The Pittsburgh Penguins will look to continue their climb up the East Division standings and move to 5-0 SU against the Buffalo Sabres in 2021 on Saturday afternoon.
The Pens have dominated the season series, winning all four matchups and outscoring the last-place Sabres 14-4 with a pair of shutouts. Saturday’s matinee will be the first game of a back-to-back set in Buffalo.
Oddsmakers have the visiting Penguins as a heavy -270 favorite with the total opening at a flat 6.
Here are our free picks and predictions for Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Buffalo Sabres for Saturday, April 17 (3:00 p.m. ET).
Penguins vs Sabres odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
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NHL sharp money and line movement reportBy Patrick Everson
Pittsburgh opened at a hefty -290 and hit -295 couple of times at FanDuel, then receded to -260, where the moneyline stands at 1 p.m. ET. Despite the dip, it's still pretty much all Penguins action, at 92 percent of tickets and 95 percent of money. The total moved from 6.5 (Under -132) to 5.5 (Over -142), with 61 percent of ticketrs and money on the Under.Check out the full line movement for this game
Penguins at Sabres betting preview
Penguins: Evgeni Malkin F (Out), Frederick Gaudreau F (Questionable).
Sabres: Linus Ullmark G (Questionable), Riley Sheahan F (Questionable), Kyle Okposo F (Questionable), Jack Eichel F (Out), Carter Hutton G (Out).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 5-0 in the Penguins' last five road games. Find more NHL betting trends for Penguins vs. Sabres.
It was only six weeks ago that the Penguins were on the outside looking in for the East’s four playoff spots. Since March 1, Pittsburgh is 16-7 SU, which is the third-best mark over the stretch. The impressive thing is that Pittsburgh has done it without Geno Malkin, who has been out since March 16.
The Pittsburgh offense has not skipped a beat without its second-best scorer and is averaging 3.63 goals per game, a big increase from the 3.19 goals per match with Geno in the lineup. The Pens also added some scoring depth at the deadline with the addition of Jeff Carter, who may be one of the more underrated goal-scoring talents acquired on Monday.
Buffalo comes into Saturday’s two-game set having taken five of a possible six points over its last three games, despite missing some serious pieces in its line-up (Jack Eichel, Kyle Okposo and goalies Carter Hutton and likely Linus Ullmark). But this is still the same Sabres team that ended an 18-game losing streak just two weeks ago.
The Sabres may go with Dustin Tokarski in net for the early contest. In his five starts this season, the 31-year-old career back-up has posted a 3.32 goals against average with a .908 save percentage and a 1-6 SU record.
We’d love to lay down some cash on a +215 home dog, but with how well the Pens have been playing and what’s at stake for the East’s No. 3 team, coach Mike Sullivan will make sure his team won’t be sideswiped by its lesser opponent.
Pittsburgh could be the East’s top team by Sunday and a team they have dominated all season shouldn't pose much threat. The Pens have covered the puckline in 13 of their last 14 wins, making the -1.5 a more attractive option.
PREDICTION: Pittsburgh -1.5 (+100)
The Sabres and Penguins are 8-2 O/U in their last five games combined, as both offenses have found a groove of late. Buffalo is one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league over the course of the season, but over the last two weeks, the East’s laughingstock is potting nearly 3.4 goals per match, which is a Top-7 mark. Even with the injuries, the Sabres are finding ways to score.
The Penguins are also in the middle of an Over stretch that has seen them cash the more public bet in five of their last six games. The power-play is firing at a 31.6 percent success rate this month, which is the fourth-best mark, while the PK has struggled to keep the rubber out allowing goals at a 28 percent rate. We don’t like Buffalo running away with this game but do expect the Sabres to have plenty of opportunities to score against a sometimes-generous Pittsburgh road team.
Pittsburgh hasn’t had any problems scoring against the Sabres this season and has scored at least three goals in each of the four matchups. Now Sidney Crosby and crew likely get to face a 31-year-old goalie who has struggled to catch on anywhere and would likely be in the AHL if it weren’t for a plethora of injuries to the Buffalo goalies.
With both clubs sporting bottom-10 PK units this month, the extra potential for special team goals is just the push we need to hit the Over on this Saturday afternoon game.
PREDICTION: Over 6 (-110)
Penguins vs Sabres betting card
- Pittsburgh -1.5 (+100)
- Over 6 (-110)
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