by Bob Gaughan, Buffalo Sports Page
MR. Over/Under: Bills/Ravens Under 41
I consider week 1, in the NFL, the 3rd most difficult week to pick winners, as Las Vegas has a tendency to worry more about point spreads than over/under based on some pre-season games and week 16 of the previous year.
Part of the problem is the slew of new offensive and defensive coordinators as well as changes at quarterback. Rarely has the league had so many teams starting a different quarterback than they ended with the previous year. However, most experts agree that the defense usually is more in sync than the offense for the first couple of weeks.
Last year while the odds-on-favorite won 10 of the first 15 games in week one(Miami had a hurricane that cancelled their game), when it came to the over/under odds, only 5 of the 15 games in week one went over. It wasn’t until week three that the teams started scoring more points than predicted.
So, although I see Minnesota and New Orleans winning handily, I’m looking at what should be more of a defensive battle in the AFC.
The O/U in the Bills/Ravens game started at 42 in July. It has since gone down to 41 at most Las Vegas casinos and 401/2 at others. Fortunately I bet this game under in July at 42 and I still think it’s a good bet at 41. Both teams have strong defenses and I expect much of this game to be played between to 20 yards lines, resulting in more field goals than touchdowns.
Man in Stripes: Bills/Ravens Under 41 (Double Down)
If you thought the opener between these was ugly a couple of years ago just wait until Sunday. Both defenses are very good. The Bills have a starting QB that’s starting his third game. The Ravens have a QB that’s probably starting his last opener ever. This means a struggle for points. First team to 17 wins. Good Luck!
Mono: UMASS +2.5 over Georgia Southern
Umass coming off a big loss against Boston College, but the Eagles a very good team this year. Umass put up 63 points against Duquesne in their opener. I expect a big offensive output for the Minutemen. Georgia Southern is 0-5 as a home favorite the last two years. Jump on the 2.5 asap because I anticipate the spread to go down by kick-off.
Slick: Over 48 Indy/Cincinnati
I think that Cincy’s offense is a sleeper this year. AJ Green is a stud and so is Joe Mixon. John Ross has speed to burn and I like Tyler Eifert at TE too. The Colts have a bad secondary. Andrew Luck is back under the helm with Indy. I think new HC Frank Reich will get the most offensively out of the Colts this year.
Mr. Brutal: Arizona State +6.5 over Michigan Sate
ASU took care of business last week against UTSA. Michigan State gets off to slow starts to the season. Last week they were lucky to beat Utah State. This is Herm Edwards first big game at home. Her certainly has injected enthusiasm to the program. The crowd should be huge.
ASU always a tough place to play.
Bob Gaughan: UB Plus 5 over Temple
UB started the way I expected with a blowout win over Delaware State. What I didn’t expect was Temple to lose at home to Villanova. Not only did they lose, but they were outgained 410-251. That was no fluke. The Bulls are not getting the national respect yet from the odds makers that I think will come as the year goes on. Bulls have the best QB and WR in this game and every other game this year. Wrong team the favorite here.