Buffalo Bills (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date/Time: Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 1:00 PM EST
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
by Keith, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BUF+3/BAL -3
Over/Under Total: 44.5
With the NFL gearing up for kick-off, Week One features a potentially delicious defensive match-up between the Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium with a 1:00 PM scheduled kick-off. The game is set to be aired on CBS with regional coverage. Buffalo comes in off a winning effort, finishing 8-8 in 2015 as they culminated their season with a defeat of intrastate and intradivision rival New York Jets. For Baltimore, the Ravens had a disappointing 2015 as they finished 5-11 after qualifying for the playoffs the year prior to. Baltimore assuredly is looking to get back to the way things were when they were considered a regular favorite for post-season qualification. In last meeting between the two, the Bills won at home 23-20.
The bookies seem to be all over this one as the last two meetings between these two teams resulted in a game settled by a field goal. In their last six meetings, Buffalo and Baltimore have each won three of those contests. In the last four outings between these two AFC foes, the home team emerged victorious.
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For what it is worth, Baltimore is not the same Ravens team we are typically used to seeing. Baltimore is no longer the Baltimore that features Ray Lewis and Ed Reed on the defense. Terrell Suggs has grown older and perhaps lost a step. The Ravens are actually in a transitional period and a time of rebuilding, while the Buffalo Bills just missed the playoffs in 2015. At home Baltimore is often overvalued. The Ravens are 2-3 SU in their last five at home and they are 1-5 ATS in their last six at M&T Bank Stadium. Some notable assailants of the Ravens, include Seattle, Kansas City and Jacksonville. The Birds failed to cover against teams like Los Angeles and San Diego when they were favored by more than they should have been. In fact, even when the Ravens were home dogs they were not given enough points as the propensity was lying hidden in those numbers as well. This is a team that often loses many games outright in their own backyard yet they are often the favorite when they play host. Against a team like Buffalo that should be considered a potential wildcard dark horse, this may be another scenario worth taking advantage of.
There is abundant value in the prospect of being able to take Buffalo with some points. The Bills have some exceptional talent on their defense, which does not bode well for a highly sluggish Baltimore offense. Furthermore, Buffalo has some playmakers in their ranks, most notably Lesean McCoy and now Reggie Bush leading their rushing efforts. In addition there is also the breakout talent Sammy Watkins who can scorch any defense and is simply a force to be reckoned with at wide receiver. Let us not forget Robert Woods an underrated possession receiver that complements Watkins perfectly from a split end position. Typically, the big issue with Buffalo’s offense was their quarterback situation, but this too has been resolved as the emergence of former Virginia Tech signal caller Tyrod Taylor has solved that issue. In addition, just behind Taylor on the depth chart is E.J. Manuel, Buffalo’s promised one that has not lived up to the billing but is still a great economical choice as a back-up. Buffalo has played a better football since coach Rex Ryan arrived to the city famed for their legendary chicken wings. Immediately, the public has been enamored with Baltimore at home against Buffalo, but Buffalo is the better team here.
It would not be a shocker if the Bills trucked the Ravens. The Ravens have a big question to answer after they released veteran running back Justin Forsett to free agency, who filled in impeccably as their lead back two seasons ago fulfilling many fantasy football manager’s dreams. Now the backfield is wide open and the quarterback situation for the Ravens is all the more uncertain. There is little upside in Baltimore as a whole this season and this opening fixture against Buffalo will reinforce the grim outlook.
KEITH’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: BUFFALO +3
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