Sabres vs Blue Jackets Odds, Picks, and Predictions Tonight: Back Buffalo in Eastern Conference Showdown

With Buffalo in Columbus to face a reeling team that has faced a gauntlet of a schedule and is now gearing up to sell at the deadline, Neil Parker sees significant value in the visitors. Read more in our Sabres vs. Blue Jackets betting picks.

Feb 23, 2024 • 13:33 ET • 4 min read
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This article contains predictions for an old game!

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Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen Buffalo Sabres NHL
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The Columbus Blue Jackets host the Buffalo Sabres at Nationwide Arena in a bout between a pair of teams well outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Buffalo is coming off a 3-2 road win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, and the Sabres are a favorite in the NHL odds to make it two in a row on the highway. Columbus is also fresh off a Wednesday road win over the Anaheim Ducks, and the Blue Jackets will look to win back-to-back games for the first time since late November.

Here are our free NHL picks for the Sabres vs. Blue Jackets clash on Friday, February 23.

Sabres vs Blue Jackets odds

Sabres vs Blue Jackets predictions

Pair the Columbus Blue Jackets sitting in the basement of the Eastern Conference with their incredibly odd schedule over the past month, and they should be an easy fade Friday.

Columbus played a five-game road trip before the All-Star break, lost 4-2 at home to Tampa Bay following the layoff, and is just now returning from another four-game roadie. The Blue Jackets trod water with a 4-5-1 record while playing the last 10 in as many arenas.

It’s just an incredibly odd schedule spot for Columbus, and while it’s difficult to quantify exactly how the travel will impact Friday’s contest, there’s no questioning that the Buffalo Sabres are the superior statistical team.

The Sabres are better on both special teams and they also top Columbus in CF% and xGA at five-on-five. Additionally, Sabres netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has quietly posted a .934 SV% and 1.81 GAA across 14 starts since the calendar flipped to January. 

Columbus is also starting backup Daniil Tarasov, and he sports a .887 SV% and .887 GAA across 29 appearances the past two seasons.

Another aspect of this game is how the looming trade deadline will impact Columbus. The Blue Jackets recently relieved Jarmo Kekalainen of his general manager duties, and Columbus is expected to deal multiple players before the March 8 deadline.

It all adds up to a Buffalo win for me.

My best bet: Sabres moneyline (-154 at PROLINE+)

Sabres vs Blue Jackets same-game parlay

Sabres moneyline

Under 6.5

I anticipate Buffalo controlling the play and holding Columbus in check on Friday. The Sabres have been playing to the Under, and as highlighted, Luukkonen has been tough to beat for nearly two months. Even with the Blue Jackets goaltending a serious question mark, I still don’t expect Buffalo to fill the net.

The Sabres have a run-of-the-mill offense jumping the boards and have scored the 11th-fewest goals per game (2.93), with a 27th-ranked 15.7 power-play percentage, which further reinforces why they’ve played to the Under in five of their past seven games.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Sabres vs Blue Jackets moneyline and Over/Under analysis

There has been consistent movement to the Buffalo side of this moneyline, which included additional action coming in on the Sabres following the announcement that Tarasov was starting for the Blue Jackets. 

This total hasn’t seen any notable line movement, and it’s a consensus 6.5 with the Over carrying the higher vig. I don’t expect to see a move to the number itself or any significant adjustments to the odds leading closer to puck drop.

Sabres vs Blue Jackets betting trend to know

The Under has hit in five of Buffalo's last seven games. Find more NHL betting trends for Sabres vs. Blue Jackets.

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Sabres vs Blue Jackets game info

Location: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
Date: Friday, February 23, 2024
Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: MSG-B, BSOH

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