NHL Betting Guide: Monday 10/25/21

The surprising Buffalo Sabres take on the defending Stanley Cup Champions on Monday. Can we find a sharp way to bet the game?

We've got a larger Monday slate than normal with seven games. Let's see where there is value in the betting market.

Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Buffalo Sabres

Sabres +1.5 (-176): 4-Star Rating Out of 5
Under 6.0 (-106): 3-Star Rating Out of 5

It's amazing how quickly things can change to start the season. Just look at these two teams for example.

The Buffalo Sabres looked like the worst team in the league on paper heading into the season. They were not expected to be competitive in most games they played this season -- let alone win. A 3-1-1 start to the season has turned a few heads around the league, and it wasn't just through a string of good luck.

The Sabres' underlying numbers are very strong, as their adjusted expected goal percentage is the fourth-best in the league. This has been driven by their defense allowing the third-fewest expected goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five play.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, on the other hand, have not gotten off to a great start. They allowed six goals in each of their first two games, and their record sits at 2-2-1. To make matters worse, they lost star winger Nikita Kucherov for the foreseeable future. Tampa has not been able to create the same offense so far, recording just 2.12 expected goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five. Buffalo could keep them in check tonight.

There are two ways we can exploit this from a betting perspective.

With Buffalo playing strong defensively and Tampa a bit down offensively, under six goals looks like a strong play. This game could be low scoring, and the Sabres should be able to stay in the game, so betting the Sabres on the puck line also seems like value.

Our model agrees with both of these bets, with both posted as three-star plays or better. It looks like another great night to back the surprising Sabres' defense.

Dallas Stars vs Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets (+114): 3-Star Rating out of 5

Like the Sabres, the Blue Jackets were not expected to be a good team this season. They traded away some pieces and replaced their head coach in what was expected to be a rebuilding season. Some of their pieces have been playing better than expected and have led them to a decent start to the season.

Patrik Laine looks to be playing close to his best after struggling last season when joining in a midseason trade. He has six points in five games, including an overtime goal. He's playing with Jakub Voracek, who's also playing well with five assists in five games. Perhaps the most important part of the team is Elvis Merzlikins, though, and he has been solid in goal with 2.34 goals saved above expected.

The Jackets will take on a Dallas Stars squad that has not been impressive to start the season. They have three wins -- all of which required overtime. In those three wins, they controlled just 40.5% of the five-on-five shot attempts. They'll still be without Jason Robertson in this game, who finished second in last year's Calder trophy voting.

Dallas might still be getting love for going to the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals, but even that season was anything but smooth sailing. With the way they've been playing to start this season, Columbus certainly has a chance of beating them.

With our model giving the moneyline a three-star rating, the Jackets are definitely a viable bet tonight.