New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills Week 1 (9/8/19): NFL Betting Picks, Lines

Buffalo Bills +3 @ New York Jets – 1 Unit

The Bills were considered by many to be the worst roster in the league last year after losing their starting quarterback and best wide receiver. Their longtime star running back Shady McCoy had also aged out of relevancy. After starting off the season like we all thought they would, Buffalo surprisingly battled back.  Catching lightning in bottle with Josh Allen, the Bills won 5 out of their last 10 games.

buffalo billsI’m bullish on the Bills this year as Josh Allen enters his sophomore season. Sean McDermott’s teams looked cohesive in the preseason even more so than their 4-0 record would indicate.  I think they are as least as good as the perennially over-hyped Jets.

Additionally, history tells us to favor the underdog in these early season  Divisional matchups.  After the Packers won again at Soldier Field last night, Underdogs in Division Games in Week 1 are now 18-4-1 ATS over the last 5 seasons.  We’ve seen this trend intensify over time. Since 1990, Division Underdogs are 52% ATS in Week 1. Since 2000, Division Dogs are 56% ATS in Week 1.

There are a couple of possibilities that explain this growing trend. For one, travel matters less in Week 1 because it’s been 9 months since these teams played a competitive game.  Whether they decide to leave early and practice in the opposition’s territory or something of the kind, these franchises can and will do everything they can to have their teams at their healthiest and freshest for this game. In subsequent weeks this task will become harder. Also, because of the familiarity of their opponents, there are fewer surprises in these games, bringing both teams towards the middle.

Since 2000, Divisional Underdogs are 56% ATS  in Week 2 as well. This adjacent data confirms the concept that early in the season divisional teams are closer than the public betting markets generally perceive.

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Josh Allen To Score a Rushing Touchdown & Bills Win +400 – .25 Units

buffalo billsI also like the Bills shot at victory because their strength – running from the QB and RB positions – exposes the Jets current weakness – cluster injuries at the linebacker position. The Jets will miss starting MLB, Avery Williamson (rated #25 by Pro Football Focus out of all LBs) – especially when Josh Allen breaks containment.

Allen scored at least one rushing touchdown in 6 of his 11 starts last year, including 4 of his last 6 games.

The University of Wyoming product scored 7 rushing touchdowns in his 5 wins as a starter last season, getting his feet into the end zone at least once in each win.

 

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Le’Veon Bell Under 67.5 Yards – .1 Unit

new york jetsAcross the league, offensive line play has been sub-standard to begin the NFL season during the most recent CBA.  Because of restricted off-season practice time, and the trend to play starters less in the preseason, it takes longer than it has in previous years for O-lines to coordinate and reach mid-season form.

The Jets offensive line in particular played very little together in the preseason.

Moreover, the Jets O-line has played 0 live-bullet snaps blocking for their new star, Le’Veon Bell.  Bell has an eccentric running style and is famous for his behind the line patience.  He lets the play develop sometimes a full second longer than one would expect, before picking his hole and exploding.  The Jets O-line may need time to understand the types of gaps to create to best utilize Bell’s abilities.

The Bills were a decent 15th in rush defense according to Pro Football Focus last season, thanks largely to the development of 1st year linebacker, Tremaine Edmunds.  With another year of development under his belt, I like Edmunds to lead a top 10 rush defense this season, similar to the one that the BIlls boasted when reached the playoffs in 2017.

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Born in Chicago, born for Las Vegas, Mackenzie is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in English & Creative Writting. Mackenzie runs AlternativeStats.blog, which seeks to by-pass the minutiae of commonly cited sports statistics and expose the heart of what drives athletic success. After several successful years investing in Las Vegas real estate, Mackenzie is excited to transition in 2019 into betting on sports full time, as well as documenting his thought process as he further learns the craft.

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