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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:51 PM

Best Bets, Score Predictions for Tuesday Jan. 26

NHL Daily Free Picks & Predictions

VegasInsider.com NHL expert Matt Blunt provides his score predictions and best bets for two NHL games on Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021.

New York Rangers vs. Buffalo Sabres

  • Money-Line Odds: New York -108; Buffalo -108
  • Total (Over-Under): 6.5

Score Prediction: New York 4, Buffalo 2

Best Bet: Rangers ML

Both of these teams were expected to take the “next steps” in their respective rebuilding programs, and had it not been for a handful of close losses (combined) already, these two teams could have been two of the biggest early season stories.

At 1-4 SU, New York's seen three of those four goals come by a single goal, coming close to knocking off Crosby and the Pens twice in three days last week.

Instead it's a three-game losing streak that has this Rangers team looking worse than they probably feel in terms of where there game is, as they had carried the action for large chunks of all three of those close losses.

The Rangers out-shot all three of those opponents, while I know not all shots are created equal, teams are scoring 3 goals/game on Buffalo already this year, and outside of Opening Night, the Rangers haven't had too much trouble scoring three goals a game themselves (have in three of four).

Buffalo is seemingly always that franchise that's going to “turn the corner” the next year, and every time that next year comes, the Sabres just end up getting their progress stuck in the mud. Way too early to call that on this year's Buffalo team, but I'll still play the wait to see it to believe it with the Sabres again this year.

Haven't quite understood some of the prices the Sabres have had so far this year – even with Washington's protocol absences – and not sure I quite understand this one either.

I came into the year ranking New York as a much better team than the Sabres as even their Stanley Cup futures would suggest (New York was in the +2500 range, Buffalo around +5000), and at a pick'em price, I'll stake that opinion with the Rangers and live with the result.

Los Angeles Kings vs. Minnesota Wild

  • Money-Line Odds: L.A. +133; Minnesota -155
  • Total (Over-Under): 5.5

Score Prediction: Minnesota 3, Los Angeles 2

Best Bet: Under 5.5

These two teams played a pair in Los Angeles to open up the season, and Minnesota walked away with 4-3 wins in OT in both cases. It's a two-game return match this week starting with this one, and I think we see the defenses play a bigger role in the outcome.

For one, those two results in L.A. suggest that these two teams are closer in talent – or at least playing relatively equal hockey currently – than a ML like this that rightfully incorporates preseason rankings/projections etc for both sides.

And if that turns out to be the case, I'll take my chances that after two meetings already, we see some early self scouting pay off on the defensive end.

Both sides would prefer to have more of their success in 3-2 style of hockey games this season and the Kings are still on a 3-12 O/U run when coming off a win dating back to last year (1-0 O/U this season).

Both teams are coming off their last respective outing where at least eight total goals were scored in each, and I'll take the stance of defense being stressed on both ends and them executing well enough to get five goals or less.

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