the first quarter of the season. Tampa Bay is off to a blistering 15-3-2 start and is four points and two games up on Toronto in the Atlantic Division. It’s not like the Lightning have played an easy schedule or a heavily tilted home slate either with games against the best teams in the NHL and just 11 home games thus far. On Wednesday night, they will welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to town.

Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning
Date and Time:Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
NHL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
Blackhawks at Lightning TV Coverage: NBCSN

The Lightning did drop a game to the Islanders on Saturday, but had won five in a row prior to that. Tampa Bay has been sound in all phases of the game and in those five wins, they tallied a power play goal and kept its opponent from scoring on its power play chances. It’s hard to undersell just how good this team has been.

Things haven’t gone as well for the Blackhawks. Chicago is in fourth place in the Central Division at the moment and has just as many wins as losses. It was able to knock off Pittsburgh on the road on Saturday, but it’s been a season of middling performances for the Blackhawks.

Key Stats

Tampa Bay is the highest scoring team in the NHL by a good margin. The Lightning are averaging four goals a game and the first line with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov has been out of this world.

Stamkos and Kucherov are leading the league in points and both are on pace to finish with well over 100 points this season. Stamkos has 10 goals and 25 assists, and he has four more helpers than any other player in the NHL. Kucherov has been the one lighting the lamp, with 17 goals and 16 assists. The duo has been especially deadly on the power play and is averaging a goal every other game.

On the other end of the ice, Andrei Vasilevskiy has proven to be a solid netminder. There were a lot of concerns that the Lightning were making a mistake when they dealt Ben Bishop last season, but Vasilevskiy has been doing just fine. He has a save percentage of .928 so far thus season and has a dazzling 14-2-1 record. It’s important that he is playing so well as the Lightning favor a wide open style that often leaves him with little help. He has proven adept at the position.

Player to Watch

If it wasn’t for Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks would be in a world of trouble right now. Kane has helped keep this team afloat when a lot of their scoring options have failed to find the back of the net. He has six more points than anyone else on the team and isn’t benefitting from inflated totals because of his prevalence on the power play unit.

Kane now has a helper in four straight games and gave ArtemAnisimov the secondary assist on the game-winner over the Penguins on Saturday. He has really helped Anisimov come into his own with his vision and playmaking.

Blackhawks at Lightning Free Picks

It will be a battle of strengths when Tampa Bay goes on the power play in this one. The Lightning are the best in the NHL at lighting the lamp with the man advantage and have scored on 28 percent of their chances. Meanwhile, Chicago has one of the five best penalty kills in the league and is stopping opponents 84.9 percent of the time on the power play.

With how they have played, the Lightning are sure to be a decent-sized favorite in this one. Tampa Bay is expecting a sellout for one of its first nationally televised games of the season and the crowd is sure to be rocking. Go ahead and back the Bolts on the goal line as they get back to their winning ways.

Blackhawks at Lightning Pick: Lay 1.5 goals with Tampa Bay on the puck line
Blackhawks at Lightning Score Prediction: Lightning 5 – Blackhawks 2

NHL Hockey Odds, Boston Bruins at New York Rangers Picks

Bruins at Rangers Picks

Bruins at Rangers Picks

By Adam Markowitz

It will be a battle of Original Six teams on Wednesday night when the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers clash in historic Madison Square Garden. If the postseason started right now, both teams would miss the playoffs, but Boston has played three less games than New York. The last time these two sides met, the Rangers scored a 2-1 victory in MSG but that was last season. This is the first of three meetings this year.

Boston Bruins at New York Rangers
Date and Time: Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
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Bruins at Rangers TV Coverage: NBCSN

The Bruins must be wondering when their luck will change. Boston has ended regulation tied in three of its last six games, but ended up losing every game in either overtime or a shootout. The team still got a point from the game, yet missing out on two is huge. These things typically even out over the course of the season and the Bruins have to be wondering when that will change.

New York has thrived in the extra period. The Rangers are near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, but have won three in a row to make up some ground on the other teams. The last two were big overtime wins that came during a Sunshine State road trip. New York was an underdog to both Tampa Bay and Florida but pulled four points out of that swing and that has to have this team feeling good.

Player to Watch

Henrik Lundqvist is no longer a premier goaltender. His numbers have fallen off considerable in each of the last two seasons and it’s time to start considering him on the downslope of his career. Lundqvist was one of the best netminders the NHL had to offer for about a decade. He was phenomenal earlier this decade, not finishing with a save percentage below .920 in any season. However, last season, saw his save percentage fall to .910 and it is even worse thus far.

Through 12 starts, Lundqvist has a .902 save percentage and is averaging over three goals a game for the first time ever. Some of this is the result of defensive woes, but Lundqvist has been allowing some bad goals too. His agility is not what it used to be and that’s not good news for the Rangers.

Matchup to Watch

Boston has been fantastic on special teams this season, using that to gain an advantage on opponents. The Bruins are fourth in the NHL in power play percentage, converting on 27.9 percent of their opportunities. Rather than one person dominating the scoring on the man advantage, everyone is getting involved too. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have five points each, but David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron are right behind them with four points.

Additionally, this team has been solid on the penalty kill. The Bruins have killed off 87 percent of their opponents’ power plays this season thanks to some great forechecking from their forwards. All too often, the defensemen are given the credit or the blame for a team’s penalty kill, but Boston’s front line has really helped matters in this area.

Conversely, the Rangers have a middle of the pack penalty kill and an above average power play.

Bruins at Rangers Free Picks

Both teams have a game on Monday night prior to this one. The Bruins will be hosting a Minnesota Wild team that is not off to the blazing start it was last year, while the Rangers will be hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets. There isn’t a lot of distance between these two cities, so fatigue and travel won’t be factors.

I really like Boston in this spot. Lundqvist has not looked sharp this year, but you will still be able to get Boston as an underdog because the game is in MSG. Look for the Bruins to notch a comfortable victory on enemy ice.

Bruins at Rangers Pick: Jump on the Bruins as an underdog in New York
Bruins at Rangers Score Prediction: Bruins 4 – Rangers 1