This is not a popular pick if you're award of coaching trends for the NFL preseason. Mike Shanahan is one of the most successful preseason coaches in recent memory. He is 47-29 SU, 12-5 SU in Week 1 and 42-32-2 ATS.
In 2011, he was 3-1 SU. It's very clear that he likes to get his guys quality reps and successful results.
On the flip side, Chan Gailey is almost the polar opposite. With Buffalo, he is 3-5 SU, 0-2 in Week 1 and 1-3 SU in 2011.
The Bills opened as two-point favorites, but 56 percent of the bets have come in on the Redskins. These kind of line moves are not uncommon in the preseason, and don't be surprised if the line moves more before game time.
Also, if we wait, we could see a +3 on the board before kickoff. Three is obviously a key number in football, but keep in mind that many coaches decide to go for two near the end of a game to avoid overtime. This makes 1 and 2 much more important numbers in NFLX play.
While I do respect certain trends (especially in the preseason), I don't blindly follow them if the analysis doesn't back it up. As it stands now, I see more reasons to like Buffalo in this matchup.
To begin with, I don't like the QB rotation for the Skins. The Bills have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, and they also boast some of the best depth at the position. Washington has had issues at O-line dating back to last year, and it's already done significant shuffling there during training camp. This is not an ideal situation when you have a high-prized rookie starting under center.
Robert Griffin III and the starters are slated to get between 12-20 snaps before they make way for the second team. Shanahan has thrown everything and the kitchen sink at him in camp to see what he can handle. I expect him to have some designed rollouts and bootlegs to nullify some pressure.
After that, Rex Grossman will take over and try his best with the second unit, although he'll be without Josh Morgan and Tim Hightower. He knows the offense well, so this should be their best chance to secure a lead.
Helu and Royster are battling things out at the RB position, and someone at WR is going to need to step up and show the staff they have something worthwhile at the position. Kirk Cousins slipped in the draft, but he'll come in for mop-up duty in the second half. Johnathan Crompton was a practice squad player last year, so don't expect much out of him.
For the Bills, I really like the veteran depth that Buffalo has at the QB position, so there will be some inspired effort here. Beyond Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyler Thigpen and Vince "Dream Team" Young are battling for backup duties—and likely a job. Even Brad Smith has been getting work at QB at camp.
Collectively, each unit should have a legitimate chance to put up some points. CJ Spiller and Tashard Choice are decent options behind Fred Jackson, and there is open competition at the WR spot too.
On defense, there are big camp battles all along the D-line thanks to some great depth. We'll get our first look at the next "Revis" in first-round pick Stephon Gilmore. New defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt is making his mark on this defense and implementing a simplified 4-3 scheme. They'll get to go up against two rookie QB's and a questionable O-line.
This group has a chance to be much improved this year, and I expect them to come out on top vs this Redskins offense.
There is a nice buzz of optimistic hype in Buffalo this year, and it feels like it is on the cusp of a winning program. I like the depth on both sides of the ball, and I'll take the points on the home team.
NFL Pick: BUF +2.5 (Pinnacle)
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