NHL Picks: Sabres at Leafs

The thing about betting a streak in football is that it can only lose once. Well guess what? It’s the same with hockey betting and my NHL picks are on a sweet 9-2-1 run thanks in part to one team’s inability to score in the first period. Today’s puck preview looks at the Buffalo Sabres vs. Toronto Maple Leafs with tips on one of our NHL betting strategies that’s produced a huge profit in the past two weeks


Living on the west coast, you’ll have to excuse me for not noticing or caring about how poorly the Buffalo Sabres were playing through the first month of this season. Even when Buffalo hosted the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, Oct. 17, hockey lost the PVR battle to football since it was the Seattle Seahawks in action vs. the Arizona Cardinals. When Buffalo stumbled its way out to the left coast Nov. 5 for a three-game set vs. the California trio is when I realized the Sabres had yet to score a single first period goal away from home this season and that online sportsbooks were paying back at plus-money on far superior teams for bettors willing to lay a half-goal through the opening frame.


The Sharks, Kings and Ducks outscored Buffalo 6-1 during that set and to date, the Sabres have been outscored in the first period by a rate of 9 to 1 (27-3 total). We’ve chronicled Buffalo’s woe in NHL Best Bets: Sabres at Kings, NHL Picks: Los Angeles Kings at Buffalo Sabres and yesterday’s Puck Picks: Maple Leafs at Sabres going 5-1 for a net profit of +5.5 units or in other words, +$553.00 (for a hundred dollar bettor).


It’s not as simple as fading the Sabres in the first. You also have to consider line value, odds and the opponent’s scoring tendencies. The strategies we suggested with each article are posted below (click on above article links for more details)


1. Lay the half-goal on Los Angeles (+125) in the first period – Winner

2. Risk 1 unit on the Kings -.5 in the first period (+158) – Winner

3. Take the Kings at Sabres UN 1.5 goals in the first period (-135), betting enough to win 1 unit – Winner

4. Take the (Leafs at Sabres) first period UNDER 1.5 (-135) – Winner

5. Take the full game UNDER 5 (+120) – Winner

6. Bet YES on the Overtime prop (+260) risking a half-unit – Loss


Bottom line is that Buffalo’s personnel are not equipped to mount much of an attack vs. a pro level club and opposing coaches have recognized this and devised a sound gameplan for building an early lead or at minimum, limiting the Sabres quality scoring chances. Tonight is the second part of a home and home between the Sabes and Leafs and Toronto is looking for revenge. The Leafs are 7-3-1 when scoring first but that necessarily mean they will launch an all-out first period assault that leaves their backend open. Randy Carlisle has said he doesn’t want his team guilty of too many turnovers in the offensive zone and Toronto is thin at center so we are projecting roughly eight shots on goal per team in the first, solid goaltending at both ends and another low scoring first.

Today’s play: Take the Sabres at Leafs UNDER 1.5 goals (-130) in the first period


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