Your Buffalo Bills face off with the Las Vegas Raiders in their 2023 NFL season home opener! Sunday at 1:00 p.m. was invented for football, and we will honor the tradition with beer, snacks, and responsible wagers. Nothing screams a good time like responsibility. But it’s our money. We want to win. We don’t want to just be frivolous, and, “No, honey, for the 1000th time, a chicken wing hat is not frivolous.” So, yes, we will be responsible.
The 2023 NFL season did not kick off the way we wanted for the Bills or Three Props, and Bills Mafia is ready to tailgate away the taste of last week’s loss to the Jets. And you, good reader, deserve free money in your pocket, and you were let down last week. The props versus the Jets were all by the skin of our teeth. To recap:
- Dalton Kincaid o26.5 receiving yards. Result: 26 re yds
- Garrett Wilson o5.5 receptions. Result: 5 rec
- James Cook o62.5 total yards. Result: 63 tot yds
Ugh. You will never convince me that Garrett Wilson doesn’t get more than five catches if Aaron Rodgers stays healthy for the whole game, and I knew Kincaid’s receptions should have been the pick instead of yards. So, we learn from our mistakes.
We also learn from more data. It’s only one week’s worth, but it feels like infinitely more than was available last week. We still have to be cautious about assuming we know who these teams are yet this year, but we do know more than nothing. Let’s go!
First Things First
Here are a few rules to keep your betting a fun, enjoyable hobby.
- Never bet more than you can afford to lose.
- Don’t chase a bet.
- Don’t bet on what you don’t understand
- Check the other sportsbooks’ lines
- See Rule #1.
If you think you might have a gambling problem, please contact any of these agencies for help.
National Council on Problem Gambling: 1-800-522-4700.
Gambling Anonymous National Hotline: (888) GA-HELPS (888-424-3577)
Gambling Assistance Hotline: (800) 522-4700
Lastly, these are recommendations, not guarantees. Act accordingly.
Josh Allen is an emotional
roller coaster skydiver, a coaster doesn’t have a big enough swing to truly represent how high and low Allen can take the fanbase. When he is under control, he is amazing with just the right amount of risk. When he is a squirrel on hard drugs, anything – good or bad – can happen. One of the things Buffalo fans have come to expect from Allen is the “correction game;” essentially every time Allen goes full adrenaline spastic, he realizes how much trouble it caused and plays the next game with the restrictor on. This doesn’t mean he’ll stop throwing deep: it means he’ll make fewer “just chuck it” decisions, and that’s a good thing.
The two big matchups in this game are Spencer Brown against Maxx Crosby and the Bills’ front seven versus Josh Jacobs.
Whenever Crosby lines up opposite Brown, everyone at Cover 1 will take a deep breath. Crosby might be the most underrated player in the NFL, and Brown is…well, Brown is not underrated.
Maxx Crosby being an absolute terror off the right edge. Knocks the tackle back several steps, then hits him with a swim move once the tackle tries to reset, causing the tackle to fall down— Anthony Cover 1 (@Pro__Ant) September 12, 2023
The Bills should keep Dawson Knox and Reggie Gilliam in to support Brown when Crosby is on the offense’s right. (Watch for Knox to have some opportunities when he chips and releases, but it’s too uncertain to bet).
There is good news when the Bills pass, though. With the “only one week” caveat in place, the Raiders played a lot of Cover 3 last week in their matchup with Denver. In 2022, the Bills were really good against Cover 3.
The Bills took the 20th most attempts against Cover 3 in 2022, but were second in total EPA, third in TDs, and sixth in net yards. That 31st rank in Busted plays means only the Bengals had a negative play against Cover 3 less often than the Bills – they had reliable success when facing that coverage. As long as Allen is not a frenzy ferret, the Bills should be able to throw against a Vegas D that does not have dependable playmakers outside of Crosby.
Where the Raiders do have reliable playmakers is in WR Devante Adams and RB Josh Jacobs. Jacobs is a 220lb force of nature. He’s the kind of back that could make the Bills miss Tremaine Edmunds’ size and athletic ability. Much like Derrick Henry, Jacobs can slow a pass rush as defensive linemen make sure they maintain gap integrity. The Bills’ best method of slowing Jacobs down is to get ahead and reduce the Raiders’ reliance on him.
Watch for the Raiders’ offense and running game to keep it annoyingly close in the first half, but the Bills to take advantage of a weak defense: Bills win 34 – 20.
It is still too early to put too much weight into DVOA but note what Vegas did passing against what is expected to be a solid Broncos’ secondary. And the Bills’ O needs a get-right game.
From the National Weather Service: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 72. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph.
Gabe Davis Receptions
In the game script, we talked about how the Raiders used Cover 3 at a high rate in Week 1 and how the Bills had success last year versus that coverage. Guess which WRs do the most damage for the Bills.
Diggs might very well go off in this game, but Davis’ receptions total offers significant plus money this week, and there is a good chance both wideouts have a great game.
Recommendation: Gabe Davis o3.5 rec at FD, 0.5u
Josh Allen Longest Rush
You can already see the play in your mind. Maxx Crosby beats Spencer Brown, Allen makes a remarkable move to avoid the pressure and scampers away through the rest of Vegas’ lackluster DL. Free money.
Recommendation: Josh Allen longest rush, o13.5 at FD, 0.5u
Tyler Bass Total Points
The Bills will score points at home against a bad defense.
Recommendation: Bass total points, o7.5, 0.5u
I desperately wanted to take a Kincaid receptions prop at 2.5 again, but this week it’s vigged at -175. Be wary when there is a bet you want to make instead of finding a bet with evidence behind it. Update: The line just moved to o3.5 rec at DK for +135. This won’t be an official recommendation because Kincaid still needs to build a track record of usage, but this is more palatable than -175 for o2.5.
Vegas is getting beat up this week.
Record: 1-2, -0.6u