Sabres vs. Lightning NHL Pick: Outrageous Prices Surrounding Clash Suggest Playing the Total As Best Bet

David Lawrence

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 1:33 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2015 1:33 PM GMT

Tampa Bay are a massive -390 favorite on the NHL odds as they host Buffalo. Clearly one of the biggest lines of the season but the question is whether or not the Lightning are worth the price here.

The Buffalo Sabres Can Win Because…
…can they even win? Do we even know who is going to start in net for the Sabres?

On Monday, Buffalo traded away goaltender Michal Neuvirth to the New York Islanders. He had started eight straight games for the Sabres and nine of their last 10. He had taken over for Jhonas Enroth, who was also traded in February. That means that the Buffalo Sabres have now traded their starting goaltender twice in one month. Neuvirth had actually been playing pretty well for the Sabres, posting a .938 save percentage in February. Now they’re resorted to starting Chad Johnson, who had a 3.15 GAA with the Islanders this season or Anders Lindback, who went 0-7-0 with a 3.95 GAA with the Stars this season.

About the only good thing you can say about the Sabres right now is that their offense is clicking. They’ve scored 13 goals in their last three games and had been clicking at that end. However, they traded away Torrey Mitchell, who had scored three times in the last two games, and shipped off Brian Flynn and Chris Stewart as well.

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The Tampa Bay Lightning Can Win Because…
They have the league’s best offense and should feast on one of the league’s worst defensive teams. Put it this way: the Sabres were bad before they started trading away their goaltenders. Now they are starting castaway scraps from other teams; that’s how bad it’s gotten. They had previously been allowing 3.32 goals per game, which is tied for the most in the NHL. Now they have to find a way to slow down a Lightning team that has averaged the most goals per game at 3.25.

Tampa Bay is a completely different animal at home compared to on the road. They are an impressive 23-6-1 at home compared to 15-14-5 when they’re away. The difference is mostly in the goaltending as Ben Bishop is 10-8 on the road with a 2.82 GAA and .893 save percentage. At home, he’s 21-6 with a 2.07 GAA and .927 save percentage.

He’s played really well against Buffalo of late, winning six straight starts while posting a 1.64 GAA against them. Tampa Bay is a huge favorite in this spot on NHL odds but when you consider the situation in net, the home-ice advantage and the momentum, it’s easy to see why they’re favored by so much.

 

Outlook
The Lightning should win this game but the price is too crazy. I’m not laying -390 on the moneyline or -120 on a puckline. Instead, I’ll look at the over. The Lightning should be good for a bunch of goals considering how proficient they are at scoring and how weak the Sabres are in that realm. Meanwhile, Buffalo’s offense has been playing well too. Over is the best choice for your NHL picks in this one.

Free NHL Pick: Over 5.5 at The Greek

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