NHL Tuesday best bets: Sabres to rebound vs. slumping Predators
We have a jam-packed Tuesday card to look forward to, as 26 of the league's 32 teams are set to be in action.
Let's take a closer look at a couple that stand out.
For a while, I've argued the Predators haven't played nearly as well as the results have indicated. That's finally starting to catch up to them.
They've dropped three consecutive games, over which time they scored only three goals while conceding 12.
They're getting significantly outplayed at five-on-five almost every night. That's a recipe for disaster when you're lacking high-end talent and what you do have - Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg, etc. - is sitting on the sidelines.
I don't expect things to improve for the Predators in Buffalo on Tuesday night. The Sabres have been one of the league's most prolific offenses at home this season, netting an average of 3.5 goals per game.
With Josi injured and Mattias Ekholm traded, the Predators lack the defensive personnel needed to slow their attack. They don't have the horses offensively to keep up, either, as we've seen during this dreadful losing skid.
The Sabres should dominate the run of play in this game. Assuming that's the case, their big edge in chances - and true talent - should shine through over 60 minutes, even against Juuse Saros.
Bet: Sabres in regulation (+105)
The Maple Leafs have been a little hit-and-miss since the trade deadline. Meanwhile, the Islanders have won five of seven and are playing some of their best hockey of the season. Even so, I can't wrap my head around this price.
These two teams met back in late January, with tonight's projected starters (Ilya Samsonov and Ilya Sorokin) also between the pipes that game. The Maple Leafs closed as -240 favorites and won by three goals.
I understand Toronto had home ice for that game, and the Islanders didn't have Bo Horvat on their roster. That's not worth a 15% swing in win probability, which is what we're seeing right now.
Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares are all healthy and playing. So, too, is Samsonov, who ranks third in the NHL in save percentage against Grade A chances since the last time the two sides met. There's no reason for such a drastic difference in price.
Could the Islanders go out there and win? Absolutely! But their recent wins, and improved metrics, likely have more to do with them facing teams like the Sharks, Ducks, and Red Wings as opposed to some new leaf - no pun intended - being turned and serving as the solution to all their problems.
This team is still inconsistent offensively, Mathew Barzal isn't in the lineup, and the Maple Leafs are a big jump in class relative to what the Islanders have faced lately.
Growing pains with new personnel or not, I'm happy to back the Maple Leafs against a fringe playoff team at such a reasonable price.
Bet: Maple Leafs (-125)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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