NHL Best Bets: Sabres Have More Firepower Than Wild

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Where do we begin? There are 13 games on the NHL schedule tonight and plenty of marquee matchups to choose from. The defending Stanley Cup champion Blues host the high-scoring Lightning, the Maple Leafs travel to Sin City to try to get back on track against the Golden Knights and the hottest team in hockey (the Islanders) travels to Pittsburgh to take on the Sidney Crosby-less Penguins.

There’s plenty to wager on, but let’s take a closer look at two games in particular. Here are my two best bets for Tuesday night:

Minnesota Wild vs. Buffalo Sabres: Sabres (-125)

This is a battle of two (likely) non-playoff teams with some pretty significant home/road splits. The Sabres have slowed down after a hot start, but they’ve been really strong at KeyBank Center this season. Buffalo is 6-2-2 at home and has scored 3.4 goals per game. They’re also allowing just 2.4 goals per game and are averaging 5.5 fewer shots against per game at home as opposed to on the road.

The story is the exact opposite for the Wild. Minnesota is getting outshot away from St. Paul and is scoring an extremely lackluster 2.2 goals per game on the road this season (compared to 3.6 per game at home). As a result, they have a minus-20 goal differential in their 13 road games.

The Sabres have firepower on their top line that Minnesota just can’t match, especially if they get behind early. Ride with the Sabres here before things likely implode for them given their rest of November schedule.

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Chicago Blackhawks: Over 6 goals (-115)

I was a little surprised to see this total come in at less than 6.5, so I’d suggest jumping on it before it potentially adjusts, even with the total juiced to the over. This game features two teams ranked in the top half of the NHL in scoring, including a revitalized Blackhawks team that has thrown caution (and defense) to the wind in favor of a high-powered offensive attack.

Chicago has scored 21 goals over the last four games, and while their goaltending has held up solidly thus far, Carolina is a bad matchup for them. The Hurricanes lead the NHL with a 5v5 Corsi for percentage of 54.4%. Their 33.6 shots on goal per game ranks eighth in the NHL, while the Blackhawks rank dead last in the NHL in shots allowed at 37.1 per game.

In summary, the Blackhawks are scoring at a crazy pace while struggling to defend. The Hurricanes control puck possession and will put a ton of rubber on net. Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner has been very good this season, but he will be tested with volume. This is setting up to be a high-scoring affair.

Season Record: 4-2 (+1.4 units)