The Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots split their season series. Which division rival will prevail on Wild Card Weekend? Read on for our Patriots-Bills picks.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has enjoyed a special kind of ownership of the Bills. The kind that’s led to a 36-8 record since his dynastic reign began in Foxborough. But the 2021-22 edition of the Bills is different.
These aren’t your father’s Bills or even your older brother’s Bills. These Bills have now won the AFC East in two straight seasons. They also enter this game rolling after winning four straight, one of which was against the Patriots, who have lost three of their last four matchups.
Will the Bills finally push aside their nemesis when it matters most?
Patriots vs. Bills Game Info
Date/Time: Saturday, Jan. 15, 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
Weather: 1 degree, 10% chance of precipitation, 6-mph winds
Patriots vs. Bills Odds Analysis
The line has remained relatively steady throughout the week, with Bills -4 nearly the consensus. That's not a significant hill for Buffalo to climb in its attempt to cover, especially after such a dominant victory over the Patriots in Week 16. With that memory fresh, there's a hard lean in the total cash wagered and tickets submitted toward the home side, with 69% of the money and 63% of the tickets going to the Bills.
Meanwhile, the total has widely moved up at least one point after opening at 43; it can mostly now be found at 44. The two teams soared past that number in Week 16, scoring 54 points, but went way under during the Week 13 clash in Buffalo that finished with only 24 points. That split has resulted in a divided market, with 58% of the cash coming in on the Over, while the Under is garnering 56% of the tickets.
Patriots Betting Preview
Record: 10-7 straight-up, 10-7 against the spread, 9-8 O/U
Key Players: QB Mac Jones, RB Damien Harris, S Devin McCourty, LB Matt Judon, CB J.C. Jackson
Notable Trend: The Under has hit in eight of the Patriots' last 10 games as underdogs.
The Patriots reloaded quickly without Tom Brady and challenged the Bills for the AFC East crown in 2021-22. The well-coached team is feisty on the road, resulting in a 5-4 ATS record when away from Foxborough. New England also fares well as the underdog and is 3-2 ATS in that role.
The Patriots have played the Bills tight in Buffalo during the post-Brady era. They won 14-10 earlier this season in upstate New York and narrowly lost 24-21 in 2020.
Bills Betting Preview
Record: 11-6 SU, 10-6-1 ATS, 8-9 O/U
Key Players: QB Josh Allen, WR Stefon Diggs, RB Devin Singletary, S Jordan Poyer, DE Gregory Rousseau
Notable Trend: The Bills have won their last seven January games at home.
Despite often benefitting from a frosty weather forecast and a raucous crowd filled with table-busting die-hards, the Bills went a mediocre 4-3-2 ATS at home this season. However, they did record six impressive double-digit wins at Highmark Stadium.
The Bills were favored often as a preseason powerhouse, and they were 7-5-1 ATS as the favorites.
Patriots vs. Bills Picks
Bills -4 (-110 via DraftKings) ★★★★
Over 43 (-110 via DraftKings) ★★★★
Bills to win by 7-12 (+380 via DraftKings) ★★★
Both teams to score 20-plus points (+155 via DraftKings) ★★★★
Rhamondre Stevenson anytime touchdown (+290 via FanDuel) ★★
SEE ALSO: Wild Card Weekend Odds, Lines, and Picks
Patriots vs. Bills Predictions
Bills -4 (-110)
Fans in attendance will need their warmest pair of, well, everything to watch a mid-January playoff game in the bitterly cold north. That could impact the passing game somewhat, as numb fingers can lead to loose grips and dropped balls. But there's nearly no wind expected, and little chance of precipitation.
That's important from a betting perspective, as there won't be significant alterations to game plans, and these teams can remain true to their identities. And in this matchup, that will likely translate to a punishing, physical game won on the ground, which should give the Bills an edge.
These teams boast the top two passing defenses, with the league-leading Bills especially suffocating by allowing only 163 yards per game. Powerful rushing attacks fuel both offenses, but Allen's dynamic presence can again be the difference.
In Week 16, he threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns against New England, all while adding 64 yards on the ground. He's recorded 60-plus rushing yards in three of the Bills' past four games, and Allen went off for 109 yards in Week 14 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their third-ranked run defense.
Allen is the engine that drives the Bills' rushing offense that's averaging 129.9 yards per game, though Singletary is coming alive again, too. He's averaging 81.3 yards per contest during Buffalo's winning streak, and he's scored six times during that stretch.
The Patriots are vulnerable against the run, ranking 22nd in the regular season, which in turn makes them vulnerable against the Bills.
Over 43 (-110)
This game will feature two defenses that thoroughly enjoy landing a solid gutshot to the opposing offense. The Patriots and Bills rank first and second, respectively, after giving up just 17 and 17.8 points per game.
But here's where forecasting the O/U leads to some furrowed eyebrows: Two of the league's best offenses will also be on display during this rivalry clash, with the Bills ranking third (28.4 points) and the Patriots sitting sixth (27.2).
The total will largely depend on which game script prevails, and the answer to that question might lie with the arm and legs of Allen.
A swarming Patriots defense managed to frustrate Allen in Week 13, leading to one of the signal-caller's worst games of the campaign. Allen completed just 50% of his pass attempts en route to averaging 4.8 yards per throw.
But that seems like an eternity ago, both in terms of Allen's play against the Patriots and what he's been doing overall as a runner.
The Bills can control the clock through their rushing offense, but they'll still reel off plenty of explosive plays against a rushing defense coughing up 123.7 yards per game. Toss in the Patriots reliably still scoring, and there's a clear recipe for the Over to hit.
Bills to win By 7-12 (+380)
The Bills don't just win. They pulverize everything in sight.
Their 11 wins this campaign came by an average of 22.1 points. That includes two 35-plus point shutouts.
Of course, several of those triumphs came against the sewer-dwelling teams of the AFC. But the Bills still recorded convincing victories over the Kansas City Chiefs (38-20) and Patriots (33-21). They were also down 24-3 at halftime against the defending champion Buccaneers before scoring 24 second-half points to send the contest to overtime.
When the Bills score, they do a whole lot of it. If anything then, this play is conservative while taking into account some weather impact and the general intensity of the playoffs. If you're feeling more daring and/or confident when making Patriots-Bills picks, DraftKings is offering +550 on a Bills win by 13-18 points.
Both Teams to score 20-plus points (+155)
The Patriots may have stumbled to end the season, but they were still averaging 28 points scored in their past four outings. New England was scorching-hot prior to that, producing 32.1 points per matchup during a seven-game winning streak.
Meanwhile, there were only four games during the 2020-21 campaign when Buffalo failed to score 20-plus points
Rhamondre Stevenson anytime touchdown (+290)
Harris is rightfully getting much of the attention, as he's white-hot and regularly strutting into the end zone (eight touchdowns over his last five games and 13 overall in 2021-22). But he's still in a committee in the Patriots' backfield with Stevenson, and Belichick has historically been sporadic with how he uses his running backs.
Stevenson has received double-digit carries in three of his last four games, and he's only one contest removed from notching his second two-touchdown afternoon of the season. He may not receive quite as many opportunities as Harris, but Stevenson is well-positioned to capitalize on his chances against a defense that allowed 19 rushing touchdowns (tied for fourth-worst).
Combine that with Harris' much shorter anytime TD odds at +135, and a play on Stevenson is well worth some gumball machine money in our Patriots-Bills picks.
Patriots-Bills picks made on 1/10/2022 at 7:37 p.m. ET