Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres Betting Preview 12/29/18

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In a game that features two teams that have put themselves firmly in the playoff picture, the Boston Bruins and the Buffalo Sabres meet at the KeyBank Center. The match will get going at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 29, and you’ll be able to see this Atlantic Division matchup live on New England Sports Network.

Boston Bruins vs. Buffalo Sabres Odds

Buffalo (-105) is entering this one as the underdog to Boston (-115) and oddsmakers have put the Over/Under (O/U) at 6 goals (-120 to bet the over, +100 for the under).

The Sabres are 21-17 straight up (SU) and have earned 7.8 units for moneyline bettors this year. That winning percentage, the third-best in the Atlantic Division so far this season, is a huge turnaround from how the team performed during last year’s regular season (25-57). Through 38 regular season contests, 19 of the team’s games have gone over the total, while 18 have gone under and just one has pushed. The team’s 12-6 SU at home this season.

Buffalo’s converted on 19.2 percent of its power play opportunities this year, a mark that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked fifth overall, and it’s successfully killed off 83.8 percent of all penalties.

As a team, Buffalo has been penalized just 3.4 times per game overall this season, and 2.8 per game over its last five matchups. The team’s had to kill penalties for just 7.5 minutes per game over its last 10 matchups, in total.

With a .916 save percentage and 28.0 saves per game, Carter Hutton (13-13-2) has been the best goalkeeper for the Sabres this season. If they choose to give him the evening off, however, Buffalo might turn to Linus Ullmark (9-4-4 record, .922 save percentage, 2.71 goals against average).

Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner will each lead the offensive attack for the Sabres. Eichel (49 points) has tallied 15 goals and 34 assists and has recorded two or more points on 18 different occasions this year. Skinner has 26 goals and 12 assists to his credit and has recorded a point in 26 games.

Over on the other bench, Boston is 20-18 straight up (SU) and has lost 4.6 units for bettors taking the moneyline this year. Through 38 regular season contests, 22 of its games have gone under the total, while 15 have gone over and just one has pushed. Boston’s 7-13 SU as a road team this season.

Boston has converted on 26.7 percent of its power play opportunities this season, a mark that’s good enough for sixth-best in the league. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 20th overall and it’s successfully defended 78.6 percent of all penalties.

Boston’s players have been penalized 4.1 times per game this season, and 2.6 per game over their last five road outings. The team has been forced to defend opponent power plays just 6.8 minutes per game over their last five outings.

Jaroslav Halak (28.0 saves per game) has been the primary option in the net for Boston. Halak has 12 wins, 10 losses, and two OT losses to his credit, while registering a .928 save percentage and 2.28 goals against average this year.

David Pastrnak (23 goals, 24 assists) will lead the attack for the visiting Bruins.

Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres Betting Predictions

Free NHL Tip: SU Winner – Bruins, O/U – Under

Betting Trends

  • The under has hit in three of Buffalo’s last five outings.
  • Penalties and power plays may play a critical role tonight. The Bruins are 10-9 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 13-12 in games where they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes. The Sabres are 9-7 when the team serves fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 16-10 in games where they’re in the box for less than 10 minutes.
  • Buffalo is ranked 28th overall this season with 5.9 takeaways per game. That figure has trended higher recently, as it has averaged 7.8 takeaways over its last 10 games and 11.4 takeaways over its last five.
  • Boston has averaged 7.2 takeaways per game over its last five road games, a drop-off from its season average of 8.7 takeaways per game (ranked ninth overall).