Ladies and gentlemen, our long national nightmare is over: it’s Week 1 of the NFL season! Let there be rejoicing in all the land! By this time you’ve spent all day Sunday basking in the glow of sweet, sweet football.
For Bills Mafia, there is no wait for the first prime-time divisional matchup with potential playoff implications. Bring on the New York Jets and their new man at the helm, Aaron Rodgers. Let’s be honest, Rodgers is weird, but only one season removed from back-to-back MVP seasons means there is still a threat there, and the Jets have an annoyingly solid team for the most part, but maybe not the most important part, around him.
Three Props and a Cloud of Dust is up and running for 2023!
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.
The key to this game is the ability of the Bills’ defensive line to take advantage of the Jets’ offensive line, which is probably their weakest position group. Considering Rodgers is 39 and has always been contact averse, their OL is the sputtering engine on the Jets’ season. Will it hang on long enough to land safely at their playoff destination? Or will it explode mid-air?
- LT Duane Brown – solid but also 38
- LG Laken Tomlinson – middle to below average
- C Connor McGovern – reliable if unspectacular
- RG Alijah Vera-Tucker – their best lineman
- RT Mekhi Becton – reports from camp are good, but his career has been a roller coaster
This group has the chance to be solid enough for the season if they can stay healthy, which they already aren’t. Brown and Becton are likely to play, but they were already on the injury report this week. The Bills need to create a pass rush versus this line because the rest of the Jets’ team that GM Joe Douglas has put together is good (if Rodgers decides he wants to try).
The Bills are clearly minus Von Miller, so the pass rush will get a jolt in four weeks hopefully. With Sean McDermott now calling defensive plays, there should be an uptick in pressure rates starting Monday night. Watch for an increase in blitz rates, simulated pressures, and creeper pressures. Rodgers will probably need to have a short time to throw, and that will lead to quick passes to Garret Wilson and old Rodger’s buddy, Randall Cobb. Per usual, it will be imperative for the Bills’ back seven to rally and tackle. If they can do that reliably while forcing Rodgers to operate quicker than he wants, they should contain the Jets’ offense.
This game will be an uglier defensive struggle than we want to see on Monday night. Bills win 23-20.
Betting is the trickiest in the first month of the season because we don’t have a track record yet of what each team is or trying to be. We think the Bills will use more 12-personnel this season, and there is good evidence to point to that belief, but until we have regular season proof, it’s even more of a gamble to bet on Dalton Kincaid (there is totally a Kincaid prop below. Did you really think I’d be able to contain my own hype?!). As we get better information about what each team is, we’ll be able to wager more accurately.
Am I trying to tell you be prepared to lose? Of course not. I always plan to win, I am saying be patient and cautious with your bets for the first month or so because the data going into that plan is just starting to emerge.
Last year’s DVOA might as well be irrelevant, especially with an acquisition like Rodgers for the Jets. The same as developing an understanding of the teams in the new season, DVOA will take at least a few weeks before it is as pertinent as usual (plus, I’m hoping they bring back their matchup graphics at their new home at FTN).
As always, remember to check the inactives before game time.
Saturday injury report pic.twitter.com/kXLoOPCgWh
— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) September 9, 2023
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) September 9, 2023
From the National Weather Service: Partly cloudy, with a low around 69. South wind around 6 mph becoming light and variable in the evening.
Dalton Kincaid Receiving Yards
This could be the lowest line we see for Kincaid all year. If he brings the fluid movement, route deception, and elite hands we saw in college and in the preseason to a team that really does want to play a better-than-league-average amount of 12-personnel, Kincaid can make an instant impact.
Plus, Kincaid could be the No. 2 target Sunday for the Bills behind Stefon Diggs since he’ll get some of the better available matchups against a solid pass defense.
Recommendation: o26.5 rec yds, 1u. What? Did you think this was going to be an under? (I’d also take his receptions over at 2.5)
Garrett Wilson Receptions
Watch for a significant number of shorter targets to Wilson. He’ll win his fair share because he’s a serious talent. The talk of a Davante Adams-like season for Wilson is not ridiculous, especially when it is literally some of the same other receivers from Green Bay on the team.
Recommendation: o5.5 rec at MGM, 0.5u. This is a good reminder to check multiple books. The potential value MGM is offering makes a significant difference.
James Cook Total Yards
Remember the caveat about needing more information from the regular season? Apply that here. Cook might be the lead back in a dynamic offense. He might also be 1A in a three-headed fantasy football nightmare committee. For Monday night, we’re counting on him being the shifty, fast, eye-popping weapon he showed he could be last year.
Recommendation: o62.5, 0.5u