Monday Night Football - Pats at Bills
What a weekend for the subscribers at ProMathletics...going 12-3 across all sports Friday - Sunday, including a 5-2 college football Saturday and a 4-1 NFL Sunday. That 4-1 Sunday also included us hitting a 5-team teaser and a 4-team parlay, ending up almost +20 units on the day! We'll have the full NFL weekly recap available on the site tomorrow, as well as the Las Vegas SuperContest weekly update.
We are officially done with our published plays for Week 8, but definitely do have some thoughts and a lean on the game being played tonight in Buffalo. Based purely on our modeling of the data, the Bills would be a GreenZone play at +13.5. However, due to the historically horrible level of offensive output, with a QB situation that is very much influx, we are going to kick it down to the YellowZone. There is no way we can say this is a wheelhouse, down the middle of the strike zone, type of game for us.
Why do our models like the Bills? Well, a two-touchdown spread is a monster line for a home team in an NFL game. It is not very common for these to occur and typically the only time the favorite covers is if it's a best team in the league vs. worst team in the league match-up. The Bills are the worst team in the league, but the Patriots are not out in front of the pack. They are up there as a top-5ish team for us right now and trending in the right direction, but they have not been overly dominant through the first 7 weeks. Additionally, the Bills actually have a solid defensive side of the ball. If they are able to create turnovers, they can sneak up on someone in a hurry...remember the Vikings game when they won outright as 17-point road dogs??
So, why are we steering clear of the Bills if the numbers say they have a 60% chance of covering. The main problem we have with the Bills is their offense is so off the charts bad that it is hard for us to factor in exactly how big of a disadvantage it is. The Cardinals vs. SF game yesterday is a perfect example of what can happen to a good defense when they have a shitty offense putting them in bad spots. The Cardinals were down 5-3 at halftime after taking a safety and giving up a FG after a turnover in their own territory. The SF "scoring" drive was 3 yards. In the first half, the AZ defense had held SF to 1.6 yards per play...which is amazing...but they were still losing the game. That is the fear here. Even though Buffalo's defense is good, if there are a bunch of turnovers or great starting field position for NE, they are going to get blown out no matter what.
There is also a fair amount of uncertainty regarding exactly who is going to be playing tonight, specially for the Pats. If it ends up that both starting offensive tackles don't go or look hampered and Gronk is limited, those 14-points look a lot more appetizing. This Bills defense could cause some turnovers themselves if they are going against a bunch of back up offensive linemen and a back up TE. We really want to take the Bills, but we'd be lying to ourselves if we thought we had a good gauge on the true level of offense they are likely to produce. Our approach is going to be to monitor for live lines and if the Pats get out to a hot start try to get the Bills in +17 to +20 territory...it sounds ridiculous, but if the Pats get up 7-0, it'll be there. Conversely, if the Bills make a couple big plays and the Pats get down to -7ish, jam it.