It was just last season that the Buffalo Bills went 9-7 and won a tie-breaker over a few teams to end a 17-year playoff drought, but it seems like such a long time ago. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Not that the Bills were mighty or anything, but I don’t think anybody saw this coming. After two weeks they are the worst team in the NFL getting outscored 78-23. And it got so bad that they had a player retire from the league during halftime of last week’s game. The Bills are a 17-point underdog in their Week 3 game with the Minnesota Vikings.
Watch this Week 3 regular season matchup live on Sunday, September 23, 2018, at 1 p.m. ET at U.S. Bank Stadium.
NFL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu
Buffalo Bills +17
Minnesota Vikings -17
The betting public doesn’t think much of the Bills. The line opened at Minnesota -16 and was quickly wagered to -17 with the Vikings getting nearly 90 percent of the early action. Buffalo hasn’t been this big of an underdog since the 1985 season when they were spotted 18 points by Miami. The line is easily the largest this season and could spike even higher. The total was wagered down a half-point to its current 41.
Vontae Davis – In one of the more bizarre moves ever, Davis retired at halftime of Sunday’s game against the Chargers. With Taron Johnson out with an injury, Philip Gaines moved to the slot and Davis started at corner, playing the first half against the Bolts. To make things even worse for the Bills, Gaines suffered a dislocated elbow and may not be available to match wits with Kirk Cousins and the Vikings. Johnson’s status is also in question as he recovers from a shoulder issue.
LeSean McCoy – If the Bills leading rusher misses any time with his rib injury it becomes more difficult for them to win games. Shady hasn’t put up numbers like he has in the past, but the offense around him is inept and no one has done much of anything on that side of the ball. But having McCoy healthy will take some heat off Josh Allen, and we know the rookie needs that as he continues his maturation process.
Matchup to Watch
On paper this one is a laugher. The Vikings haven’t been their dominant selves on defense this season, but there’s a bunch of talent from the group that was tops in the league last year. Minnesota allowed 351 yards to the Packers last week and they stiffened when it mattered most, holding the Pack to just one touchdown in five red zone trips.
The numbers will likely improve this week against a Bills team that is starting a rookie quarterback behind a beleaguered line with no ground game. The Bills are next to last in the NFL averaging less than 140 passing yards and 223 total yards per outing. And it’s hard to score when you can’t move the football. Buffalo scored a late touchdown last week when the Chargers were playing prevent defense, making the score closer than the game actually was. The Bills are 31st in scoring with 23 points through two games.
Typically teams that are not very good have a tough time holding onto the football. That’s been the case with the Bills. Nathan Peterman threw a pair of interceptions in the opener and Josh Allen followed with a pair last week, accounting for all four of Buffalo’s giveaways this season.
The Bills own the second-worst turnover margin in the NFL after two weeks with a minus-3 differential with their one takeaway tied for the lowest amount.
Free ATS Pick
Things went from bad to worse for the Bills last week with Davis retiring from the NFL at halftime. And we’re likely to see more players “retire” if the downward spiral continues. A minor ailment will turn into something major and injuries will take longer to heal.
Facing Kirk Cousins and his stable of receivers isn’t the most inviting situation as the Bills look to find something positive to grasp a hold of. We rarely see spreads reach 17 points in a NFL game and that has me leaning towards Buffalo. But they haven’t done anything this year and Allen will take more lumps before the team rallies. I’m taking the Vikings to cover the enormous spread because Buffalo will have a tough time scoring any points.
NFL Betting Odds: Vikings 31, Bills 13
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