Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers
Friday, 8/8/14, 7:30 PM EST
Opening Point Spread: Buffalo PK
Current Betting Line: Buffalo -2
Opening Total: 36.5
Current Total: 37
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes
Buffalo has had only three practices since suffering a 17-13 setback to the New York Giants in the Hall of Fame game Sunday, which is important to consider when making your NFL predictions, considering the offense averaged just 3.8 yards per play. The Bills offensive line will find things difficult in protecting signal-caller EJ Manuel, as they prepare to face a Panthers defensive front that led the league in sacks with 60 in 2013. It’s still a good opportunity for the group to grow, and also allow the running backs to work on its own pass blocking.
The Bills have been thrilled by what they’ve seen from rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins, as the former Clemson Tigers star will makes things easier for Manuel under center. On the defensive side of the ball, Buffalo possesses arguably the best defensive line in football, with Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus each landing in the Pro Bowl last season. The loss of Kiko Alonso is proving to be difficult to fill, as he played on every snap and finished third in the NFL with 159 tackles.
Carolina followed up a 3-1 preseason by going 12-4 in the 2013 regular season to capture the NFC South championship, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NFL betting odds. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is questionable for this affair, as he continues to build back strength in his surgically-repaired ankle, which means that backup Derek Anderson will get the bulk of the snaps with the first team in this matchup.
The Panthers have some major question marks offensively—specifically at the wide receiver position with veteran Steve Smith becoming a member of the Baltimore Ravens during the offseason. Carolina first-round draft choice Kelvin Benjamin is quickly becoming Newton’s favorite target, while veterans Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery are likely to land roster spots moving forward. With that being said, head coach Ron Rivera has basically stated that Newton would be primarily handing the ball off if he saw the field Friday.
Sports bettors will likely back the Panthers due to their 7-5 ATS mark under Rivera in exhibition play.
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