Carolina Panthers vs. Buffalo Bills
Date and Time: Sunday, August 26, 2018, 4 p.m. ET
Location: New Era Field, Orchard Park, NY
Opening NFL Odds: Bills -1.5, 41.5
Bengals vs. Bills TV Coverage: FOX
Marvin Lewis has been a .500 coach in the preseason over the course of his drawn out head coaching career. He entered the 2018 exhibition season 30-31 SU and 30-30-1 ATS. But through two weeks of this preseason, the Bengals enter Week 3 an unblemished 2-0 SU and ATS after taking Chicago and Dallas down. The game against the Bears could’ve gone either way, but Cincy was by far the better and deeper team in the second half against the Cowboys.
Most impressive about the Bengals display in Big D was the play of the defense. It limited Dallas to just 262 total yards of combined offense and only conceded 89 yards on 23 carries. Granted, Zeke didn’t suit up but holding an opponent to 3.9 yards per carry is impressive nonetheless. So too were the five overall sacks Cincy tallied against a supposed deep Cowboys offensive line.
Buffalo should likely be 2-0 in the preseason heading into this contest. They had Carolina on the ropes in Week 1, but failed to deliver the knockout blow. Up 17-7 at the break, the Bills backup defense allowed the Panthers to score 21 second half points with 14 coming in the fourth quarter to pull out the 28-23 come-from-behind win and cover against the NFL odds.
With that loss fresh in their mind, the team took to the gridiron determined to hold on in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns. Only this time, it was the Bills that pulled off the comeback win in the fourth quarter tallying the go ahead score with over nine minutes remaining. This time around, the Bills defense stiffened and kept the Browns off the scoreboard to preserve the 19-17 outright win and cover as field goal underdogs.
Player to Watch
Josh Allen – What a difference a week makes! Leading up to the game with the Browns, Allen was taking snaps with the second and third stringers due to accuracy issues. After completing 9 of 13 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown, he’s now taking QB1 reps and is said to be getting the first half if not more in this matchup.
Word has started to spread that McDermott planned on him starting right from the get go, so it’s now up to the rookie to live up to his coaches expectations and shine. And shine he just might with the Bengals secondary giving up an average of 232 passing yards through their first two preseason games. The opportunity is there for the youngster to do just that. Whether he can remains to be seen.
Bengals vs. Bills Free Picks
With a full week of prep under his belt as a starting quarterback in the NFL, the stage will be set for Allen to make quite the impression. His teammates are coming out in droves with support speaking highly of him in every respect. While that could just be coach and teammate speak, it’s Allen’s time right now and I foresee him getting the job done against a Bengals outfit not nearly as good as its 2-0 preseason record indicates.
Throw in Lewis’s shoddy preseason work in the past and the fact that Cincinnati has absolutely nothing to gain from stealing Allen’s spotlight, and I’ll be looking to lay the small chalk on the Week 3 NFL preseason betting odds with the home team. A good showing in front of the hometown faithful should have Buffalo pointed in the right direction for when the games really count. Unfortunately, that’s when things are going to take a turn for the worse.
NFL ATS Pick: Bills - at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Bills 26 – Bengals 13