The National Football League opens their Saturday play today with a pair of games. The first contest, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time, finds the AFC East leading Buffalo Bills against the Denver Broncos in the Mile High City. Tonight’s game, from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, has the Packers hosting the Carolina Panthers.
For forty years now, Qoxhi Picks has isolated a single game each week as the Top Pick. I put as much effort into having this selection beat the point spread as a surgeon would in an effort to save a life on the operating table.
From the time the point spreads are posted on Sunday night, I begin rolling scenarios around in my head in search of the “best” play, and by Tuesday morning incorporate the stats from the previous games into the equation. On Friday and Saturday, I collect information from gambling outlets to find where the money is going, and how that action is driving the point spread moves.
It is challenging to make a Thursday night game, or any contest played before the bulk of the games are scheduled for Sunday, the Top Pick. Without all the gameday information available on the full schedule, landing on a single play on the schedule before Sunday is somewhat blind.
To have a Thursday game rate out as the best of the week, or to wait until Monday Night to tab the best pick, is uncommon. As is identifying the Top Pick on a Saturday.
This week, a few games scheduled for tomorrow have great promise, two of them with Top Pick attributes that will either be enhanced or diluted by late information. Still, the early game today already lands on all the charastics I’m looking for to isolate a superior point spread proposition.
The Bills are coming off a decisive week. They knocked the Pittsburgh Steelers out of the top spot in the AFC race for a playoff bye with a Sunday night win. Coupled with the Miami Dolphins loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo increased their lead to two games in the AFC East Division.
It was a very big week for Josh Allen and company, one that began with a road Monday Night Football victory over the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers.
Now the Bills look to add-on to that success as a bet-on road favorite against the Denver Broncos.
Vic Fagio’s team has no pressure to inhibit their play for the rest of the season.
The Broncos have long been out of serious playoff contention, are still developing quarterback Drew Lock as their future fortune holder, and just missed two weeks ago at beating the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since Peyton Manning got it done in 2015. In that primetime game in Kansas City, the Broncos defense limited the prolific Chiefs offense to a single touchdown and 22 points, their lowest total this season. Denver’s six point road loss, 22-16, easily won the wager with the 13 point spread.
Earlier this season, in a similar role that they find themselves in today, the Broncos beat the Bills primary challenger in the AFC East, the Miami Dolphins, 20-13. Denver was an underdog that day too.
So, what do we have here?
A Bills team riding into town with three straight wins and point spread covers since their bye, and a pair of games against division rivals in their final two games of the season. In two weeks, regardless of what happens today or next Monday night against the New England Patriots, the Bills can clinch their division title with a final week of the season win over the Dolphins, who they also defeated this season in second week action.
The Bills would like to win today, but don’t need too.
The Broncos would like to win today, and will.
Qoxhi Picks: Denver Broncos (+5½) over Miami Dolphins