Buffalo Bills vs Baltimore Ravens Pick
NFL Week 1
Date/Time: Sunday, September 9tht 2018 –1:00 PM ET
Where: M &T Bank Stadium – Baltimore, Maryland
By: Keith Franks, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Buffalo +7 / Baltimore -7
Over/Under Total: 40.5
Editor’s note: Handicapper Keith Allen is going the other way on this game. Read his extensive analysis.
The Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens will square off in an AFC intra-conference collision when the North meets the East at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland in week 1. The game will begin at 1:00 PM ET and be aired for regional audiences on CBS. The Bills and the Birds are +4000 & +1650 to win the AFC. Historically, the two teams have been well matched as each party has won two of the last four meetings between both franchises. The Bills and Ravens last met in 2016 in Baltimore where the Ravens defeated the Bills by a score of 13-6, covering a three-point line in a heavy defensive battle. From a trend perspective, the Under has gone 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings between both teams dating back to 1999.
The Ravens missed making the playoffs by a hair in 2017. However, their divisional rival Cincinnati made sure that Baltimore would not sneak into the playoffs as a wild card when they edged out their adversaries by a score of 31-27. Needless to say, such a turn of events has lit a fire under the Ravens. So far, the Ravens look like a team on a mission picking up five wins to go undefeated in the pre-season.
A big storyline concerning the Ravens in the off-season was the drafting of Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson out of Louisville. Many have started to wonder if the Ravens have shifted their focus to build for the future when they chose Jackson as their first selection in the 2018 draft. For years, Joe Flacco has been known as the franchise guy. However, after Baltimore earned the 27th ranked total offense there have been several questions as to whether or not the Ravens should shift gears and re-formulate their offensive strategy. The addition of Jackson as a dual-threat quarterback that can beat you with both his arm and his legs would suggest that such an inclination exists.
The Bills finally ended that annoying post-season drought in 2017. Though the Bills only lived to play an extra week, Buffalo felt as if it had finally won a Super Bowl when it made the playoffs for the first time in 17 seasons. Sadly, the slipper cracked for the Bills when they were forced to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional round.
Tyrod Taylor was the man that led Buffalo to the 2017 post-season. However, the problem is that Tyrod is no longer wearing a Bills uniform as he has taken his talents over to Cleveland when he was picked up by the Browns in the off-season. In the 2018 draft, the Bills selected quarterback Josh Allen out of Wyoming with their first-round draft pick and he hasn’t looked back since. The rookie has taken the reins of the Buffalo offense and has looked stellar in the pre-season. However, the Nathan Peterman Experience will remain the top priority for now in Buffalo as he has been named the starter for this opening contest. It is worth noting that it was Taylor who usurped the flailing Peterman as starter to lead Buffalo to the post-season, yet it seems the Bills are back to square one. Regardless of who starts at quarterback, Buffalo’s offensive engine may not be available for this contest as a possible suspension is looming for their playmaker, running back Lesean “Shady” McCoy.
When a big online sportsbook opens a line, a wide range of factors and variables are taken into consideration by oddsmakers. With this being said, the uncertainty that surrounded Shady was also factored into the offering on the table. Nevertheless, we have seen an enormous reaction from the consensus regardless as we have seen this market move by three and a half points since the line opened. Essentially, we are getting double the points from the opening tick and chances are there is value to be had in what looks to be a clear-cut overlay.
One other consideration that may be overstated is Baltimore’s “home-field advantage” at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens have a notorious reputation of being a tough out in Baltimore but that seems to be perception more than fact at this point. In 2017, Baltimore was 5-3 SU at home with wins in the included sample, featuring Cleveland, a Deshaun Watson-less Houston, and an Andrew Luck-less Indianapolis. Not exactly convincing by any take. Lest also forget that costly loss against Cincinnati, which prevented the Ravens from qualifying for the playoffs, took place at M&T Bank Stadium. We are not calling for an upset here but we do have a touchdown to work with and that is likely an inflated number as well by virtue of this narrative. Grab the points.
The Redskins travel to the desert to take on the Cardinals to open the 2018 season. Both clubs missed the NFL playoffs last season and are entering transition periods this year. Which team will start their turnaround in week 1?