Bills vs. Raiders Betting Odds, Pick & Preview: Buffalo Should Cover As Road Favorite On Sunday
Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images. Pictured: Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, left, celebrates with wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
Bills vs. Raiders Odds
The Buffalo Bills have been one of the most impressive teams over the first three weeks of the NFL season. Now, they fly across the country to face a surprising Las Vegas Raiders team that sits in second place in the AFC West, just one game behind the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs.
Can Buffalo earn the road win against a Las Vegas team that comfortably beat the Saints, 34-24, in its Week 2 home opener?
Buffalo is one of the few NFL teams that received positive news from the weekly injury report.
Wide receiver John Brown left the Bills Week 2 win over the Rams without recording a catch. Fortunately for the Bills, he practiced in full Friday after carrying a limited designation on Thursday.
The main unknown for Sunday is rookie running back Zack Moss, who is listed as questionable with a toe injury, but did practice all week on a limited basis (track his status here).
Quarterback Josh Allen is playing at a career-high level. He ranks second in passing yards (1,040), passing touchdowns (10) and fantasy points per game 31.3. Allen joins with running back Devin Singletary (and potentially Moss) to exploit a Raiders defense that ranks last in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA.
The versatile Buffalo running backs should particularly enjoy facing a Las Vegas front that’s allowed the most fantasy points per game (35.8) and the most receiving yards (255) to opposing backfields.
Head coach Sean McDermott’s defense suffered a setback against a huge Rams rally in Week 2, but still profiles as one of the NFL’s best against the pass. Linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edwards returned for the Bills in Week 2, and were particularly effective in limiting Rams tight end Tyler Higbee to just two catches and 40 receiving yards.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders enter this game with much greater injury concerns: They’ll be without two huge wide receiver playmakers in rookies Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards. That said, expect the Raiders to lean heavily on their ground game behind running back Josh Jacobs.
The second-year lead standout was limited with a hip injury against the Patriots in Week 3, tallying only 83 total yards for the overall RB30 fantasy performance. The good news is his increased use in the passing game, as he is currently top-12 at the position in both targets (12) and receptions (10). Buffalo has struggled to stop the run in the past two weeks, allowing 4.9 yards per carry to both the Rams and Dolphins.
The Raiders will need to take better care of the ball against a Bills defense with four total takeaways this season. In its Week 3 loss at New England, Las Vegas lost three fumbles including two by quarterback Derek Carr. Facing an offense that is as explosive as the Bills, winning the turnover battle is critical to defeating one of the NFL’s hottest teams.
Las Vegas needs to find a way to get tight end Darren Waller involved in the offense after his two-reception, nine total-receiving yards performance against the Patriots. The only tight end to find success against Buffalo has been Miami’s Mike Gesicki, who took advantage of a depleted Bills linebacking corps. With Ruggs and Edwards out, Waller must get involved early and often.
Strong safety Johnathan Abram is questionable with shoulder and thumb injuries. Las Vegas will need him to limit the deep threat ability posed by Buffalo wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The former Minnesota wideout ranks sixth in the league in fantasy points per game (20.3), fourth in receiving yards (288), and third in completed air yards (232).
I expect a bounce back performance from Buffalo’s defense, and can’t see Las Vegas keeping pace with the Bills offensive weapons. Allen provides the big play ability that New Orleans couldn’t attack with an aging Drew Brees and no Michael Thomas. Diggs and Brown will find success down the field, while Buffalo will consistently exploit the Raiders’ NFL-worst run defense.
I’m backing the Bills at -3 on the road and would love to grab this line at -2.5 if available (shop for the best real-time line here). Buffalo should make enough big plays in the second half to cover the spread, leaning on its rushing attack in the second half. The limited weapons for Las Vegas will eventually succumb to McDermott’s defensive schemes.
I’m not overly worried about the field goal spread, and would take this line up to Buffalo -4.
Pick: Bills -3 (up to -4)