After handling the Philadelphia Flyers 6-4 in a Saturday matinee, the Pittsburgh Penguins are scheduled for a 12:30 PM ET matinee with the Buffalo Sabres. Lets get an early start with our NHL betting today.

It’s not often that NHL teams play day games and even less rare that they do it back-to-back days. Even so, that’s what the Pittsburgh Penguins are facing over the weekend.

Bettors and touts figured that the Sabres had turned a corner in late January with a 5-0-1 spell but they’ve followed that up with four straight losses. A fifth could be on the way as the Pens are playing well right now. 

Sunday, February 19th

NHL odds boards had opened the Penguins at -135, but early sports betting action has caused the number to level out at -140 at most sportsbooks. The total remains steady at 5.5. Lets break down this matchup and decide where we should place our NHL picks.

The Pittsburgh Penguins can win because… 

Pittsburgh PenguinsThe Sabres have tapped out. 

Although the standings don’t exactly show it, but the Eastern Conference has been quite condensed this season – especially at the bottom. Four points separate the second and seventh seeds while only nine points separate the eighth and the 15th seeds. A couple of weeks ago, the Sabres thought they had a shot at the playoffs. After losing four straight, they are now in last place are practically finished with 24 games to go.

Even after all of the offseason spending, goal scoring is again an issue. They’ve notched just seven goals in their last four games while giving up 17.

Ryan Miller has just four wins in 16 starts against Pittsburgh with a 3.45 GAA. In his only start against them this season, he was blitzed for five goals in 30 minutes while stopping just 10 shots. If he’s going to struggle again, the Sabres have virtually no shot at winning.

The Buffalo Sabres can win because…

Miracles happen. Can the Sabres win? Sure. The question is whether or not you’re interested in betting your hard-earned money on them.

Three of their last four losses have come at home and they’re just 13-11-7 at HSBC Arena, so there’s really no home ice advantage.

The Sabres are a risky bet these days as the trade deadline approaches. They are miles away from their expectations, the season is virtually lost and there’s no judging what type of effort we’ll see from them. For now, they are a strict bet-against until we see better efforts from them.

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:

Head coach Lindy Ruff says he’s extremely disappointed with the team. Fans are livid and ownership is furious. In the coming weeks prior to the NHL trade deadline, the Sabres will likely be selling off some parts to see what they can get. Overall, the mood on the team is quite sour.

At the same time, the Penguins have caught the Flyers for second place in the Atlantic Division and can climb into sole place of fourth in the East with a win on Sunday. Given how much Miller has struggled against the Sabres as well as the fact that they’re not a very good home team should provide all the ammunition you require to bet Pittsburgh.

NHL Picks: Penguins