NHL Picks: Back Solid Avalanche At Home To Terrorize Striving Sabres

Bruce Webster

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 3:25 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 3:25 PM UTC

The Buffalo Sabres meet the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Get ready for this showdown with our preview and free NHL picks.

Buffalo Sabres vs. Colorado Avalanche
Lines: Colorado -164/ Buffalo +148
Total: 5
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Free NHL Pick: Colorado
Best Line Offered: at Bet365


The NHL odds are out for tonight's game as the Buffalo Sabres (2-1-0 SU, 1-2 PL, 1-2-0 OU) come in off a nice 2-1 road win over the Arizona Coyotes and they have now won four of their last five games, while the Colorado Avalanche (-3-0 SU, 0-3 PL, 3-0-0 OU) come in off a 2-1 road win over the Winnipeg Jets, but still they have won just two of their last five games. Colorado has won the last nine at home in the series.


Chad Johnson Stymies the Coyotes
The Buffalo Sabres have been playing some good hockey of late as they followed up a big 4-1 home win over the Capitals with a solid 2-1 road win over the Coyotes. Chad Johnson had the win over the Caps and he also had grabbed the win over the Coyotes, stopping 26 of the 27 shots that were thrown his way. Johnson is still just 12-14 on the year with a 2.36 GAA. He should get the start here as well and is also 6-8 with a 2.65 GAA on the road, while vs the Avs he has gone 2-1 with a 2.00 GAA in his career.

The Sabres have been an average defensive squad this year, ranking 15th in goals allowed at 2.6 gpg, while ranking 23rd in penalty kill at 79.3%. Scoring for the Sabres in the win was Jack Eichel, which was his 14th goal of the year and Jamie McGinn, which was his 10th of the year. This is not a team that has a lot of scoring options as just six players on the team have at least eight goals on the year. The Sabres come in ranked 27th in in the league in scoring, putting up just 2.3 gpg, while converting on 20.4% of their power play chances, which is 9th in the league. The Sabres are still not a very good team overall, but they are showing that they are improving as the season goes on.

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Varlamov Leads Colorado over Winnipeg
The Colorado Avalanche have been an inconsistent team this year and have really struggled in goal, but they have had some good games in the crease as well and that includes their 2-1 win over the Jets on Monday night. Semyon Varlamov had a strong game vs them as he stopped 36 of the 37 shots thrown his way. He is now 16-15 with a 2.76 GAA on the year, including 9-10 with a 3.21 GAA at home, while vs the Sabres he has gone 5-1 with a 2.30 GAA in his career. The Avs have not been a very good defensive team this year, but they do come in having allowed just three total goals in their last three games.

Colorado comes in ranked 24th in goals allowed, giving up 2.8 gpg, while allowing teams to convert on 19.5% of their power play chances, which is 15th in the league. For the most part this year the Colorado offense has been very strong, but they have been slumping a bit as they have scored a total of just six goals in their last four games. Scoring the two Colorado goals in the win over the Jets was Carl Soderberg (9th), who also had an assist in the game and Jarome Iginla (13th). Overall the Avs are 7th in the league in scoring, putting up 2.8 gpg, while converting on 20.9% of their power play chances, which is also 7th in the league.       


Trends for Buffalo:
6-39 in their last 55 vs. the Western Conference
13-38 in their last 51 road games vs. a team with a losing home record


Trends for Colorado:
6-0 in their last six after scoring two goals or less in their previous game
5-0 in their last five when their opponent scores two goals or less in their previous game


Betting Analysis
The Sabres have pulled a few surprises of late, but this will not be one of them. The Avs have the far better offense and they rate the edge in goal as well, plus the Sabres are a bad team on the road. The Colorado offense has sputtered of late, but at home it has been solid all year and should breakout out here vs Chad Johnson, who has played well of late, but still has not been all that good this year. Take the Avs at home in this one for your NHL picks.

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