Hockey Betting Preview, Nov. 25-Dec. 1: Sabres Find Winning Formula

Doug Upstone

Saturday, November 24, 2018 11:30 PM UTC

Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018 11:30 PM UTC

As we get ready to wrap up November, we've moved just past the quarter portion of the regular season. Let's consider where we have been and where we are going when making NHL picks.

The Good

Here are the number of points the Buffalo Sabres have put up in the past five seasons, starting in 2013-14: 52 54 81 78 62

That is futility. However, that is in the midst of changing and possibly in the best way. Buffalo had won nine of its last 10 games at press time and was on track to put up 112 points this season. Is that going to happen? Probably not. But in the NHL, after what Vegas did last year, it's almost impossible to come up with an emphatic "No!"

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Allllll the feels 🤗#LetsGoBuffalo ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/ggSJDNpXDd

— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) November 23, 2018
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The Sabres are now running with Tampa Bay and Toronto in the Atlantic Division, but the Lightning and Maple Leafs were supposed to be there -- not Buffalo.

What changed? Pretty much everything. Last season Buffalo was 31st in scoring and 29th in goals allowed, and this year they are 16th and eighth, respectively, at press time. Buffalo has gotten rid of players with bloated contracts and now has players interested in working hard and, more importantly, winning.

Because of how well the Sabres have played, they have moved to the top of the list of Play On of NHL picks.

Coaching changes: Once again NHL owners are firing coaches like a person changes socks. Bacause this is our positive or "Good" section, let's put our hands together for Nashville's Peter Laviolette. All he's done the last few years in Nashville is win and most Coach of the Year awards don't go to the best one. Still, he deserves credit for consistent excellence.

The Bad

The Vancouver Canucks were supposed to be the worst team in the Western Conference and instead, their pedestrian roster of players started the year 9-6 SU. From there, everything has gone downhill like a skier doing extreme skiing.

Priot to Saturday night's win over Los Angeles, the Canucks had lost eight in a row. But because how poorly everyone is playing in the Pacific Division -- outside of Calgary -- Vancouver is in the middle of the pack in the standings.

So what has happened? That is the second part of the "Bad" section.

Injuries ruining seasons: For the Canucks, a wave of injuries has made and below-average roster worse. They are not the only team this has happened to.

Boston and Dallas have been forced to call up multiple defensemen with little or no NHL experience. Anaheim most nights has close to a half a team of minor-league players taking regular shifts. Philadelphia has also gone to the minors with both regular goaltenders out.

If you are studying the NHL odds, make sure you know these facts or it could cost you money.

Tasty Rink Betting Tidbits
  • VANCOUVER is 16-38 against teams allowing 2.85 or more goals a game.
  • BOSTON is 14-4 "under" in November road games the last three seasons.
  • ARIZONA is 16-39 after one or more consecutive "unders" the last two seasons.
  • ST. LOUIS is 2-9 against teams averaging 29.5+ shots on goal this season.
  • NASHVILLE is 10-1 after playing a home game this season.
  • EDMONTON is 10-20 after a division game the last two seasons.
  • WINNIPEG is 21-6 ATS having lost two of their last three games since last season.
  • FLORIDA is 4-14 away after playing consecutive road games the last two seasons.

What Lies Ahead: The Schedule

Monday: Washington visits the New York Islanders and it could be for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

Tuesday: Colorado and Nashville have a return engagement from earlier this month when the Predators won 4-1 in the Rockies.

Wednesday: Underachieving San Jose visits Toronto, which has played steady hockey for more than a month now.

Thursday: If Buffalo keeps playing well, their game at Tampa Bay is the best contest of the day.

Saturday Bonus:

Toronto at Minnesota, 6:30 p.m. ET
Winnipeg at New Jersey, 6:30 p.m. ET
N.Y. Rangers at Montreal, 6:30 p.m. ET
Vegas at Edmonton, 10 p.m. ET

Will the Maple Leafs keeping playing great on the road? New Jersey has been super on home ice; can they upset Winnipeg? Who plays less lethargic, the Golden Knights or the Oilers?

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