Buffalo at New England
Sunday, 10 am PT - CBS
CRIS Opener: New England -6.5 O/U 43.5
CRIS Current: New England -7 O/U 43
The Patriots have survived the Tom Brady suspension pretty darn well, going 3-0 SU and ATS without their four time Super Bowl winning QB. But with Brady on the way back next week, facing a divisional rival with a real chip on their shoulder, I’m expecting the Patriots to be tested on Sunday in a clear flat spot for the home favorite.
New England doesn’t have a healthy quarterback right now. Jimmy Garappolo has been upgraded to probable, but he’s dealing with consistent pain from his shoulder injury. Jacoby Brissett has a bad thumb, and if the rookie third stringer gets playing time here, it’s probably good news for Buffalo backers.
And the Pats are an overvalued commodity this week. Think about their season. They started with an upset win over Arizona, devalued now because Arizona hasn’t looked anything like the elite squad they were last year in early season play. The Pats nearly blew a big lead against Miami, which looks worse now because the Dolphins have looked pretty awful since. And their blowout against the Texans was certainly aided by the tough travel spot for the road team with a young QB on a short week.
Yet the markets are viewing New England like those three wins were as dominant as could be, against elite competition. They weren’t. And when a very public team like the Patriots go 3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS to open the season, the markets force bettors to lay a premium to back New England.
New England’s national TV games were both double digit pointspread covers (Arizona and Houston), but the Bills national TV game was a bad home loss to the Jets, another key piece of the ‘added value on Buffalo’ piece of the equation. And the markets love Belichick and hate Rex Ryan; yet another factor inflating this pointspread by a notch or two.
Five of the last seven meetings between these two teams have been one score games. The Bills gave the Pats fits in both meetings last year. The Bills offense has gotten untracked, hanging 64 points on two solid defensive foes over the past two weeks, including their ’save our season’ win against Arizona last Sunday.
And the Bills powerful defensive line is poised to put pressure on Garappolo, forcing a young QB into mistakes, the same way they forced an elite QB into numerous mistakes last week. I’m taking the points, but I’ve got a percentage of my personal wager on the moneylline — Buffalo is live to pull off the upset. Take the Bills.