A couple of weeks ago, this Sunday’s San Francisco at Buffalo NFL game looked like one of the least appealing matchups of the 2016 season. But things have definitely changed. The Bills are on a three-game winning streak to save Coach Rex Ryan’s job and now comes the news that Colin Kaepernick will make his first start for the Niners in almost a calendar year. The Bills are solid favorites on NFL odds.
Take a Closer Look at the San Francisco at Buffalo Betting Spread, Expert Pick & TV Info
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) October 12, 2016
Why Bet on San Francisco?
The Niners lost their fourth straight game last Thursday, 33-21 at home to Arizona. The Cardinals got 17 points off three turnovers by the 49ers (1-4) — two interceptions by Blaine Gabbert and a fumbled kickoff return by Chris Davis — and also had one drive extended by a running-into- the-kicker penalty.
Gabbert finished 18 for 31 for 162 yards and after Chip Kelly said he would look at the QB position. He made the change to Kaepernick on Tuesday.
Really a no-brainer for Kelly as over the past four games, Gabbert threw for just four touchdowns and six interceptions and posted an average passer rating of 65.1. Kaepernick underwent multiple surgeries this offseason and didn’t have much of a presence during offseason workouts. Kelly said as recently as a week ago that Kaepernick was not heavy enough to take the field again.
Kaepernick’s last start came back on Nov. 1, 2015, in a loss to the Rams. In 2015, he went 2-6 under center with a 59 percent completion rate, six touchdowns and five interceptions. For an offense that sits 31st in the NFL in yards per game and 32nd in yards per play, it’s the right move at the right time.
The fact he’s starting also will draw attention to his national anthem protests. A Supreme Court justice recently weighed in on the issue, calling the protest “really dumb.” People are still talking about his actions. His move to the role of starter means even more focus and it means even more attention before the game begins.
Kelly’s offense asks for quick, smart decisions with accurate passes and he made it clear Tuesday that it won’t be any different with Kaepernick behind center.
“It doesn’t change,” Kelly said. "They’re both similar type of athletes in terms of what they can do. They both run, they both throw, so I don’t think you’ll see schematically we’re not going to change our entire offense to do this.”
Why Bet on Buffalo?
The Bills (3-2) won 30-19 at the Rams last Sunday. Nickell Robey-Coleman intercepted two passes and returned one 41 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Robey-Coleman stepped in front of rookie receiver Pharoh Cooper and strolled down the sideline to put the Bills ahead 23-16 with 3:54 left in the third quarter. Tyrod Taylor then threw a 6-yard touchdown to Marquise Goodwin to put the game out of reach, with Robey-Coleman adding another interception in the final minutes. LeSean McCoy rushed for 150 yards. After getting off to a rather pedestrian start this year, McCoy has now rattled off 330 rushing yards on 54 carries over his last three games.
The Bills are on their first three-game winning streak since 2011. The Bills have a chance to sustain their success against the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins, both 1-4, over the next two weeks. A four-game winning streak would be their first since 2008, and a string of five consecutive victories would be their first since 2005.
Bills has activated right tackle Seantrel Henderson from the reserve/suspended list. Henderson was suspended the first four games and left on the exempt list for Week 5. Jordan Mills has been having a rough time at right tackle.
This game puts the spotlight back on one of the NFL’s biggest storylines from last season: Kelly’s decision in March 2015 to trade running back LeSean McCoy when both were with the Eagles. A year-and- a-half later, it’s clear that not only are the Bills the biggest beneficiaries of the trade, but Kelly is the biggest loser from the swap that sent McCoy to Buffalo and linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Eagles.
My Expert Pick
Kaepernick hasn’t been good for a few years, so take the Bills and certainly the under on NFL odds.