NY Jets at Buffalo
Sunday, 10 am PT - CBS
CRIS Opener: Buffalo -6 O/U 43
CRIS Current: Buffalo -7.5 O/U 40
Recommendation: New York
The very first question I ask myself when I’m looking at an NFL pointspread is this: Does the favorite deserve to be favored in this price range? And my answer to that question when it comes to the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 is a resounding "no way!"
For this pointspread to be categorized as reasonable, two things must be true. First, the Jets legitimately must be one of the very worst teams in NFL history. And secondly, the Bills have to be capable of beating an opponent by more than a touchdown. I’m not convinced that either is the case.
Make no mistake about it – the Jets are currently being priced like the worst team in NFL history. Last year’s 1-15 Browns were power rated by the markets higher than this year’s Jets squad. The 0-16 Lions from 2008 – the only winless team in the modern era – were -3.5 point road favorites at Atlanta on opening day. I’ve lived in Vegas for 20 football seasons and I’ve NEVER – not once – seen a team that has been devalued as much as the 2017 New York Jets, now lined at an all-time historical low of three wins for the full season.
Yes, the Jets have entered rebuilding mode and they have all kinds of question marks on the offensive side of the football, starting with their quarterback. But Todd Bowles is a defensive minded head coach – that’s how he got the job – and New York’s defense looks rock solid on paper, not a sieve-like stop unit!
Buffalo has no upside. Their starting QB, Tyrod Taylor, and his backup, TJ Yates, are both in concussion protocol following preseason Week 3 injuries. That leaves rookie Nathan Peterman, a fifth rounder from Pitt, as the potential starter here. If Taylor does start, he’ll have missed the last three weeks of timing with his teammates. If Peterman starts, we’re talking about a rookie who completed only 54% of his preseason passes despite playing mostly against second and third stringers. I’m not expecting the Bills offense to march up and down the field here any more than they did in August (which wasn’t very much – Buffalo scored 16 or less in their three ‘meaningful’ preseason tilts). Let’s not forget that new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison didn’t exactly wow the NFL as the Broncos Offensive Coordinator under Gary Kubiak.
It’s not like the Bills defense is loaded, capable of winning games all by themselves! They traded a pair of potential defensive starters in August, stockpiling draft picks for the future. The Bills were #28 in the NFL at stopping the run last year, allowing 4.6 yards per carry. They’re transitioning from a 3-4 defense back to a 4-3. And their GM and entire scouting staff were fired the day AFTER the draft, which speaks volumes about what management thought about what they had accomplished.
Bottom line? Buffalo can’t be laying more than a TD on any field to any opponent. There’s clear value here on the New York Jets side of the equation, betting on the team that the markets are struggling to attract money towards. Take the Jets.