Divisional matchups are some of the zaniest and most difficult games to bet. Coaching staffs know everything about their foe, even their willingness to break off trends and tendencies. These games come down to playmakers, but usually, it’s the role players who ascend to the moment more than the superstars doing even more.
We’re going to break down the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots Week 8 matchup. This is a critical game as the 5-2 Bills want to maintain their lead in the playoff chase. The Patriots want to avoid falling even further into a tailspin as they sit 2-4.
The NFL odds and betting lines for this game are extremely interesting. Though we don’t have any direct lines for Josh Allen and Cam Newton, we’re going to attack three lines that are excellent opportunities to make some money. We’ve been hot on the season and are continuing to trend near the 55 percent win rate.
The AFC East looked like an easy prediction all off-season for us, with the Buffalo Bills being the best overall team with one big question mark at quarterback, and every other team clearly behind them. It was shocking to see the Patriots get 8-8 projections even with one of my favorite quarterbacks, Cam Newton, to help build the offense around. The Patriots simply lack the offensive playmakers to build a winning team with, regardless of how well the defense and Newton could realistically play.
Much of this has come true. The Bills will win the division with ease thanks to a surprisingly effective Josh Allen and passing offense. Allen’s regressed in recent weeks, and I think the early results were due to him being on a hot streak and playing against awful defenses than him figuring out his accuracy completely. Either way, he’s become a good enough starter with a loaded team.
The defense for the Bills has been a bit disappointing. Allowing the 15th-most points per game and ranking outside the top-14 against the run and pass would’ve been out of the realm of possibilities to me prior to the year. I think they have the talent and coaching level to be a much better unit, and they’re making progress in recent weeks.
That’s bad news for Newton and the Patriots. Newton’s numbers took a big hit over the last two weeks, as five interceptions landed in the defender’s hands, and he still only has two passing scores. He’s played better overall on the season than those rudimentary numbers, but his return from a positive Covid-19 test has gone poorly.
This isn’t the week we’ll see much better play from the uninspiring Pats offense. This will be a grind-it-out game, and New England doesn’t have the random high-upside talent to overcome a deficit consistently. Newton and the run game will be a handful, but there’s not a single reliable receiver for him to throw to. Also, the Bills’ coverage talent as a collective unit can lock them down.
On the other side of the ball, I think the Bills continue to produce well enough to win this game by more than a modest 3.5-point spread on the best sportsbooks. Allen will almost surely struggle through the air to some degree, but their run game is tough to stop when they unleash the quarterback’s athleticism on top of their downhill attack.
That means we’re looking at a lower-scoring game where Buffalo covers with a big road win. This would almost all but bury the Patriots’ playoff chances and lock Buffalo in, and the momentum has been trending that way all season long.
Free NFL picks:
- Cam Newton interceptions: Over .5 at -210; and will he throw a touchdown? Yes at -250, parlay at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)