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NFL Week 1 Odds: Buffalo Bills vs. Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens may be the first team in 21 years to start an all-rookie left side when they host the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, September 11th. Before we proceed, though, let’s have a look at the odds for people wanting to do some football betting:

Bills +3 (-110) 44½ (-110)
Ravens -3 (-110) 44½ (-110)

John Urschel was set to start at left guard before a contusion put him temporarily on the reserve list. This turn of events has allowed fourth round offensive tackle Alex Lewis to shine in Urschel’s position during the preseason. Additionally, fellow OT Ronnie Stanley – 6th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 draft – has allowed one quarterback pressure but no sacks in three exhibition games. Urschel could still return in time for the regular season opener, but even if he does, he plays better at center than guard. Therefore, there is a pretty good football betting chance that the Lewis/Stanley duo will be trusted with the responsibility of protecting QB Joe Flacco’s blindside. That’s something to think about when placing online football bets.

Speaking of Flacco, Joe Cool is back and healthy, which is a relief for offensive tackle James Hurst – Flacco tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee on Hurts’s watch on November 22nd, 2015 and missed last season’s final six games. Flacco had surgery in December and came back in time for training camp. The starting QB returned to the gridiron in week 3 of the preseason versus the Detroit Lions, completing 11 of 16 for 94 passing yards, leading the offense to a Justin Tucker field goal in one of his two series, and getting up from a sack like it was no thang. Moreover, he seems to have established a connection with wide receiver Mike Wallace that will be going on forward into the regular season.

When your head coach’s last name is Harbaugh, there is always cause for confidence. Not quite so if you’re Buffalo’s second year coach Rex Ryan. According to ESPN’s Adam Caplan, coach Ryan is “squarely on the hot seat.” As opposed to the comfy chair? Ryan has not won more than eight games since his second season as NY Jets head coach in 2010, and failed to break the Bill’s sixteen-season postseason drought last year. On the other hand, he did bring in the two players that could help the franchise turn the tide (and no, neither is Reggie Bush); namely, QB Tyrod Taylor and rookie CB Ronald Darby. Taylor went 242 of 380 (63.7%) for 3035 passing yards and 20 TDs, and rushed 568 yards for another 4 touchdowns in his first season in Buffalo in 2015 – far and away the best stats in his five-year career. And Darby led the Bills with 68 tackles (61 solo and 7 assisted), and also deflected 21 passes, and had two interceptions. The Bills certainly have the talent to defy football betting odds, and might take advantage of the Ravens’ inexperience on the left side.