Islanders To Bounce Back As +140 Underdogs At Buffalo

Dana Lane

Friday, December 16, 2016 5:27 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 5:27 PM UTC

In Friday  NHL action, a majority of bettors likely will back Buffalo over the visiting Islanders after New York lost a tough one to Chicago on Thursday night. That would be a mistake.

NHL Season Record: 34-25 (+17.48 units)

We never sweated Thursday's play as the New York Rangers and Dallas Stars easily went 'under' the total as projected. With that win my followers have established a new bankroll high as we have 20 units of profit in sight.  The goal is a 50-unit season, so we'll need to step it up before the midway point of the season.

I have an unwritten rule when it comes to handicapping: stay away from a team when it is getting players back that will change lines or defensive pairings, no matter who those players are.  I always have felt like it takes time for players to get chemistry again.  The NHL oddsmakers typically increase moneylines because the perception is that the public will jump on teams that return key players.  In my mind, it opens up an opportunity to jump on the other side at an inflated price.  That's the case tonight in Islanders at Sabres.

Buffalo should be 100% defensively as Zach Bogosian and Taylor Fedun are expected to return.  As expected, the 'squares' are all over the Sabres as 60% of all tickets written are backing Buffalo.  The 'wise guys' are also on the Sabres, driving this line from an opening number of -130 to -153 on NHL picks.  Have we forgotten these are still the Buffalo Sabres?  Stop overacting to what looks like a sure thing, especially with New York playing, and losing, to Chicago on Thursday.

The Sabres have never had a full lineup this season so to think that everyone will be on the same page to start is wishful thinking. Give them a few games to get their hockey legs before looking to back Buffalo.

Let's go a little deeper and remember that a returning player also means that guys who have stepped up now have to take a step back. That's the one element in all this that is always overlooked.  It will take those players a few games to get used to their old role that doesn't demand as much from them any longer. These are professional athletes, so don't think for a second that everyone just falls back into place with a happy heart.

Also, assume because Jean-Francois Berube is making his first start of the season in net that the Islanders will be at a disadvantage.  Berube will be well rested as he arrived in Buffalo before his teammates. Expect a motivated effort from Berube, who will be a major piece to the Islanders' future if Jaroslav Halak is traded. 

NHL Free Pick: Islanders +140Best Line Offered: Bovada

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