Buffalo Bills (5-2) at New York Jets (3-5)
The Bills beat the Raiders 34-14 last week, triggering a movement in this game’s line from BUF -2.5 @ NYJ last week on the early line to -3.5 this week. However, that final score is deceiving, as the Raiders won both the first down and the yardage battle. The Bills were able to win by 20 because they won the turnover battle by 4 and brought one back for a touchdown, but turnover margins tend to be inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. The average turnover margin for a team that won the turnover battle by 4 in their previous game is +0.0, the same as the turnover margin for a team that previously lost the turnover battle by 4.
The Bills have been pretty reliant on the turnover margin so far this season, as they lead the league with a +14 turnover margin. They’re unlikely to continue winning the turnover battle at that same rate, which will have a noticeable effect on the scoreboard. They rank just 28th in first down rate differential at -3.74%, only one spot ahead of the 29th ranked Jets (-5.05%). Adding Kelvin Benjamin to this receiving corps via trade will help in future weeks, but he’s unlikely to be much help on Thursday Night Football after just being acquired from Carolina on Tuesday.
The Jets aren’t a very good team, but they’re not the worst and they’ve played pretty well at home this season (4-0 ATS), defeating the Jaguars and Dolphins and playing the Falcons and Patriots close. Given that, we’re getting some line value with the Jets as 3.5 point home favorites because the Bills are overrated right now as a result of their turnover margin. 3.5 points doesn’t seem like a lot, but about 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less and this could easily be a close game. This is just a low confidence pick, but the Jets should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes.
Buffalo Bills 17 New York Jets 16
Pick against the spread: NY Jets +3.5