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Monday Night Picks: Bills vs. Patriots, Chargers vs. Raiders

Posted by in NFL Picks on September 14th, 2009 | Comment »

2/2 on Sunday Night has us rolling into Monday well positioned.  There are two games to choose.  Bills +11 @ Patriots and Chargers @ Raiders +10.  I hate double-digit spreads — they’ll always be close.  Both the Saints and Ravens covered their -13 spreads, but the Chiefs and Lions were the team in the money most of the game and both had a very good chance of covering the spreads if it wasn’t for a late TD score to give those who took the Saints and Ravens a sigh of relief.

My first thought was that I would rather give up the points with the Patriots at home rather than the Chargers on the road.  Home field advantage is huge on Monday night and betting against the Raiders when they’re given 10 points on Monday night in the black hole could be a mistake, although I do feel that the Chargers should dominate this game.  However, the Bills defense isn’t weak, and with CB issues for the Patriots, they may have a tough time with Evans and T.O.  I’m not huge on the Patriots -11.  I think the Patriots win by exactly 11 to be honest (27-16).  After rethinking this one, I think the Chargers have a better shot at covering 10 against the Raiders than the Patriots do against the Bills.

I then want to turn my attention to the over/under since yesterday’s call on the under 46.5 was spot on.  The over/under for NE/BUF is 47.5 and and SD/OAK is 43.

In the Patriots game, I’m forecasting 24-31 points from the Patriots with a max of 34 points being scored.  The Bills should score 13-16 with a max of 20.  The Patriots will come out firing passes all over the field and Brady should finish the game with at least 3 TDs and the Pats should also get a pair of field goals.  I don’t expect much from the Bills, who are missing Marshawn Lynch against a traditionally tough Patriots defense.  I do have some concerns about the Patriots CBs.  No Asante Samuel, no Ellis Hobbs.  They now have Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden.  It’s a tough task for those corners to be asked to cover Terrell Owens and Lee Evans.  LBs Jerod Mayo and Adalius Thomas will have to have big games.  With the lack of a Bills running game, Jarod Mayo will drop back in coverage often for insurance against the Bills passing game. That should be enough to contain the Bills.

The maximum number of points I see in this game is 54, just 6.5 points above the over/under.  That’s the maximum number that I see.  More realistically, the Patriots will likely win 31-16 or 27-20, which would put the under in the money.  The Bills defense is no push over.  They can get some pressure on Brady and they have some very talented LBs and CBs.  I see this game playing out more like the Green Bay/Chicago game instead of a straight-up shoot out — a lot of hard hits and defense.  If the Patriots do score early and often, look for them to utilize the running game in the 2nd half to kill the clock instead of putting Brady’s knee in jeopardy.

I think the under 47.5 is the play to make in this game.  Anything can happen with the spread as high as 11 points.  I think the Pats grab an early lead, the Bills have a hard time catching up, and the Pats run the football in the 2nd half to end the game 27-16.  I don’t love the under knowing Brady can go off at any time, so I’ll place only a modest bet on it.  10/15 “experts” at like the over and 70% of the money is on the over, but I’ll have to disagree.  10/16 are also taking the Patriots to cover and 96% of the bets are on the Patriots to cover.

Prediction: Patriots 27 – Bills 16

Free Pick: Under 47.5 (Confidence: 3/5), Patriots -11 (Confidence 2/5)

In the Chargers game, I expect the Chargers to spank the Raiders, but I just dislike being in Oakland on Monday Night.  13/16 experts at are picking the Chargers to cover and 90% of the money is on them tonight.  San Diego has covered 4 straight being favored by 9.5 points against Oakland, so why go against the grain?  Look for another domination.  The over/under at 43 is a toss up, so I’ll pass on that.

Prediction: Chargers 31 – Raiders 13

Free Pick: Charges -10 (Confidence: 3/5)

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