Free NHL Picks: Bet Sabres Superior Power Play Against Maple Leafs

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 1:24 PM GMT

Our NHL handicapping professional breaks down Wednesday’s game between Buffalo and Toronto. Join us in reading this compelling betting preview article which culminates with his money line pick.

Atlantic Division Clash in Buffalo
The Sabres and Leafs get together for an Atlantic Division battle on Wednesday. The opening faceoff at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo is slated for 7:05 PM ET. According to the NHL betting odds at 5Dimes, Toronto is a -110 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.5. These division rivals split their four encounters a season ago, and the home team won on each of those occasions. Buffalo has defeated Toronto five consecutive times at the First Niagara Center. The last eight meetings between these clubs have seen games go 6-1-1 over the total.

Must Read: Cappers' Early Season Observations Worth Noting

Similarities and Comparisons
Both of these teams are currently 1-4, and each club defeated winless Columbus (0-7) for their lone victory. Each of these teams has new head coaches this season, with Mike Babcock taking over in Toronto, and Dan Bylsma for Buffalo. Babcock and Bylsma have both won a Stanley Cup as a head coach. Babcock did so with Detroit with in 2008 and Bylsma with Pittsburgh in 2009. Ironically, when Bylsma won his Stanley Cup in 2009, Pittsburgh defeated Detroit in the Finals, and the Red Wings head coach was Mike Babcock.

Toronto and Buffalo have struggled with their penalty killing in the early going. Opponents have cashed in on 25% of their power play chances against Toronto, and 33.3% versus Buffalo. The power plays of both teams aren’t as similar. Toronto has gone just 2-for-15 (13.3%) with the man advantage thus far and Buffalo is a more than respectable 5-for-21 (23.8%).

The probable starting goaltenders for tonight are Jonathan Bernier for Toronto, and Chad Johnson of Buffalo. Bernier is 0-3 this season while sporting a .901 save percentage, and Johnson has gone 1-4 with a .896 save percentage.

 

Final Analysis
This is a fairly even matchup on paper. However, after observing both teams play through each of their first five games, Buffalo passes my personal eye test compared to Toronto. I like the Sabres top six forwards more than the Leafs in that regard, and Buffalo’s power play has been superior compared to Toronto. I’m going to have a strong lean toward the money line home underdog for one of my NHL picks.

NHL Pick: Play on Buffalo +100 on the money line at 5Dimes.

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