Ah yes. My favorite time of year. Gambling! (in case the IRS is reading this, I only bet hugs). I usually shy away from pre-season action given the unpredictable nature, but why not dip my toes in the water. I've deserved it after a 5-10 season and six months of rankings articles that have the Redskins in the gutter.
Vegas Line: Redskins (-2)
The Redskins are favored in a game, folks! Let's cherish the moment! I did a quick peek back to last year's preseason games to see how Vegas did week 1. Against the spread Vegas went an impressive 11-4. So, we gotta like the Redskins right? I do, here's why:
1.) Betting pre-season games is all about the 2nd and 3rd team QBs. Rex Grossman will likely see quarters two and three, so having a veteran run the offense is big. The Bills will trot out Tyler Thigpen and Vince Young. Thigpen played in three games for the Bills last year while Young was of course dreaming big with the Eagles. Both QBs are decent from a pre-season standpoint. It's anyone guess how much time Cousins will see, and it likely won't be pretty, but based on Vince Young's camp so far, that's a wash. Advantage: Redskins
2.) Number of rookies: Bills have 20 rookies to the Redskins 21. This may not be much of a factor since looking at the Bills depth chart, there's not a single rookie on their second team defense. The Redskins OLine will likely have Gettis and Compton in at this point. Advantage: Bills
3.) Injuries. Bills will be without starting Center, Eric Wood, and second string WR, David Nelson. Veteran cornerback, Terrence McGee's status is unknown. The Redskins of course are without Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, and Jammal Brown. Two of the three the Redskins played most of their season without (Jammal was there in spirit), so I don't see a huge cause for concern there. Push.
Vegas seems to have this right keeping the spread close. Given the large number of draft picks the Redskins have kept from the previous two years and their experience in the system, I like the Redskins to win this - although not enough to bet more than the equivalent a McD's crispy chicken meal super sized.. It's worth noting the Redskins went 3-1 in the pre-season last year. (Kellen Clemens and John Beck anyone?).