The Chicago Blackhawks (13-29-2, 28 points) play the second of back-to-back NHL games when they head to snowy Buffalo to take on the Sabres (19-21-4, 42 points). Chicago broke a 3-game losing streak with a 2-1 shootout win against the San Jose Sharks last night.
Buffalo beat the Sharks (3-0) Monday to pull within eight points of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the third spot in the Atlantic and within seven points of the last wild card. Oddsmakers have made Buffalo a -290 favorite with a total of 6.5. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT. Let’s start our Blackhawks vs Sabres betting preview with a deeper look at Chicago.
Chicago In Revenge Spot vs Sabres
We suppose the headline would lead one to believe that the Hawks would be fired up to beat the Sabres after losing their first meeting 3-2. The problem is, that a team has to have the ability to beat another team or at least be within shouting distance when comparing talent.
If revenge spots always worked for bettors the Blackhawks would be on a winning streak of more than one because almost every game puts them in a spot where they need to avenge a previous loss. Chicago is 4-18-1 on the road and in 18 of those 23 games have committed more penalties than their opponent putting a bad NHL team in an impossible position to win.
What’s worse, the Blackhawks probably feel good about themselves after their win last night and probably celebrated in some small way before heading out to the snow drifts of Buffalo. NHL Injuries have been an added layer of frustration with 10 NHL players either out for the season or day-to-day.
The latest blow to the team was losing Connor Bedard who underwent surgery to his jaw a couple of days ago. No one on this team will be cleaning up at the NHL Awards this season but this is about the future for the Hawks. We continue our Blackhawks vs Sabres preview by turning our attention to the Sabres.
Buffalo In A Must-Win
We know it’s just January but we are past the mid-way point of the NHL season and it’s time for Buffalo to make a move or get left out of the postseason once again. Last week we wrote a story about the next coach who is favored to get fired, with Sabres head coach Don Granato at the head of the list.
We thought he might deserve more time but games like this will make the Pegula family uncomfortable with a loss, so don’t expect Buffalo to overlook the Blackhawks. The Sabres are looking to do something they’ve been unable to do all season, win back-to-back games at home.
Chicago has lost 15 straight away from the United Center making this a must-win for Buffalo and Granato. To add to the theme, Buffalo will be facing Chicago’s backup goaltender Arvid Soderblom who is 2-13-1 with a .875 save percentage to go with his less-than-impressive 4.01 goals against.
In his career, the 24-year-old is 4-25-3 with a .882 save percentage and a 3.85 goals against. You can see why there is an emphasis on this game for the organization. We conclude our Blackhawks vs Sabres betting preview with our official NHL prediction.
Bettors Can’t Lay The Chalk
We’re never in favor of laying a -290 price, we’re never in favor of it if we’re getting a team like the Sabres who are finding their path to the postseason a difficult journey. So we look to other options with the Sabres because betting on the Blackhawks is a good way to lose a bankroll.
Our immediate go-to is the 3-way wager which is nothing more than a regulation wager. Buffalo is a tolerable -170 or if you want to get nuts, bet on the scoring margin where Buffalo is +320 to win by a goal or +400 to win by two or three.
Our official recommendation is the Sabres -170 in regulation but That +320 might be worth a look. That does it for our Blackhawks vs Sabres betting preview, we wish you nothing but the best with your NHL picks and parlays.