NHL Betting Preview (March 30): Sabres vs. Maple Leafs Predictions

The last edition of the Battle of the QEW for 2023/24 makes its way to Keybank Center on Saturday night, as the Buffalo host the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bragging rights for the season series have effectively been settled already, with Buffalo guaranteed to finish with more points – but both teams have the greater NHL standings to worry about tonight, giving this game even more juice than their own rivalry.

Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Sabres

TOR -150
BUF +125

The Maple Leafs are healthy road favourites, coming in at -150 on the moneyline. This number has closed towards the middle ground overnight.

Sabres vs. Maple Leafs Betting Odds

Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds-150
Sabres Moneyline Odds+125
Puck Line oddsMaple Leafs -1.5 (+150), Sabres +1.5 (-180)
Total Goals line6.5 goals (over -110, under -110)
Time/DateMarch 30, 7:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: CBC, Sportsnet
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

All odds courtesy of

Betting the Maple Leafs (41-22-9 SU, 28-44 ATS, 39-31-1 o/u)

After a tough and sloppy loss to New Jersey on Tuesday, the Maple Leafs stepped up on Thursday to not just defeat the Washington Capitals, but do so decisively. The game started with Mark Giordano, a surprise last-minute addition to the lineup, coming back from the IR and landing straight onto the score sheet, putting Toronto up midway through the first period with his second goal of the year.

The Leafs held this lead the entire night. Tyler Bertuzzi put the Leafs up 2-0 in the opening seconds of the second, and while that lead was temporarily halved by Nick Dowd, it would never get threatened again from there. Connor Dewar scored his first as a Maple Leaf midway through the period, and in the third, Bobby McMann continued his own hot streak before leaving Bertuzzi to score another to ice the game.

It was a necessary result for the whole team, whose shot totals were similar to Tuesday’s but with fewer breakdowns attached. Joseph Woll was much better in the net as well, stopping 23 of 24.

Betting the Sabres (35-34-5 SU, 42-32 ATS, 30-42-2 o/u)

The last time the Leafs took on the Sabres, the team looked to have their playoff hopes on life support. A few weeks later, and things haven’t been great for them – they’ve had a 6-5-0 record since – but the middle of the east has been such a sea of mediocrity and/or struggle in recent weeks that their clock still hasn’t technically hit midnight.

Realistically, with eight games remaining and a six-point deficit to a Capitals team that’s got two games in hand, it’s unlikely that the Sabres will pull off a miracle push. But they at least gave themselves a bit of hope on Friday with a Tage Thompson-led comeback against New Jersey, who are one of the teams they need to pass on the way up. After falling behind 2-0 in the first ten minutes, a natural hat trick from Thompson pulled the Sabers ahead across the second and third period. A pair of empty netters in the final minute came to boost the numbers even further, and give them some momentum to run with.

The Sabres’ math isn’t great, and they’re going to come into this game tired following a tense game in the first half of a back-to-back. But they always play the Leafs strong, and they’ve still got something on the line here, so don’t be surprised if they make a big push.

Last Matchup

After an embarrassing first game against the Sabres this year, Toronto played their most recent one much higher a few weeks ago, opting to squeak out a low-scoring affair. William Nylander and Victor Olofsson scored the only goals in regulation just four minutes apart from each other in the second period, which goes to show the excitement in this game that went to overtime and still only had 52 combined shots. In the extra frame, Auston Matthews ended up the hero, scoring his 54th of the year with 40 seconds remaining.

Projected Sabres and Leafs Lines

Today’s Toronto Maple Leafs LinesToday’s Buffalo Sabres Lines
Tyler Bertuzzi – Auston Matthews – Max Domi
Bobby McMann – John Tavares – William Nylander
Matthew Knies – Pontus Holmberg – Nick Robertson
Connor Dewar – David Kampf – Noah Gregor

Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe
TJ Brodie – Ilya Lyubushkin
Mark Giordano – Conor Timmins

Starting In Goal
Ilya Samsonov
19-6-7, 3.12 GAA, 0.889 SV%
JJ Peterka – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch
Zach Benson – Dylan Cozens – Jack Quinn
Jeff Skinner – Peyton Krebs – Jordan Greenway
Zemgus Girgensons – Tyson Jost – Victor Olofsson

Owen Power – Rasmus Dahlin
Bowen Byram – Henri Jokiharju
Jacob Bryson – Connor Clifton

Starting In Goal
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen
24-19-3, 2.57 GAA, 0.911 SV%

The Maple Leafs are currently projected to run the same lineup of skaters as they had on Thursday. On Buffalo’s end, I was hoping to see Devon Levi tonight as he continues his bounce-back tour of the league, though with him starting yesterday it’s exceedingly likely we’ll see Luukkonen instead. Toronto had no issue picking him apart last year, but he was fantastic in the game between these two teams earlier this month.

Auston Matthews to take over 4.5 shots on goal


Sabres vs. Maple Leafs Injury Concerns

The Maple Leafs had Mark Giordano return to the lineup on Thursday, a surprise he made good on with a quick goal. He took Timothy Liljegren’s place – he’s going to miss “some time”, according to Sheldon Keefe. Ilya Samsonov returns to the lineup tonight as well.

The Sabres remain without Mattias Samuelsson, whose season ended following surgery in February. Lukas Rousek is day-to-day with a head injury.

  • The Sabres have the edge in the head-to-head matchup over their last ten games against each other, with a 6-4 record dating back to November 2021. They’re even better off against the puckline, going 8-2.
  • Toronto is 5-5 in their last ten games, with a 6-4 edge against the puckline. Six of those ten games have also hit the over on total goals.
  • Buffalo is 6-4 over their own ten-game stretch, with a 7-3 edge against the puck line and an even split of five overs and five unders compared to the total goals line.
  • Auston Matthews leads the Leafs in assists (9) and points (14) in their last ten games, to go along with five goals. He also leads the team in shots on goal in that time, with 54 pucks to the net – one of his highest-volume stretches of the season.
  • Tyler Bertuzzi’s stick remains hot, with six goals in Toronto’s last ten games and four in their last five.
  • A huge four-goal evening for Tage Thompson on Friday propels him to eight goals and six assists in Buffalo’s last ten games. He leads the Sabres in goals, points (14), and shots on goal (38).

Sabres vs. Maple Leafs Predictions

  • As always, we open with Auston Matthews’ anytime goal prop, and he’s at -160 today, which is not the greatest value compared to some previous games. For a slightly better number, you can look at his shot prop, which prices him at -150 to clear 4.5 shots on goal. Matthews has an insane 46 shots in his last seven games, including 26 in his last ten. He’s also scored in all three games against Buffalo this season.
  • Alex Tuch is in the middle of a seven-game point streak (1G 9A 10P) and while he was left off the score sheet the last time the Leafs and Sabres faced off, he had six points across both of Buffalo’s wins against Toronto this year. He’s -150 for a point tonight.
  • If you like Buffalo to be their usual thorn in Toronto’s side, a Boosted Same Game Parlay on bet365 has them winning with a Rasmus Dahlin assist and a Tage Thompson goal, at +600 (up from +525). This one requires a lot of stuff to go right, so I wouldn’t treat it as an overly safe pick, but if your mind is going in this direction, the boost is a healthy one.

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