If the Buffalo Bills can win and cover on Monday night, it will say something about them.
This is a classic letdown spot against the Tennessee Titans. The Bills are coming off a huge win against the Kansas City Chiefs, a game they had circled all offseason after losing the AFC championship game at Kansas City last season. The Bills are back on the road this week. Everyone has spent the week talking about how they look like perhaps the best team in football.
If the Bills can block all that out and cover as a 6-point favorite on Monday night, it'll be impressive.
It's not like the Titans are incapable. They're getting healthier, though A.J. Brown landed on the injury report Sunday with an illness. Julio Jones should be back in the lineup. Derrick Henry is still the best pure runner in football. The Titans are 3-2. They haven't looked as good as the Bills, but they're not bad.
Which side covers on Monday night seems to depend largely on the Bills. If they're locked in and play anywhere near as well as they have the past four weeks, there's not much the Titans are going to do about it. They don't have the defense to bother the Bills. I'll take the Titans +5.5 as a situational play. If you've spent any time betting the NFL, you know the analysis is more than picking the best team to win every week.
And if the Bills are able to dust the Titans in this one, there might not be any stopping them for a while.
Here's the first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:
What other bets stand out in Bills-Titans?
Two prop bets in particular stand out. Bills running back Zack Moss' rushing yardage total at BetMGM is 42.5. Moss was a surprise inactive in Week 1 but he has become the focal point of the Bills' running game since then. Last week he played 73.7% of the offensive snaps. He had 60 and 61 rushing yards in the two games before last week, when he disappointed with 37 rushing yards. Moss will be just fine against the Titans defense if he plays anywhere near 70% of the snaps.
I also like Derrick Henry over 13.5 receiving yards. Henry isn't known for his pass-catching ability, but he has been more involved in the passing game this season. He has passed 13.5 receiving yards in four of five games, including a 55-yard receiving game, before not catching a pass last week. It's a low number and he should hit it.
What about baseball?
The NLCS takes a day off, but the ALCS moves back to Boston. The Boston Red Sox evened up the series with some heavy hitting in Game 2, beating the Houston Astros 9-5. The Red Sox are -120 favorites at BetMGM in Game 3.
Eduardo Rodriguez is Boston's starter and his sample against the Astros this season is troubling. He had an 11.57 ERA in two starts against Houston. The Astros hit .351 off him. Houston had the fourth-best OPS in baseball against left-handed pitchers. Houston was also the better team through the season, so getting them as an underdog in a good spot makes sense.
Who cashed tickets this weekend?
If you bet on Iowa, it wasn't a good Saturday. The Hawkeyes, who rose to No. 2 in the polls, somehow lost straight up to Purdue as an 11.5-point favorite. Top-ranked Georgia gave up the cover with four seconds left, as Kentucky scored to lose 30-13. Georgia was 21.5-point favorites. Alabama and Cincinnati, who will have to try to impress the CFP for different reasons, each had blowout wins while easily covering the spread. That's an angle that might be worth following in upcoming weeks.
The NFL's 1 p.m. games were swept by favorites. Favorites were 7-0 early. The Dallas Cowboys got a lucky cover as the eighth favorite to cover on Sunday. Dallas, a 3.5-point favorite, scored a walk-off touchdown in overtime when a field goal would have won the game too.
What's the best bet?
The NFL will dominate the TV ratings, but I'll still try to cash a ticket on the Astros as an underdog. They've been the better team and I think they can get to Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez.