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Early NFL Picks for the season

Bills vs Jets

The NFL is back and with that comes a lot of excitement as well as a ton of questions. We’ve seen that in other sports, playing in empty stadiums can be accomplished with a little assistance. In terms of handicapping these games, there are a few new things that we will have to take into consideration. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at two specific games that I like in Week 1.

                                   New York Jets vs Buffalo Bills

Sunday, September 13th, 2020 – 1:00 PM EDT at New Era Field, Old Orchard Park, NY

Bills On the Rise While Jets Are a Mess

Last season, the Buffalo Bills took another step in their progression towards becoming a relevant franchise again. If that seems harsh, remember that prior to last season, the last time the Bills had 10 wins in a season was 1999, when they won 11 games. Back then, the Bills were very much a relevant franchise. From 1990-99, the Bills only won less than 10 games twice and went to the Super Bowl four times. Although we know that they lost all four of those games, at the time, they were without question the best franchise in the AFC. The Bills are still a long way from being back to that but getting to 10 wins for the first time in over two decades is a good way to start. On top of that, the Bills have brought in additional weapons for their young franchise quarterback Josh Allen to work with.

The last time the Jets were relevant, was more recent although it has to be said, they’ve never come close to the type of success that they Bills had in the 90’s. Of all the underachieving franchises in professional sports, the Jets have to be near the top of anyone’s list. To put that in perspective, the Jets have not won 10 games or more in consecutive seasons since the mid 80’s. Every time they’ve done well, they come right back to mediocrity the following season.

Lots of Value in Current Price for Bills

In terms of both teams’ outlook coming into the 2020 season, the Bills will feel like they are a team on the rise, having made some key roster moves after making the playoffs last year. The Jets meanwhile are a team in turmoil who have lost key pieces and could conceivably be worse than they were last year. If we look over at the odds provided by SBR for Week 1, the Bills are -6.5 at most betting sites at most betting sites. I see a ton of value in that spread and that I will be taking the Bills at that price.

Whenever betting on the NFL, if you can get a line before it hits -3 or -7, you have to jump on it while you can. Let’s start with the facts from last year that I believe are relevant to this game. The Jets were the second-worst defense in the league (31st) and will be without their leader in the middle, C.J Mosley as well as their leader in the locker room and probably their best defensive player, safety Jamaal Adams. No matter who the Jets pick in the draft with what they got for Jamal Adams, in the present tense, they are much worse on defense without him. Add the absence of Mosley to that equation and we could be looking at the worst defense in the league.

On the flip side, the Bills have added Stefon Diggs to their offense which is a massive upgrade. Josh Allen has not had a legitimate number one receiver since being drafted by the Bills a few years ago. If he is the man to lead this team back to its glory days, the addition of Stefon Diggs will be crucial to his development. There will be a lot of pressure on Allen but Diggs is only 26 so it’s not like it’s now or never for the young Bills quarterback although he will have to deal with a level of expectation that did not exist in Buffalo when he first arrived.

                                  Philadelphia Eagles vs Washington Redskins

Sunday, September 13th, 2020 – 1:00 PM EDT at Fed Ex Field, Landover, MD

Redskins Are No Match for Eagles

This contest is much more straightforward in my opinion. Philadelphia isn’t just better than Washington, they are on an entirely different level. With that said, the hiring of Ron Rivera was a massive step in the right direction. He is a no-nonsense defensive coach that has been consistently successful. The problem I have with Washington is they don’t have a good quarterback. Dwayne Haskins isn’t horrible but he certainly isn’t good right now. I can’t say he ever will be good based on what we saw last season. At times, he looked completely lost out there. They also don’t really have a number one running back and their wide receivers have potential but are inexperienced.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles are trying to get back to the Super Bowl after an extremely disappointing season. While a lot of people doubt Carson Wentz, when he is healthy, he is a franchise quarterback. He has the ability to lead this team to places the Redskins can’t even consider for the next few years. The real mismatch for me here is at the line of scrimmage. The Eagles will dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball which is why you can find them at -6.5 which is my pick for this game.

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