Sizing up a Redskins-Bills matchup

Nov 1, 2019 4:00 PM

Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills

Over/Under: 37

Kickoff: 10:00 a.m. PT

TV: FOX

The Bills were the last team in the NFL to cash an over this season, finally doing so in Week 7. They did once again last week (albeit barely and probably not deservedly) and are thus in a spot to see such bets sweep their rare three-game homestand.

However, it doesn’t seem likely that’ll happen. Plenty of reasons swirl why Buffalo has been one of the best unders teams in 2019 and it all starts with their second-year signal-caller.

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Josh Allen is actually 12-6 toward the under in his 18 career starts. That’s really not surprising at all when you look at Allen’s body of work and the tools he’s displayed since entering the league.

While there’s been notable improvement exhibited by the Wyoming product, he still hasn’t established himself as a big-play quarterback. In fact, Allen is a mere 3-for-35 (8.6 percent!) this season on throws that travel more than 30 yards.

Overall, he’s made strides in raising his passer rating (80.4) and completion percentage (60.1) from his rookie campaign. But at the end of the day, Allen still ranks 28th in both of those categories -- out of 33 qualified QBs.

Considering his supporting cast, all of that adds up to an offense that must manufacture lengthy, time-consuming drives in order to put points on the scoreboard, something that should be embraced by under bettors. As it is, the Bills tally 19.1 points per game; last year, they averaged 16.8 points each week.

Buffalo’s stingy defense can be appreciated just as much when it comes to unders. They rank third in the NFL in fewest total yards allowed per game (303.9), and they yield only 17.4 points a week, ranking them tied for fifth-best.

That’s all you need to gather to surmise that the Bills boast one of the stronger defensive units. And that alone will present a very difficult predicament for this opponent, given that a rookie quarterback (who’s clearly not ready yet) in Dwayne Haskins is set to make his first-ever start.

With Case Keenum (concussion) likely out, Haskins will get the keys to the engine, but don’t be surprised to see numerous drives that end up stalling. The No. 15 overall draft pick hasn’t shown much in his brief action, entering in relief only twice previously, but even that small sample size was far from pretty. Collectively, Haskins was 12-for-22 (54.5 percent) to go with 140 yards, no touchdowns and four picks.

When he was installed as the interim head coach, Bill Callahan assured there would be an extra emphasis on the running game and he’s lived up to his word. Washington has run the ball on 53.6 percent of play calls in the three games with Callahan at the helm, fourth-highest during that span.

Since Haskins will probably be under center, expect even more of that Redskins rush attack than usual, which is only a good thing when it comes to unders. Veteran Adrian Peterson leads the backfield but is averaging less than four yards per carry -- which is rare for the future Hall-of-Famer. He also comes into this affair banged up.

Like I wrote last week, you should be very selective about ever buying a full point on a total. In this case, though, I feel it’s necessary to survive a potential 24-14/21-17 final. Play: UNDER 38 (-130)

Last Week’s Result: Browns-Patriots Over 42 (“loss”)

2019 NFL Over/Under Betting Record*: 5-4, +0.2 unit

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

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