Monday Night Football Picks Week 16: Bills vs Patriots
Before we get into breaking down the upcoming Buffalo/New England game on Monday night, I need to talk about what it’s like as a handicapper to put your research and methods in motion and to come up with a wager that you believe is going to cash for you. I wrote 900 words last week on why and how the Steelers are going to bounce-back against the Bengals and throttle them. I went through my usual methods and believed that the Steelers, despite laying almost two-touchdowns on the road to a division rival, were the right play.
The only thing I didn’t take into consideration when recommending the Steelers was my own eyes. I urge all handicappers and bettors to trust what you see. With the amount of data and stats and trends available to us in the year 2020, we can skew the numbers any which way to fit our narrative and bias. Trusting our eyes and what we actually see should allow us to see things without any bias. The Steelers, losers of two-straight, with an offense that can’t run the football or throw the ball more than 10 yards down field, should not have been trusted, even against a terrible Bengals team. I talked myself into how and why the Steelers need to win this game for morale, but I missed the fact that my own eyes saw a struggling team with little help on the way. In this handicapping business, we learn from our mistakes and we try not to make them again.
Moving on to this week, it’s the final Monday Night Football game, and it features an AFC East matchup between the division-winning Bills and the Patriots, who are set to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Bills vs Patriots Betting Story Lines
The Buffalo Bills showed up in a major way last week against the Broncos and took care of business by thrashing the Broncos and clinching the AFC East for the first time in 25 years. This game should be a letdown game for the team, and it would be if they were playing an opponent not named New England. The Bills have already beaten the Patriots once this year and would love nothing more than to rub salt in the wounds of Pats Nation after years of suffering courtesy of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Not to mention, the Pats are going to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008, so there is no better time for the Bills to try and get some payback. As a team, the Bills have been humming on offense to the tune of 33 points per game over their last four games (all wins). The defense has stepped up in a big way during that span, giving up more than 20 points just once. The Bills defense should have no issues containing a terrible Patriots offense that’s among the worst in the league in every major category.
As for the Patriots, their season has been an unmitigated disaster by their lofty standards, but nobody should be surprised as Belichick set the expectations low in September following a bunch of opt-outs due to COVID. Nonetheless, there was a little bit of optimism surrounding what Cam Newton brings to the table, and he’s failed badly. The Patriots rank 24th in yards per game, 30th in passing yards per game and 27th in points per game. Newton has been an ok runner of the ball, but nothing more. It also doesn’t help that the Patriots receiving corps is among the worst units in the league. It’s going to be a while before the Patriots will be an elite team once again.
Bills at Patriots Betting Odds and Trends
This game opened up as Bills -4, but most sportsbooks are now offering the Bills -7 (-110) while the total rose a point from 44.5 to 45.5. On the moneyline, the Bills are between -320 to -340, while the Patriots are between +260 to +285. If your feeling crazy, the alternate lines offer up plenty of value as the Bills on the alternate lines are -10.5 (+130), -13.5 (+190), or you can take New England -3.5 for a solid +333 payout. The Bills are 9-5 ATS after thrashing the Broncos last week. They come into this game on a 9-4 ATS run as a favorite and an 11-4-2 ATS run in their last 17 road games. The Patriots are 6-6 ATS after falling to the Dolphins on Sunday. They come into this game on a 1-3-1 ATS run in their last five December games and 1-3-2 ATS in their last six games vs the Bills.
Bills at Patriots Football Betting Predictions
This is a lot of points to be laying on the road with a prime-time road favorite. However, given the circumstances, I’d be dumb not to go with the better team here. The Bills have been playing lights out football on both sides of the ball. The fact they won the division last week doesn’t deter me as they’ve got bigger goals for this regular season, and that’s staying ahead of Pittsburgh for the No. 2 seed and securing a better playoff matchup. The Patriots are just playing out the final two regular-season games with little motivation, and two losses to end the year would only help their draft selection for the upcoming season.
Play: Bills -7
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