NHL Picks Sabres vs. Bruins to go Under

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, December 21, 2013 3:05 PM GMT

The Bruins host the Sabres on Saturday at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts with the opening faceoff scheduled for 7:05 PM ET. Let's break down the odds and find our value NHL picks in this affair.

Buffalo Sabres (9-26) @ Boston Bruins (23-12)

According to NHL betting odds the Bruins are a -265 money line home favorite and the posted total is 5.0. These two teams have met twice this season and split the two games with each winning on their home ice. The latest of the two meetings came on Thursday night in Buffalo, and the Sabres overcame a 2-1 deficit entering the 3rd period to win 4-2. These two clubs have seen just 1 of their last 10 meetings go under the total.

Showing Signs of Improvement

After a dreadful start to the season that resulted in both their Head Coach and General Manager being fired, the Sabres have shown a marked improvement over their last 5-games. They’ve earned 7 of 10-points possible over that 5-game span. In addition, they’ve won their last 2-games, which marked just their second 2-game winning streak of the season, and their first since November 15th. The wins came by identical 4-2 scores versus Boston and Winnipeg. It also signified the first time this season that the Sabres had scored 4-goals or more in consecutive game. Buffalo is still last in the NHL averaging a pathetic 1.7 goals per game on the season.

Miller Continues to be Elite

Despite having to suffering through an organizational rebuilding process and head coaching change, Ryan Miller continues to play at an extremely high level in goal for the Sabres. Miller has been in goal for 8 of the Sabres 9 wins this season, has posted a very good .922 save percentage. He’s faced more shots on goal than any other goaltender in the NHL this season. He is one of the frontrunners to be the #1 goaltender on the United States Olympic team this coming February in Sochi.

NHL Picks: Saturday Picks of the Day

Getting Back on Track

After going through a torrid stretch that saw them win 14 of 18-games, the Bruins have lost 2 of their last 3. In their most recent game they suffered an embarrassing 4-2 loss at Buffalo on Thursday night, to a Sabres team, which has clearly been the worst team in the NHL so far this season. The Bruins went with backup goaltender Chad Johnson versus the Sabres, and he was less than stellar, stopping just 19 of 23 shots on goal, and his record dropped to 6-2 on the year. Tuukka Rask will be back between the pipes for the Bruins tonight, and this will be his first start versus Buffalo this season. The Bruins are an excellent 9-2 this season following a loss. They’ve lost 2-games in a row this season just twice.

Legitimate Stanley Cup Contender

The core group of this Bruins team has remained intact from the group that won the Stanley Cup in 2011, and has advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2 of the past 3-years. They have one of the top goaltenders in the world in Tuukka Rask, arguably the best defensemen collectively in the NHL, and in my opinion is second to only the Chicago Blackhawks with their quality depth at the forward positions. This is a team that barring significant injuries to key players is primed to make a run at another Eastern Conference title, and a Stanley Cup championship.

NHL Totals Betting System

Any road team with a total of 5.0 or less in the first half of the season, that comes off a home win in which they scored 4-goals or more, and they have a losing record, has seen 70 of those 106-games (66%) go under the total since the beginning of the 1996-1997 season. So for our NHL pick we'll take the Under.

Free Pick: Buffalo/Boston to go under the total of 5.0

[gameodds]7/250835/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]