This divisional rivalry tilt in Florida will open a six-game slate in the NBA on Friday, February 24, and here you can check out the best Sabres vs. Panthers betting pick and odds.
Buffalo will be playing the second game of a back-to-back set when they visit Florida at FLA Live Arena. The Panthers are -179 moneyline favorites on DraftKings NY Sportsbook, while the total is set at 6.5 goals. These Atlantic Division foes will meet for the third time this season; the Panthers lead the series 2-0.
Sabres couldn’t make it three in a row
The Buffalo Sabres (28-23-3-1, 30-25 ATS) are playing in waves in the past few weeks. They were on a five-game winning streak and then lost four in a row, after which they got two straight wins. The Sabres couldn’t record the third consecutive win as the Toronto Maple Leafs came to Buffalo and won 6-3. Buffalo now has 60 points and is 12th in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Florida but with five games in hand.
The Maple Leafs shocked the Sabres with four unanswered goals in the opening period, and the visitors got to a 5-0 lead. At that point, it was all over, and all the hosts could do is to soften a defeat with three goals in the final frame. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was subbed off after conceding four goals from Toronto’s ten shots but will have a chance for redemption against the Panthers. This year, Tage Thompson is the Sabres’ top producer with 72 points (G 36, A 36). Alex Tuch has 61 (G 27, A 34) and Rasmus Dahlin contributes 60 points (G 14, A 46).
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (14-8-2) is a probable starting goaltender against Florida on Friday. The 23-year-old is allowing 3.55 goals per game this season with a .894 SV% and no shutouts.
Panthers edged the Ducks in OT
The Florida Panthers (29-25-5-1, 24-36 ATS) returned home from a four-game road trip on which they registered two wins. The Panthers opened their two-game homestay with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Anaheim Ducks and now are finding themselves in the 8th position in the East with 64 points. Florida will play nine of the next ten games at FLA Live Arena.
The Panthers came from two goals behind against Anaheim thanks to Eric Staal and Marc Staal, while Ryan Lomberg forced overtime before Carter Verhaeghe scored a game-winner in OT. Florida deserved to get two points as the hosts attempted even 55 shots opposite the Ducks’ 32. So far this season, Matthew Tkachuk leads the Panthers in points and is among the top 5 players in the NHL with 78 (G 28, A 50). Carter Verhaeghe chips in 52 (G 30, A 32), and Aleksander Barkov has 50 points (G 16, A 34).
Sergei Bobrovsky (17-15-2) is expected to take his place between the sticks against Buffalo on Friday. The 34-year-old is conceding 3.12 goals per contest this year with a .902 SV% and one shutout.
RW Patric Hornqvist (concussion) and RW Givani Smith (facial) are out indefinitely. RW Sam Bennett (undisclosed) is questionable to face the Sabres on Friday.
2-5 in the last seven overall
1-4 in the last five vs. Eastern Conference rivals
15-36 in the last 51 in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation
10-2 in the last 12 games playing on three or more days of rest
6-1 in the last seven vs. Atlantic Division opponents
4-1 in the last five vs. a team with a winning record
Buffalo Sabres vs. Florida Panthers Pick
The Sabres will be playing the second game of a back-to-back set after facing the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. Florida, on the other hand, will have more than enough time to prepare for this clash, and I am backing the Panthers to get a comfortable win. The Panthers won eight of the previous ten games at home and managed to beat the Sabres in both H2H duels played in Buffalo this season. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will be hoping to respond to a weak performance from his last start, but he is experiencing the worst month of the campaign in February. He is the weakest link for the Sabres, in my opinion.
Pick: Take the Panthers at -1.5 Puck Line (+115)
I mentioned Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s poor form in February; he started four games and allowed 5.35 goals per contest with a below-average .856 SV%. He was on the ice for just 12 minutes in his latest start, during which he surrendered four goals. I am backing the Panthers to exploit Luukkonen’s bad form and score four or five goals with ease. Over is 4-1 in the Sabres’ last five overall; Over is 7-2 in Buffalo’s previous nine vs. Atlantic Division rivals, while Over is 12-3-2 in the Panthers’ last 17 overall.
Pick: Go Over 6.5 goals (-110)