New York Giants (1-2) at Buffalo Bills (2-1)
The Bills have had a great start to their season. Their defense has been as good as advertised, with the exception of a game against New England, who no one has been able to stop this season, while their offense has exceeded expectations thanks to the emergence of quarterback Tyrod Taylor and rookie running back Karlos Williams, as well as the addition of Richie Incognito in free agency. In addition to the loss to New England, the Bills have beaten both the Dolphins and Colts easily.
I didn’t think Taylor would play that well because he fell to the 6th round in 2011 and didn’t make his first career start until his 5th year in the league this year. Typically, guys like that don’t have much success because it’s a league where having a quarterback is so important that a starting caliber quarterback doesn’t usually fall through the cracks like this. I sided with the odds, which is usually the right move, but he’s beaten the odds so far, completing 74.4% of his passes for an average of 9.15 YPA, 7 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. It’ll be interesting to see if this can continue. It’s only been 3 games and the league could still figure him out, but he’s been good so far.
The Bills are pretty banged up this week, missing 4 starters, LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins, Aaron Williams, and John Miller with injury. The Giants are banged up too, missing Robert Ayers, Jason Pierre-Paul, Victor Cruz, and William Beatty with injury, but they’ve been missing those guys for most of the season. They’ve also led the league in adjusted games lost to injury in each of the last 2 seasons. The Bills’ injuries are new. The Giants are also typically a better team on the road than they are at home. They are 52-42 (45-49 ATS) at home since 2004 (the start of the Eli Manning/Tom Coughlin era), outscoring opponents by an average of 2.64 points per game, as opposed to 53-43 (58-38 ATS) on the road over that time period, getting outscored by an average of 0.10 points per game.
The Giants are also in great spot with no upcoming distractions, hosting the 49ers next week. Teams unsurprisingly tend to cover in these spots, going 115-79 ATS as non-divisional road underdogs before being non-divisional home favorites since 2008. The Bills go to Tennessee next week, which isn’t too hard, but I like the Giants’ spot more because they don’t have to go on the road next week. On top of that, week 4 underdogs who just won their first game of the season week 3 are 32-10 ATS since 1989. I wish this line was higher than 5 (though the odds makers might be trying to keep the line low to so there aren’t big sharp bets on Buffalo) and I can’t be too confident with the line this low, but the Giants should be the right side.
Buffalo Bills 16 New York Giants 13
Pick against the spread: NY Giants +5