Adam Chernoff is locking in two plays in one of the games of the week as the Baltimore Ravens head to Western New York to take on the Buffalo Bills!
The results last weekend continue to leave me a bit baffled as the bets picked for this column continue to split and give back vig. Last week bets went 1-1 with Washington winning outright as a 10-point underdog but the Jets Bengals total falling off a cliff in the second half. The season record for the column moves to 7-11 (-4.62x).
It was not more than weeks ago on the Matchbook Betting Podcast than Sully, Brad, Whale and I were getting questions from listeners asking if the Buffalo Bills were the most fraudulent team in the NFL. After their win last Thursday against Dallas on Thanksgiving, the majority of folks are crowning Josh Allen as the most improved in the league and the Bills legitimate playoff contenders.
No bettor can ever fault a team for the schedule they play.
A team is never good nor bad because of the opponents they face.
However, a team can be good or bad based on how they PERFORM in the games against their schedule.
In the case of the Buffalo Bills, there is a dichotomy between their results and their schedule of opponents.
Eight of the nine victories for Buffalo this season have been against opponents ranked 26th or worse in offensive efficiency.
Say that out loud.
Eight of the nine victories for Buffalo have come against opponents ranked 26th or worse in offensive efficiency. To say that the Buffalo Bills defense has been the most opportunistic unit in the league would be a colossal understatement.
Where this becomes even more interesting is when singling out the run game specifically. Through Week 13, the Bills have faced the easiest schedule of opposing rush offenses – and it is not close. The Bills have played opponents that have an average rank in rush efficiency offense of 23rd. In comparison, the next easiest schedule has an average opponent rush efficiency offense rank of 18th. This has been a historically favourite schedule for the Bills rush defense.
Performance always needs to be validated against schedule and there is where concerns arise.
Despite the ease of schedule, Buffalo ranks 19th in down to down success rate allowing 50% of all opponent runs to grade successful and 31st in explosive rushes for 10 yards or more against. These are below-average numbers against an extremely easy schedule.
This glaring weakness in the middle of the Bills defense is not a scheme issue, it is a talent and physicality issue. The Bills rank 16th in adjusted defensive line yards and have conceded the third most 2nd level and open field yards in the NFL. When running backs breakthrough, they gain chunk plays.
Baltimore runs the football more than any other team in the NFL, and they are extremely difficult to compare for. The run blocking scheme for Baltimore is complex and physical. The speed that they attack opponents with is difficult to prepare for, especially with a talent deficient front seven like that of Buffalo.
Prior to the Cowboys game, the Bills faced only three opponents that ranked inside the top 12 for rush efficiency offense. Each went for north of 5.0 yards per carry. The Dallas Cowboys were the most difficult opponent of the season at 3rd in rush efficiency offense. Despite abandoning the run for the latter three quarters, the Cowboys still gashed the Bills offense for more than 5.0 yards per carry.
Now with the Ravens being the most difficult opponent of the season, there is no reason this is not another 5.0+ yards per carry performance against this Bills defense.
Stop It with Josh Allen!
It is widespread clouded judgement with Josh Allen this week.
The same Bills fans and bettors earlier in the season that were content writing him off are beginning to build an MVP campaign. I think that Allen is an average quarterback in the league, but much like the Bills defense, the performance has been opportunistic more than anything.
The Bills have played just three secondaries that rank above average this season.
In games against New England, Philadelphia and Cleveland, Josh Allen threw for a 57% completion percentage, 5.6 yards per attempt and a 59 passer rating with 2 TDs and 3 INTs. In the nine other games against secondaries that all rank below league average, Josh Allen threw for a 62% completion percentage, 7.1 yards per attempt and a 89 passer rating with 18 TD’s and 8 INTs.
When the competition is weak, Allen succeeds, when the competition is strong Allen struggles.
The same applies for the Bills team as a whole. This week they get their most difficult opponent in pass efficiency defense in Baltimore than ranks 2nd in the NFL.
This number is going to continue to move towards Baltimore -7 up to kickoff despite the increased support for the Buffalo Bills. The large point spread is a deserving number that the Baltimore Ravens can cover comfortably. With the huge matchup advantage for Baltimore and the increased tempo on offense for Buffalo, the total of 43.5 is short too.
Bettors can take the favourite and the over here.
- Ravens -6 (1.925). Risking 1.25x
- Ravens vs Bills Over 43.5 (1.95). Risking 1.25x