Buffalo Bills (0-0) vs. New England Patriots (0-0), 7:00 p.m. EST,
Monday, September 14, 2009, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., TV:
by Badger of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bills +10.5/Patriots -10.5
Bet this game at a sportsbook that offers you progressive parlays (make a parlay bet and be allowed to lose some games and it still pays!)
Quarterback Tom Brady makes his return to the New England Patriots lineup at home in Gillette Stadium against Terrell Owens and his new
team, the Buffalo Bills, in the early game of ESPNs two-game Monday
Night Football kickoff telecast.
But what once looked like a great MNF opener on paper in February has
deteriorated during the preseason, only to hit the boiling point this
past week with the firing of offensive coordinator Turk Schonert in
T.O. hardly self-promoted himself this preseason because he hardly
played due to injury, and with Brady looking like his old self in New
Englands strong 3-1 preseason, this game has turned into a train
wreak for the suits at ESPN.
You know the game could get ugly when oddsmakers open the window with
a double-digit point spread, which is what happened in Las Vegas and
offshore when the Patriots were tabbed 10.5-point favorites to start.
There are even a few 11s listed at some of the offshore sportsbooks, as most books have to bribe bettors to wager on the Bills.
The over/under total opened at 46.5 and has already climbed a full
point by midweek to its current number of 47.5 at most books.
Brady showed very few signs of rust this preseason, working himself
back into shape following knee surgery that ended his 2008 season
almost before it started. With all of the weapons surrounding him,
Randy Moss and Wes Welker on the perimeter and Lawrence Malroney and Kevin Faulk in the backfield, its hard to imagine the Patriots
having any problems scoring points on offense in 09.
But for the Bills, offense has become a huge problem and could
continue to be a huge problem beyond week one. Schonert and his hurry-
up, no-huddle offense was largely ineffective in the preseason with
only 12 points in the first half of FIVE preseason games, so he was
shown the door by head coach Dick Jauron and now the coordinators
job is in the hands of former backup quarterback Alex Van Pelt.
Who knows what Van Pelt can do in one week? Quarterback Trent Edwards
wont have much other than Lee Evans at full-strength on offense
either. T.O. is banged up, running back Marshawn Lynch is suspended
for the first four weeks, and their offensive line is in shambles
lets just say it doesnt look pretty.
The Bills only hope is that somehow the defense that finished 08
ranked 14th overall is able to step up and contain Brady and Co. The
Patriots defense is younger and less experienced, but they still have
a great secondary and good pas rush even without Richard Seymour.
As far as bettors go, its understandable why they may be gun shy to
wager on the Bills, even catching 11 points. The Patriots swept the
season series last year, winning both games straight up and against
the spread, including a 20-10 victory in Gillette Stadium as 3.5-
point favorites. New England has won 10 straight games dating back to
the 2004 season, and all but two of the games turned out to be
Patriot covers as well.
However, the only two times the Bills covered the number since 2004
was when they were 10-point underdogs on the road. Buffalo lost 21-16
in 2005, but covered the 10 points, and they also lost 19-17 in 2006,
but covered the 10 as well.
The under play has also been a strong bet, as it is 19-7 going back as far as 26 games in the series. The under is a cash machine at
Gillette, going 9-1 in the last 10 games played in New England.
Badgers Pick: I never like taking a side in the NFL if the spread
is 10 points or more, its just too many points in my opinion for a
game full of professionals. New England should slaughter them, and
probably will blow it open wide, but its just not my thing. Take the
under 47.5 and hope Belicheck calls off the dogs early.