NHL Picks: Sabres vs. Bruins

David Schwab

Thursday, January 31, 2013 4:57 PM GMT

It will be a showdown between last and first in the Northeast Division this Thursday night when the Buffalo Sabres invade TD Garden looking to close the early gap against the red-hot Boston Bruins.

NHL Picks- Buffalo Sabres vs. Boston Bruins

Year-to-Date NHL Record: 6-2-1

Game time is set for 4 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast locally.

Sabres Betting Overview

Buffalo has actually played better than its 2-3-1 start with one-goal losses to Washington and Toronto in its last two games. It is 1-2 on the road so far and the total has stayed UNDER in three of its last five games. The Sabres have only been outscored by a total of three goals over the course of their first six games.

If they are going to have any shot at ending this four-game slide, the Sabres will need a better effort on defense after giving-up an average of 3.17 goals so far. They have turned-in a very average effort against the power play with a kill rate of 80 percent. Offensively, Buffalo has done a good job with the man advantage with a power-play percentage of 22.7 percent. It has averaged 2.67 goals per game led by Thomas Vanek (3 goals, 7 assists) and Jason Pominville (4 goals, 5 assists)

Bruins Betting Overview

Boston extended it current winning streak to three games with a thrilling 2-1 shootout victory over New Jersey this past Tuesday as a 163 home favorite. The win left it 5-0-1 this season with the only setback being a 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers as a 112 road underdog. The Bruins have averaged 2.8 goals a game to help the total go OVER in three of their last four games

With a goals-against-average of 2.8 as well, Boston has been very opportunistic with its scoring to post such a fast start out of the gate. In other words, it has been lucky. Nathan Horton leads the team with three goals, but the scoring has been spread out with 11 different players tallying at least one goal so far. Tuukka Rast has seen the majority of the action in goal and has been a huge contributor to the Bruins early success with a GAA of 1.74 to go along with a .932 save percentage.

Sabres vs. Bruins- NHL Betting Odds and Trends

BetOnline has opened Boston as a prohibitive 177 home NHL betting odds favorite and Buffalo a +161 underdog on the money line with the total set at 5.5.

The Sabres are 0-4 in their last four games playing on one day’s rest and 1-5 in their last six games on the road. The total has gone OVER in four of their last five division games.

The Bruins are 23-6 in their last 29 games against the Northeast Division and 4-0 in their last four home games. The total has stayed UNDER in four of their last five games at home.

Head-to-head in this series, the home team is 4-0 and the total has gone OVER in nine of the last 15 games. Buffalo is 2-8 in its last 10 trips to Boston.

[gameodds]7/218184/43/us[/gameodds]

Sabres vs. Bruins- Free NHL Pick

Given that this is still a division game between two teams that know each other well, with such a prohibitively high money line on Boston, the free NHL pick in this game is on Buffalo. Despite some of the recent trends in this series working against Buffalo, look for the Sabres to finally end-up on the winning side of a close game.

NHL Free Picks: Buffalo 3   Boston 2 (lines provided by BetOnline)

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