The NFL Season is upon us. Check out our Week 1 Opening Odds Report!
Proceed with Caution
It's Week 1 boys (and girls), and if you think you can glean enough information from watching four preseason games of your favorite team -littered with players who will be cutting the grass instead of playing on it once final rosters are announced- then your bookie is one lucky guy. The fact of the matter is, it's too damn early to be loading up so please don't go overboard on the Cincinnati Bengals just because you've seen every episode of 'Hard Knocks' this season. Be smart, there's a ton of football to be played and soft lines to be pounced on.
Let's Look Back
Let's face it, the only way we can possibly get a glimpse into what may happen in this game is to take a look at last season. Bill Belichick hates turnovers and there are severe penalties for anyone who commits them. Perhaps that's why the Pats led the NFL with a +25 turnover margin which is in stark contrast to the Buffalo Bills who ended the year with a -13 turnover margin, putting them near the very bottom of the league.
Offensively the Pats were a juggernaut, leading the league with 34.8 points per game and almost 428 total yards per contest, while the Bills could neither muster much of an offense nor could they stop the opposition. Buffalo surrendered over 27 points per game which is why New England found them easy pickin's last season, winning by scores of 52-28 on the road and then 37-31 in Foxboro. However, if you recall that home victory you will also recollect that the Patriots were installed as 11 point favorites in NFL odds which climbed all the way to 14 in some shops. If you bet the chalk in that supposed mismatch you got burned as New England won the game but did not cover the all-important number.
So What About This Game?
Brady looked like he didn't miss a beat throughout much of the preseason considering he wasn't playing toss and catch to Gronkowski, Hernandez and best buddy Wes Welker. Gronkowski is ailing while Welker and Hernandez have found new best buddies. Welker is catching balls from Peyton while Hernandez is catching them from Bubba.
But Brady is Brady and they don't call him Tom Terrific for nothing. He's got a new Welker named Danny Amendola and a posse of sharp looking rookie receivers. I'm not worried about Brady being flummoxed by the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills have major issues. They are down to their third-string quarterback Jeff Tuel who is an undrafted rookie out of Washington State. You can wax prosaic on any improvements Buffalo has made in the offseason but when you're relying on an untested rookie, who was deemed unworthy of even a 7th-round selection, to lead a team against a juggernaut like the Patriots, it's simply too much to ask.
The Bills have a sleek rushing tandem in C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson but how can they continue to run the ball if they fall behind by two or three touchdowns? The sad fact of the matter is they can't and will be forced to put the ball up. New England has been working extensively on their pass rush and with Chandler Jones in his sophomore campaign complemented by All-Pro Vince Wilfork disrupting the middle, I think this could lead to a huge turnover advantage for the Patriots. And we all know that turnovers can lead to terrific field position.
As we browse the NFL odds, it's clear that Buffalo is getting a mountain of points by NFL standards at home but as long as the odds makers don't give them a two touchdown advantage we will follow in line with the squares and lay the big lumber for our sports picks.
NFL Pick: Play the Patriots -6.5 (-120) at William Hill (Buy the half-point!)NFL Opening Week is here! Join the discussion on SBRForum's football message boards!