Come all ye office-pool players, casual bettors, wiseguys, and degenerate gamblers: the Against The Spread column is here to help you win mountains of cash and/or bragging rights. They say you need to win about 53% of your games to actually make a profit betting on NFL games. Well you and I know that I’ll probably only hit about 45% at the most, so go ahead and play the opposite of all my recommended Best Bets and you’ll be sure to make some money.
NEW ENGLAND AT BUFFALO
Did you guys see the Broncos-Ravens game Thursday Night? Yea? Raise your hand if you’re one of the 142 people who caught TD passes from Peyton Manning that night. You see their new WR Wes Welker? You think Bill Belichik and Tom Brady watched the game? Do you know the Bills are starting a rookie QB in EJ Manuel? Of course you do, and you know the defensive-minded Belichick loves to feast on young QBs. (The Bills also have a rookie head coach in Doug Marrone, fresh off his 4-year stint at Syracuse where he managed an uninspiring 25-25 record.) And did you hear the one about how all of Brady’s top targets from last year are either gone from the team, injured, or in jail for murder? I bet you also heard about that not being too big a deal cuz the Patriots were actually among the league leaders in rushing attempts and rushing yards. So they’ll lean on RBs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen a lot this year right? I doubt it. I think Brady and Belichick will be ready to come out blazing. They’d never admit it but I could see them looking to match or beat Peyton’s performance more so than just trying to beat EJ Manuel and the Bills. Speaking of beating the Bills… the Patriots have done so in 23 of their last 25 regular season meetings with Buffalo, winning by an average of 14 points per game. Oh, what’s that? This game is IN Buffalo and you’re concerned about laying so many points on the road? Well, the Pats are 11-2 at Buffalo since 2000, again winning by just over 14 points per game even as visitors. And New England is 25-13-2 (.658) against the spread on the road since 2008.
Manning-to-Welker looked good Thursday night, and everyone witnessed it. Belichick doesn’t mind running up the score, and doing so will have us all noticing that Brady-to-Whoever still looks pretty good too. BEST BET: Patriots -9.5.