Ice Hockey

Betting tips: Buffalo Sabres vs. San Jose Sharks 1/15

As usual, Martin Luther King Day means a busy schedule of afternoon NHL games. Today’s first matchup provides interesting value in backing the underdog with a handicap bet.

Buffalo in a hurry to get wins

The Buffalo Sabres received comforting news when Tage Thompson returned to the ice for Saturday’s afternoon game. Otherwise, there wasn’t much else positive to say, as the Sabres went scoreless and took only 41 percent of expected goals to their name. The situation is already very difficult as the Sabres are in the 13th place in the Eastern Conference and nine points away from playoff positions.

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During the first half of the regular season, Buffalo’s problems have ranged from ineffective scoring to poor goaltending. Devon Levi will soon be the solution to the latter, but the 21-year-old is still just getting used to NHL action. The defensive end also suffers from Mattias Samuelsson‘s injury, although he may return today. Jeff Skinner, on the other hand, will still be sidelined for weeks, removing the top goal scorer from Buffalo’s offense.

Sharks lead race for first overall pick

In San Jose, the focus is already on the trade deadline, during which the main goal is to play the long game and build the future. The next draft is going to help achieve that goal. With 23 points, San Jose is last in the league and currently the most likely winner of next summer’s Macklin Celebrini sweepstakes.

The season has been a complete disaster from the very beginning. On the power play, the Sharks have been almost average (18.5%), but every other part of their game has fallen apart. In terms of goal difference, the Sharks are likely to dip below -100 before the All-Star Game break. There are also injuries, although the same players have been sidelined for a long time.

With its top lines, San Jose can challenge teams of Buffalo’s caliber. Mikael Granlund’s average of 0.8 PPG is the team’s best tally, while Tomas Hertl is their top goal scorer with 13 goals. On the defensive end, the situation is alarming, and the Sharks truly need a makeover. The acquisition of Calen Addison in the fall was a step in the right direction.

Sharks handicap to start the national holiday

The Sharks enter almost every game as underdogs, and that’s also the situation today in Buffalo. The lineup situation is not optimal for either of them, but the baseline comparison clearly goes to Buffalo. Having said that, Buffalo hasn’t particularly impressed with their play either. About once every three times, the Sharks will surprise and pick up their eleventh win of the season.

There’s slight value in that with +205 available for the Sharks moneyline on Unibet. However, the handicap line looks a lot more interesting with Sharks +1.5 goals at -114. Anything better than -125 would work for me, so this a no-brainer pick to kick off a busy day of NHL hockey.

Tip: San Jose Sharks +1.5 @ -114
Units: 4/10

The match will start on 1/15/2024 at 12:00 PM EST.
The odds are from the time of publication of the article and are subject to change.

Esa Kostet
X: @konekostet

Bet $25 & Get $100

Register and Bet $25 on any match (min odds +100). Win or lose, you’ll get $100 in bonus bets!

This offer is available only for new Unibet players residing in New Jersey. 21+.

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