Buffalo Sabres vs. Calgary Flames Odds, Lines, Picks & Predictions – NHL, Mar. 18

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Calgary Flames defenseman Erik Gudbranson (44) in the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 13, 2022, in Denver.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
BetMGM Staff @BETMGM Mar 18, 2022, 11:00 AM

The NCAA tournament is in full swing, which means there will be a lot of college basketball betting taking place, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking a breather and taking part in some ice hockey betting.

There are six NHL games on Friday, some of which will have an impact on NHL playoff odds.

One game worth taking a look at is the Sabres-Flames matchup, as the Flames are currently leading the Pacific division.

Buffalo Sabres vs. Calgary Flames Odds, Total

Moneyline: Sabres +260 | Flames -350

Spread: Sabres +1.5 (+105) | Flames -1.5 (-130)

Total: 6.5 Over -105 | Under -115

Buffalo Sabres vs. Calgary Flames Analysis

Out of the frying pan and into the fire might be the appropriate analogy for the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.

The Sabres are competing on the second night of a back-to-back after getting trounced by the Edmonton Oilers Thursday. Things don’t get any easier tonight as they travel to take on the Pacific division-leading Calgary Flames. There’s still value in backing the home side despite the steep price.

Somehow, the Sabres have faltered even further down the analytics ladder over their current schedule. Buffalo has been outplayed in five straight games, watching their expected goals-for percentage drop to 39.3%.

The Sabres are prone to defensive zone lapses, giving up the eighth-most quality chances at 5-on-5 this season. They also don’t spend enough time with the puck to generate any meaningful offense. Buffalo has been out-possessed in all but one of their past seven games, resulting in diminished offensive metrics. Consequently, they’ve been limited to one or fewer goals in three of their past five.

All of these inefficiencies will be compounded by playing on the second consecutive night against one of the top analytics teams in the league.

The Flames have the second-best expected goals-for rating in the NHL and that effort is displayed on a nightly basis. Calgary has outplayed their opponents in four of five games, posting a cumulative 56.4% and out-chancing their opponents in quality opportunities 53-30. We also foresee long-term success with the Flames as they have a PDO of 1.009, which is only marginally above average, illustrating the sustainability of their performances.

The Flames decimate their opponents on home ice, posting only five regulation losses at the Scotiabank Saddledome this season. The Sabres have stumbled over their recent outings and they are unlikely to turn things around on short rest against one of the best teams in the league. We like Calgary to walk away victorious.

Buffalo Sabres vs. Calgary Flames Prediction

Flames -350

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Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.

Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.