The New Orleans Saints have been marching all over the NFL betting lines, but believe it or not, the Buffalo Bills have been the more profitable team this year.
Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to October 20 inclusive:
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
It’s not easy being a Buffalo Bills fan. Here’s a team that hasn’t made the playoffs this millennium, not since making the fateful decision to start Rob Johnson at quarterback over Doug Flutie. They’ve already got one foot out the door in Buffalo, playing one “home” game every year in Toronto. And for 2013, the Bills have started the season by losing their top two quarterbacks to injury. Welcome to The City of No Illusions.
This isn’t an illusion either: 5-2 ATS. That’s how well Buffalo has performed against those nasty NFL point spreads, and the Bills have another moneymaking opportunity this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) when they travel to the Superdome to play the New Orleans Saints, who lead the NFC South at 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS. Our Week 8 NFL betting lines have New Orleans laying a hefty 12.5 points, splitting the consensus pretty much down the middle.
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Win a Date with Thad Lewis
It’s just another one of those years for Buffalo quarterbacks. Kevin Kolb started things off during the preseason with a nasty concussion that may have ended his NFL career. That gave the Bills the opportunity to start first-round draft pick EJ Manuel, a dual-threat type from Florida State with the body to match at 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds. Unfortunately, Manuel sprained his right knee in Week 5 and is expected to miss at least another couple of games.
This is where things get interesting. Thaddeus “Thad” Lewis is now the starting QB for the Bills, and Lewis also happens to be a dual threat, although he went undrafted in 2010 after playing four seasons with the Duke Blue Devils, who apparently have a football program. And wouldn’t you know it, Lewis is performing at roughly the same level as Manuel, maybe even slightly better:
Manuel: 56.7 percent completions, 3.6 yards per carry, 79.4 passer rating
Lewis: 62.5 percent completions, 2.5 yards per carry, 85.3 passer rating
These aren’t amazing numbers by any stretch, but they’re pretty darn good for a third-string quarterback. Buffalo has covered both of Lewis’ starts, losing to the Cincinnati Bengals (–6 away) in overtime and upsetting the Miami Dolphins (–6 at home). Competitive football~!
Buffalo Wings of Desire
Since Buffalo is a small-market team, casual NFL betting fans probably don’t know much beyond the fact that the Bills are playing a third-string QB. Which means that they’re missing out on that solid Bills defense. Football Outsiders had this unit ranked No. 9 in efficiency through Week 6, and for the first time in seemingly forever, it’s a healthy defense as well. Even DE Mario Williams (10 sacks) is looking like his old Pro-Bowl self again.
Speaking of good health, the Bills also have not one, not two, but three useful tailbacks in Fred Jackson (4.4 yards per carry), C.J. Spiller (4.0 yards) and Tashard Choice (3.6 yards). Their workload is big enough that Buffalo ranks No. 5 in the league in rushing yards (140.4 per game) despite coming in at No. 15 in rushing efficiency. Credit head coach Doug Marrone, the former offensive co-ordinator with the Saints, for keeping the playbook simple in these tough times.
It’s going to be a tall task for Marrone against his former team, but the NFL betting market is being very generous with those 12.5 points. Might have something to do with the Saints coming off a bye week, during which they’ve had plenty of time to stew over that 30-27 loss to the New England Patriots (–2.5 at home). I’ll take the points anyway.NFL Pick: Take the Bills +12.5 at Sports Interaction