AGAINST THE SPREAD
By Chris, the Impaler
New England Patriots (-5.5) at BUFFALO BILLS (O/U 35)
Nothing beats watching the Patriots win at home on a cool sunny October Sunday afternoon. The access road from the butt-end of the Razor into Foxboro is definitely the best part of the Stadium experience, cheerleaders included. In less than eight minutes you hit 95 and are already a few miles ahead of the thousands of drunken fans leaving the stadium. However, drunken driving isn't really a problem since after several hours sitting in traffic just to get out of the parking lots and onto Route 1 the fans are more or less sober enough to pass the DWI test with their mouth full of copper.
This week has been made even longer by NFL schedulers who in their wisdom decided to grant the New England Patriots a week 3 bye. After winning two consecutive games and considering the bye came during one of the most weather perfect weeks for football in New England, Patriots' fans could only wish the bye came at a later date, perhaps week 9 or 10.
The converse, however, is true for their opponents this week. The Buffalo Bills, who have experienced two defeats by three points in each game, are 0-2 (a few seconds away from 2-0 though) and while this is not a death sentence in the NFL, a coach will have to turn things around quickly if they hope to salvage a 16 game season. So when the Bills also had their Week 3 bye, they must have been quite happy to stop the slide in an organic fashion and have an extra 13 days to prepare for the incoming champions in Week 4.
Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened this game with the Patriots giving 5.5 points on the road to the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, NY. The total has been set at 35, but experienced total bettors agree that this number is probably too high when you consider that the under is 11-0 in the last eleven games at Ralph Wilson and has cashed in a whopping 16-2 since 2003.
While the good citizens of Buffalo get the "Bledsoe Experience," New Englanders were all to familiar with during his tenure in Foxboro, the Bills defense is actually playing well allowing 13 points per game (a tad better than the Pats who have averaged 18 pts allowed per game). However, the Bills' anemic offense has overshadowed the sometimes-fine defensive play in Buffalo. In fact, the Bills have lost both of their games by the same 13-10 score; on the road at Oakland and then at home against Jacksonville-who have become masters of winning low scoring games in this short season.
Savvy gamblers understand the probability and outcome of game totals remain the same regardless of how many times and over/under has cashed, but if you bet a dime on the under on every Bills game since the middle of 2002 you would have made $22,000 on your sports investment.
Our Patriots have done such a super job covering the spread. In the last 17 regular season games Belichick is and astounding 14-2-1 against the number that gamblers worry when this streak will end, rest easy it won?t be at Orchard Park. Now the Patriots, poised to break the all time consecutive win streak in consecutive seasons, return to the scene of last year's 31-0 spanking and will try to exact their pound of flesh.
While Shylock and the boys will tell you its just anothah' game, between you me, and the hooker I am about to pick up in Worcester, this game is all about revenge. The main difference is that this year Buffalo won't be able to take advantage of Lawyer Milloy showing up with a copy of the first 30 offensive plays a week before the game.
Last week as the Pats Offense looked shaky in the desert the defense is what won the game. The Patriots managed to allow the Cardinals a paltry 147 total offensive yards with an average of only 3.3 yards per play. The Patriots intercepted McCown two times and forced three fumbles but were unable to recover any of them.
Meanwhile on offense the Patriots did not do themselves any favors last week. While there has been a lot of focus on Dillon managing to rush for more than 100 yards, he fumbled at a crucial point early in the game that allowed Arizona to kick a field goal and then a Brady interception on the ensuing possession gave Arizona another opportunity to score a TD which thanks to the strong Patriot's D held the Redbirds to a Rackers Field Goal and a 14-6 halftime score in favor of the Patriots.
Another huge problem for the Patriots in Arizona was the lack of discipline and the high number of penalties. Indeed, the Patriots had a very costly interference call as well as a number of other holding and incidental contact penalties. Overall the Patriots were penalized 12 times for 79 yards while the Cardinals had 6 penalties for 43 yards. This week in Buffalo the Patriots will have to improve on not turning over the ball to the stingy Bills and eliminating the costly penalties.
Most ardent Pats backers understand Bledsoe better than his own family and coaches. Indeed, Drew (who has already been sacked eight times this year) has had to learn four new offenses in four years, but that is only the latest of the litany of troubles he has experienced in Buffalo (and here in the years before he left). Whether he is stage diving at the Paradise with Zolack or punching cattle on his ranch in Montana, you don?t have to be Belichick to notice that Bledsoe cannot win the big game. And in Buffalo, considering the recent dearth of big games, whenever the Patriots come to town it is considered a big game.
Actually, Belichick owns Drew Bledsoe, or in Pedro's vernacular, Belichick is Bledsoe's daddy.
Impaler Perspective: I'm laying a dime (1100 units) on the Pats on the road giving 5.5 pts home dog philosophy be damned. As for the under play this one at your own risk because something tells me this is going over.
Week 2 Recrap
Those who break the Law will be punished back to the house of pain; back to the House of Pain.
Perhaps the Impaler should have listened to these immortal words from HOP lead singer Everlast. Breaking the Law in week 2 on Pat Tillman Day, despite the pomp and crap-n-stance, Cory Dillon looked a bit impressive as he rushed for more than 100 yards for NE in the Pats 23-12 win over Arizona.
Pats QB Tom Brady, who actually learned how to share from his dad, Mr. Brady, threw most of it to David Givens who had more than 100 yards in receiving for the first time in his career. But Brady also passed the ball to seven different receivers-could you imagine TO playing here? While he didn't look like the same person who has brought home two titles in three years, Brady did enough to win and not lose the game. Regardless, the Pats emerged from the NFL's version of Burning Man covering the 9.5 pt spread and making another loser out of the Impaler.
There is no amount of fresh cut aloe that will ease the sting and burn of the Sun Devil as we also picked the Cardinals to win on the money line to put the week 2 number at 640 units. Experiencing what we call a violation of the cardinal rule (never bet on or against your favorite team - in the NFL it is the Patriots) we find that Hurricane Jeanne is beating down on us and we're 0-3 ATS in a gambler's own pocket to the tune of 1100 units on this too short season.
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