Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST.
OT included. 3:00 PM EST. Nore the late afternoon start time. The Capitals are coming off a 7-1 loss in Chicago, which usually means a response is in order but we’re not going to concern ourselves with that. Analytically, the Caps are a bottom seven team over the past 15 games in just about every metric. One can look at any block of 15 games throughout this season and find the Caps in the same weak position. Over the past five weeks, only two teams have allowed more High Danger Scoring Chances than the Capitals. Washington has mustered 20, 27, 27, 27, 17, 25 and 23 shots on net over its last seven games respectively, while allowing 44, 34, 44, 29, 37, 39 and 39 over those same games. Since January 12, a span of five weeks, the Capitals are dead last in the NHL in xGA/60. That puts them worse than the Islanders, worse than the Rangers, worse than the Sens and a lot worse than these Sabres. The under the hood numbers on the Caps have been weak for most of the year and they’re getting weaker. Those metrics insist this is a weak team that has been getting extremely lucky. That luck ran out on Saturday in Chicago and the Caps may not get it back. After playing in Winnipeg, Minnesota and Chicago, the Caps will wrap up their four-game trip here for this afternoon affair before returning home to face the Lightning tomorrow night in a much bigger game than this one. That the Capitals are priced in this range on the road is absurd.
The Sabres are without Jack Eichel still so they’ll remain underpriced until he gets back. Not that they were overpriced with Eichel but the market didn’t like them then and they certainly don’t like them now without their best player. However, Buffalo is playing well right now by picking up eight deserving points out of a possible 14 points over its last seven games. The Sabres have recent wins over Boston, Tampa Bay with an OT loss to the Ducks thrown in. They also have several warm players right now, as Ryan O’Reilly has recorded 18 points (9+9) in his last 18 games, Sam Reinhart has totaled 16 points (6+10) in his last 15 games, Rasmus Ristolainen has 18 points (4+13) in his last 22 games dating back to Dec. 29 and Kyle Okposo has recorded 16 points (3+13) in his last 17 games, including four multi-point games. And while the Caps rank 27th in 5v5 Score and Venue Adjusted Corsi Against per 60 over the past five weeks, the Sabres rank 13th over that same stretch. The strategy here hasn’t changed, as once again, we’ll play the true value and let the chips fall where they may. That value is on the home dog.
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BUFFALO +131 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.62)