Jets @ Bills +1.0 (-115) Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York September 15, 2016, 5:25PM PDT
We nailed the Broncos cover in the first installment of Thursday Night Football 2016. In the note we penned disseminating our pick, we indicated dismay at Denver's repricing from favorite to 3-point underdog. We also noted that both of our primary factors and several of our secondary handicapping tools called for an outright home win in addition to the cover. As forecast, Denver not only beat the number, but narrowly pulled out a straight up victory (21-20)
The win to open the 2016 season sustains a Thursday Night Football hot streak that dates back to last season (we finished the year 8-3-1 ATS picking Thursday games; due to our miscategorizing several games on our primary website, we mistakenly tweeted last week that our 2015 TNF record was 5-1-1). We look to roll on in week 2 action, as our approach is signalling another high-conviction Thursday play.
At odds with the experts in Las Vegas, our primary (power rankings) factors make the Bills 2-4 points better than the Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium tomorrow night.
Similarly, two of the three computer simulation models we rely on anticipate an outright win for the Bills (the third sees a push as the most likely outcome).
Moreover, 75% of bet slips tracked by SportsInsights are currently backing New York, a contrarian support for the Bills.
Betting trends too align with the idea of the home cover, as Buffalo has beat the number in each of the last five head-to-head meetings with New York, and in the last three where the Bills hosted teh Jets. Further, the Buffalo finished with a respectable 5-3 against the spread record at home last season, and were 2-1 form the position of home dog. Conversely, New York struggled to cover on the road, as indicated by their 2-3-2 report card. The Jets' woes intensified in 2015 when cast as road favorites -- New York was 1-3-1 under such circumstances.
On the basis of these multi-dimensional indications, and consistent with the character exhibited last season, we predict Buffalo will demonstrate improved offensive form Thursday, given 1) the value of home field advantage and 2) that the Jets' defense (so far anyway) is miles from from the fifth-ranked defense (by DVOA) exhibited last year -- based on preseason and week 1 play, Football Outsiders' DAVE statistic estimates the Jets D will rank 18th this season.
Bottom line: We are looking for the home underdog effect, which worked wonderfully last week, to persist for at least a little while longer. Our power rankings and computer simulation work, in addition to sentiment and betting trends favor the Bills to rebound from the disappointing show at the Ravens last week. We are backing Buffalo +1.0.