Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 3:30 PM EST odds are subject to change.
Buffalo +116 over Winnipeg
7:07 PM EST. OT Included. Yeah, Winnipeg has something going for them. They have the best goaltender in the league that single-handedly wins his team more games than any other goalie in the league. Mark Schiefele is one of those players that every team would love to have. His energy and desire levels are unmatched. Josh Morrissey has exploded on the scene, putting up numbers that he has not come close to ever putting up. Despite all that, the Jets are still the second best team here and they should not be favored on the road. The Jets also play tomorrow in Pittsburgh so perhaps they’ll save Connor Hellebuyck for that one. Regardless, we’re not betting or fading teams based on the goaltenders so Buffalo is playable here no matter who is in goal for the Jets.
Buffalo hates prosperity. Here is a team that was on a serious roll with eight wins in nine games and a lot of it had to do with the outstanding goaltending of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Luukkonen was in the minors earlier in the year when Eric Comrie injured himself and the Sabres were forced to make a move. With Comrie out and Luukkonen getting the bulk of the work the last month, the Sabres snuck into this playoff race for the first time since 2012. As it turns out, Eric Comrie was taken off the injured list and the Sabres, because they cannot stand prosperity, sent Luukkanen back down.
What happened next was Craig Anderson got the start against Philadelphia and Buffalo lost. Then Comrie got the start against Seattle and again, Buffalo lost. Seriously, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Idiots. In any event, Luukkanen is back and it appears he’ll start here. We’re not sure if Buffalo lost their momentum or feel more confident with Luukkanen between the pipes but what we do know is that Buffalo is ready to win now. The Sabres' internal plan probably pegged the 2023-24 season as the one where they would be serious playoff contenders. That's accelerated, and Luukkonen, whose current six-game winning streak is the longest for an NHL rookie, has helped in that pursuit big time. The Sabres also have a Hart Trophy candidate in Tage Thompson, a Norris candidate in Rasmus Dahlin and a Calder candidate in Owen Power. They’re getting career years from Alex Tuch, Jeff Skinner and Dylan Cozens. We’ll see how this one plays out but we’ll repeat that Buffalo is as good or better than the Jets and should not be a dog in their own barn in this matchup.
Buffalo +116 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.32)