Free NHL Bets and Picks: Buffalo Looks to Get Back on Track Against Vancouver
October 20 has six games on. With most teams having played five games, the fans are beginning to get a feel how teams are going to perform this season. Some teams are up in the air though. Here are my free picks for October 20. Odds are found at BetOnline.
*Vancouver Canucks +1½ (-245) at Buffalo Sabres -1½ (+205)
The Sabres have been a non-playoff team for six straight seasons. Now the Sabres, through years of rebuilding, have a team that could be a competitor. So far this season, the Sabres have put up a disappointing 1-4-2 record. Vancouver has put up a 2-2-1 record. The Canucks were not expected to do good this season, but they have not been as bad as expected.
Buffalo has played seven games and have allowed twenty-eight goals. Allowing four goals per game does not bode well for any team trying to win. The Sabres could still be a playoff team, but the Sabres need to start winning now. This starts with tightening up the back end.
Vancouver, who has put up five points in as many games, has only managed twelve goals. The Canucks need to find more ways to generate offense, and it could come against the Sabres weak defense. The Canucks point leader is Brock Boeser, who has a total of four points.
I believe the Canucks scoring issues will continue. If the Canucks score three goals, Vancouver is 2-0 this season. The Sabres have been able to find the back of the net the last two games and I believe it will continue against the Canucks.
The Sabres have been led by Evander Kane in points this season. He five goals and five assists. Kane has been followed closely by Jack Eichel and Jason Pominville, each with nine points. Last game against the Golden Knights, Sam Reinhart, found the back of the net twice for his first two points on the season. Reinhart will need to become a bigger contributor if the Sabres are to dig themselves out of this hole.
Vancouver comes into this game as their third game in four days. I expect the team to be tired after a meeting with Boston the night before. If this is the case, Buffalo, who has had a two-day rest, should be able to come out on top. I believe that if Buffalo can get the offense rolling early, they will have a multi-goal win.
*This article was written before Vancouver played at Boston
Minnesota Wild (+109) at Winnipeg Jets (-120)
Minnesota enters this game with injury problems. Winnipeg is looking to get back on track after their three-game win streak came to an end. The Wild have had difficulty early on this season and hold a 1-1-2 record. The Jets sit at .500, with a 3-3 record.
The Jets have had the story of two goaltenders. Steve Mason has started three games with an 0-3 record. Mason has a save percentage of .846 and a GAA of 5.96. Winnipeg’s other goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck, sits at 3-0 on the season. Hellebuyck has posted a .937 save percentage and a 2.11 GAA. I expect the Jets to start Hellebuyck at home on Friday.
The Wild have five key players on their injury report. Charlie Coyle and Nino Neiderreiter will be out for Friday’s matchup against the Jets. Marcus Foligno, Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise are all doubtful. All five players play a key role in the Wild’s offense, so the Wild will need others to step up if they are to win on Friday.
Minnesota’s goaltending has been shaky as well this season. Starting goaltender Devin Dubnyk has posted a 1-1-1 record, with a .894 save percentage and 3.71 GAA. The Wild will need to limit the shots on net, the Wild allow about thirty-seven shots per game on the year.
The Jets offense has not been as strong as many expected. Patrik Laine has not looked the same as last year’s strong rookie showing. The offense has scored eighteen goals in six games, which I believe the team has the talent to improve upon.
If the Jets can capitalize on the Wild’s injury issues, the Jets should be able to come away with the win. The Jets have been shaky to start the season, but a solid win against division rivals could get the team going. Look for a solid battle between these two teams on Friday night.