Broncos/Bills — under 40.5
Playing on the road, Denver won’t be able to continue to put up points at its current pace. (The Broncos are averaging 33 through two games.) The defense, however, will repeat its dominant performance from Monday Night Football. Buffalo’s offense has struggled to score. It managed just a field goal last week against the Carolina Panthers. (The Bills’ Week 1 numbers against the New York Jets are irrelevant). The fact is, Buffalo has a good quarterback in Tyrod Taylor and a scheme unwilling to accommodate him. As long as that’s the case, they’re going to struggle. As long as Trevor Siemian slows down, this will be an easy under.
Maybe I’m overrating them as I do every team that appears on “Hard Knocks,” but I believe in Tampa Bay this season — especially against bad teams. A surefire sign of a bad team is if it starts Case Keenum at quarterback. As of Friday, there was no moneyline for this game because of Sam Bradford’s uncertain playing status. Once this opens, I will be parlaying the Bucs — a favorite — with the Patriots, Dolphins and Cowboys to make it worth my investment.
Falcons/Lions — over 50
If Detroit can allow the Arizona Cardinals to score 23 points, the Lions can easily give up 40 to Matt Ryan’s group. Matt Stafford should be able to find a couple touchdowns of his own. Both teams have offenses built to play in domes, and that’s where they will play. The Falcons will win with a high score, and public opinion will swing behind Ryan again, casting aside the notion that Kyle Shanahan made him.
I refuse to believe the Seahawks are as bad as they looked last week against the 49ers. Their defense should be able to keep them in this game, even on the road against a solid offense. If they can shut down Aaron Rodgers, they can shut down Marcus Mariota. All they have to do is keep it close. But this will be the least confident bet I make this week, when a lot of good teams are on the road.
Dallas is a good team that had a bad week against a great defense. The Cardinals have a solid secondary and an offense that can’t stay on the field. Ezekiel Elliott is going to have a huge bounceback game against an Arizona team that has been stingy allowing yards but has been prone to giving up points. In front of his home crowd, Carson Palmer will continue to struggle and possibly make way for Blaine Gabbert. And betting against Gabbert is a soothing feeling.
Week 2: 3-2
MATCHUP SPREAD MONEYLINE OVER/UNDER
Ravens vs. Jaguars (in London) BAL -4 BAL -185, JAX +165 +/- 39.5
Cleveland at Indianapolis CLE -1 CLE -120, IND EVEN +/- 41
Pittsburgh at Chicago PIT -7 PIT -350, CHI +290 +/- 44
Miami at NYJ MIA -6 MIA -260, NYJ +220 +/- 43
Denver at Buffalo DEN -3 DEN -155, BUF +135 +/- 40.5
Houston at New England NE -14 HOU +800, NE -1400 +/- 44
New Orleans at Carolina CAR -5.5 NO +210, CAR -250 +/- 46.5
Tampa Bay at Minnesota TB OFF, MIN OFF +/- OFF
Atlanta at Detroit ATL -3 ATL -160, DET +140 +/- 50
NYG at Philadelphia PHI -6 NYG +220, PHI -260 +/- 43
Seattle at Tennessee TEN -2.5 SEA +125, TEN -145 +/- 42.5
Kansas City at LA Chargers KC -3 KC -165, LAC +145 +/- 47
Cincinnati at Green Bay GB -9 CIN +360, GB -440 +/- 46
Oakland at Washington OAK -3 OAK -165, WAS +145 +/- 54.5
Dallas at Arizona DAL -3 DAL -160, ARI +140 +/- 47
Lines courtesy William Hill; updated Friday, Sept. 22