NHL Betting Guide: Friday 2/24/23

At the very least, we all got to bed early with 20 total goals across our pair of "under" bets last night. Goaltending meltdowns are always the risk of taking those sides, but at least Vegas pulled it out in overtime.

Let's end this week with authority.

Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All ratings are out of five stars. All NHL betting odds and totals come from FanDuel Sportsbook.

Buffalo Sabres at Florida Panthers

Sabres +1.5 (-150) - 2 Stars

I've got uncompromising news for the Buffalo Sabres. It's time for the Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen experiment to end.

Buffalo won 6-5 in overtime yesterday with backup Eric Comrie, but they'll have a choice for tonight's starter. UPL has now posted -6.89 goals saved above expectation (GSAx), the 11th-worst mark for a goalie with multiple appearances this year. Analytically, 41-year-old Craig Anderson (6.84 GSAx) is the better option by a mile.

Anderson would give them a significant advantage over Sergei Bobrovsky (3.68 GSAx) in Florida on Friday. As for the other side of the puck, we saw what Buffalo's offense did to the sturdy Lightning backline, and now they'll face a Panthers defense that has posted the fourth-most expected goals allowed (xGA) per 60 minutes since January 1st (3.59).

Our model -- projecting Pekka-Luukkonen to start -- believes the Sabres cover 64.3% of the time versus these 59.0% implied odds. That would only improve with Anderson, so we can fire at this guy now.

Los Angeles Kings at New York Islanders

Islanders ML (-118) - 4 Stars

This is the model's only bet above a three-star recommendation, and it's easy to see why.

The Los Angeles Kings aren't an offensive juggernaut, holding just the 14th-most expected goals scored (xGF) per 60 minutes since January 1st (3.22). Their task is one several offenses stronger have failed to do: find a way to score on Ilya Sorokin.

With a day of rest, it's almost certain the Islanders will turn to their star netminder in the heat of their Metropolitan Division race. Sorokin has been the best goaltender in the league by a mile all year, posting 43.09 GSAx to lead the league in that department by over 13 goals.

He's a ludicrous advantage over projected L.A. starter Jonathan Quick. Quick's -14.84 GSAx is the fourth-worst mark this year for a goalie with multiple starts. One of these goalies is a superstar, and the other flatly stinks. Yet, this line is a pick 'em.

Our model sees the Isles as 69.5% likely to win this one against these 54.1% implied odds. Repeating one of the scariest sentences in all of sports betting, I just don't understand this number.