Welcome to the weekly installment of my “NHL Games To Watch” betting column for VSiN Point Spread Weekly. I’ll preview some of the marquee games taking place between Thursday and Sunday, targeting some interesting betting spots and looking for potential value with undervalued sides and totals.
Buffalo Sabres @ Washington Capitals
Friday, Nov. 1 - 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
The Buffalo Sabres are off to a surprisingly strong
9-2-2 start, and they’ve done it with great balance and production from all their lines, an improved defense and rock-solid goaltending from Carter Hutton. Buffalo also got off to a great start last season but faded in January and beyond. The Sabres are vowing not to allow that second-half collapse to occur again. This is a great test for Buffalo against a Washington Capitals squad that has been potent offensively as the catalyst to a very good 9-2-3 start. The Capitals are the first team this season to score 50 goals as a team, but they have had some struggles defensively, allowing 46 goals in their first 14 games, which is nearly 3.5 goals per game. I would expect the offenses to be in gear and would lean toward the over. Buffalo might also be a live road underdog here, especially with Washington returning home from a very long trip that started in the West and ended in the East.
Edmonton Oilers @ Pittsburgh Penguins
Saturday, Nov. 2 – 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT It’s a Saturday morning game in Las Vegas and the Pacific Time Zone as two of the game’s greatest players, Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby, face off as the Edmonton Oilers travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins. Edmonton has played some good hockey in the first year under new coach Dave Tippett, who has the Oilers playing a much more disciplined and structured style with a particular emphasis on being tougher and stronger defensively. The Oilers are 8-4-1, and they’ve done it with more balanced offense thanks to big contributions from James Neal. He has given them some much-needed secondary scoring and taken some of the pressure away from McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Pittsburgh has done an admirable job of keeping its head above water despite cluster injuries on the blue line and at forward. The Penguins recently got Bryan Rust, Nick Bjugstad and Alex Galchenyuk back from injury and should have Evgeni Malkin back soon as well. Pittsburgh
is 8-5 in spite of the injuries and has improved its defensive play significantly. The Penguins adjusted to playing a much tighter-checking, lower-scoring brand of hockey that has worked for them. A prime example was their 3-0 shutout win in Dallas last weekend. Some big names headline these teams, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this game is lower scoring than expected. The last meeting between these teams last season was a 3-1 win for the Penguins in Pittsburgh.