NHL Betting Preview (March 6): Sabres vs. Maple Leafs Odds

The Battle of the QEW resumes on Wednesday night, as the Toronto Maple Leafs host their almost Canadian foes in the Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Arena. The game concludes a five-game homestand for the Leafs, which the Buds would like to wrap up with a winning reocrd.

Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Sabres

BUF +155
TOR -185

The Maple Leafs are moderate home favourites at bet365, sitting at -185 on the moneyline, a number that has closed in from -200 overnight.

Maple Leafs vs. Sabres odds

Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds-185
Sabres Moneyline Odds+155
Puckline oddsMaple Leafs -1.5 (+130), Sabres +1.5 (-155)
Total6.5 goals (over -110, under -110)
Time/DateMar. 6, 7:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: Sportsnet
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

All odds courtesy of

About the Maple Leafs (35-18-8 SU, 22-39 ATS, 33-26-2 o/u)

All it takes to unravel a fanbase is one decisive loss against a team they don’t like, especially when we’re talking about the Toronto Maple Leafs. Frustration is hot once again in Toronto despite wins in nine of 11 and a 13-4 record over the past six-and-a-half weeks, thanks to a 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Monday.

To the credit of the frustrated, it was far from Toronto’s best night. Boston, who have been in a bit of a rut lately and needed the points against a team catching up in the divisional race, tightened up and put their hard and fast forecheck on display, conceding 33 shots but not giving up a ton of danger. David Pastrnak, as he often is against the Leafs, was brilliant with three primary assists, and Jake DeBrusk picked dup a pair of points including the game-winner. Toronto’s lone goal came from John Tavares early in the third period.

Losses like this happen at times, especially against top teams, but it’s a reminder that hot streaks guarantee you nothing and that you have to be prepared for teams that are willing to play you aggressively.

About the Sabres (29-29-4 SU, 34-28 ATS, 25-35-2 o/u)

On the other side, the Sabres are on the other half of the Atlantic, in the “we thought this was our year to leap, but it wasn’t” corner with Ottawa and to some extent, Detroit. After finishing just outside the playoff picture last year, there was a ton of buzz around Buffalo coming into this season, and it, unfortunately, hasn’t amounted to results, with the team sitting at .500 going into trade deadline weekend.

Things have gotten better of late, though, with most of the damage done early in the season. Wins against Tampa and Vegas last week put the Sabres at and above .500 for the first time since early November, and the team has won five of their last seven, dropping points only against Florida and Winnipeg.

The Sabres offence has not been as good this season as it was when it exploded last year, but players like Tage Thompson, Casey Mittelstadt, Jeff Skinner, Alex Tuch, and Rasmus Dahlin remain threats to put numbers on the board every night.

Last Matchup

The last game between these two teams came on December 21st and it might be the most embarrassing game of the Maple Leafs’ season. Buffalo got ahead two and a half minutes in and while you’d think that’s where the mess started, Auston Matthews was quick to ie the game and within just over 10 minutes, Max Domi had brought them ahead. It was then that the mess got bad, with Owen Power tying the game and beginning a run where Buffalo scored eight of the next nine goals. The end result was a 9-3 defeat that was one of the worst defensive performances in modern Leafs history.

Projected Lineups

Today’s Toronto Maple Leafs LinesToday’s Buffalo Sabres Lines
Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi – Max Domi – William Nylander
Bobby McMann – John Tavares – Calle Jarnkrok
Pontus Holmberg – David Kampf – Ryan Reaves

Morgan Rielly – Ilya Lyubushkin
T.J Brodie – Jake McCabe
William Lagesson – Simon Benoit

Starting In Goal
Ilya Samsonov
15-5-6, 3.23, 0.883 SV%
Jordan Greenway – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch
Jeff Skinner – Peyton Krebs – Lukas Rousek
Zach Benson – Dylan Cozens – JJ Peterka
Eric Robinson – Zemgus Girgensons – Kyle Okposo

Rasmus Dahlin – Henri Jokiharju
Owen Power – Connor Clifton
Ryan Johnson – Jacob Bryson

Starting In Goal
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen
19-16-2, 2.46 GAA, 0.914 SV%

Toronto’s lineup projects to be the same on the skater front as it was on Monday, with the only potential change involving David Kampf. Kampf missed yesterday’s practice with an illness, but hasn’t been ruled out for tonight.

Buffalo’s lineup appears to be the same as their last game as well, with the only change being a switch of the pairs for Connor Clifton and Jacob Bryson.

UPDATE: So much for that! The Sabres have traded Casey Mittlestadt to the Colorado Avalanche this afternoon, returning Bowen Byram. It’s not known at this point if Byram will play tonight, though one would imagine it to be unlikely.

Buffalo Sabres under 3.5 goals


Key Injuries

The Maple Leafs got some good news ahead of Monday’s game when Ilya Lyubushkin was cleared to play without missing any time, and got more good news on Tuesday when they got word that Conor Timmins is ready to go after a few weeks of battling mononucleosis. Mark Giordano remains out with an upper-body injury, though he skated this morning.

On Buffalo’s end, they’re without Mattias Samuelsson for the rest of the season (upper-body), still weeks away from getting back Jack Quinn (lower-body), and Erik Johnson is day-to-day (undisclosed).

  • The Sabres tend to dominate this matchup, going 7-3 in their last 10 games between these two teams, dating back to February 2020. They also have a three-game win streak going over Toronto. Buffalo are 8-2 against the puckline in this run and games have eclipsed the total seven times in 10 games.
  • While the Leafs are upset with Monday’s game, they’re still hot of late, going 8-2 in their last 10 and 6-4 against the puckline. They’ve hit the total goals over seven times in that run.
  • Buffalo isn’t quite as hot, but have done pretty well. They’re 6-4 in their last 10 games and 5-5 against the puckline. In their last five games, they’re 4-1 against the puckline.
  • Leading Buffalo in goals and points over their last 10 games is Dylan Cozens, with four goals and four assists for eight points. It’s been a relatively slow goal-scoring stretch for the Sabres and it’s reflected in much of the lineup.
  • Particularly notable in this regard is Tage Thomspon, who has three goals and three assists in that stretch, which is actually a slight improvement on his season. Thompson has 35 points in 52 games this year, a far cry from his 94-point clip last year. To his credit, he has 45 shots in Buffalo’s last 10 games, leading the team.
  • We usually focus on the hot when it comes to the Leafs, but it’s time to look at the cold. Auston Matthews has just one goal and two assists in Toronto’s last five games, and Bobby McMann mania might be done with – he’s shooting blanks in that stretch.

Wagers To Consider

  • With Matthews being cold of late, his automatic spot on this list is starting to get a little bit jeopardized. We’ll stay mindful on him though, because all it takes is one shot for him to catch fire again. His anytime goal line is at -130 tonight.
  • After the 9-3 loss in the last appearance between these two teams, I imagine there will be an emphasis on Toronto’s end on off-puck and defensive play. Under “Team Total 2-Way”, I’d look at the Under 3.5 goals for Buffalo at -225, or if you’re really confident, you can go under 2.5 (+105), 1.5 (+290), or go all in on the shutout at under 0.5 (+1000).
  • With another five shots in his last game and 23 in his last five, it’s hard not to go back to Bobby McMann over 1.5 shots on goal. It’s not the shrewdest value at -200, but he’s vastly overperforming it right now, so it’s hard not to consider.

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