Both the Buffalo Bills (7-6) and Carolina Panthers (5-8) head into their Week 15 matchup off the back of defeats, but make no mistake, they came in two very different fashions.
The Bills may not be quite the Super Bowl contender we thought they were a number of weeks ago, but they battled back from a 24-3 halftime deficit to force overtime in an eventual 33-27 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Meanwhile, the Panthers lost 29-21 to the reeling Atlanta Falcons in a game which featured yet another quarterback change from Cam Newton to P.J. Walker. In fact, head coach Matt Rhule may now be planning to platoon both of these guys on Sunday (wait, what?).
With all that in mind, let’s dig into our NFL Week 15 Panthers vs Bills prediction and best bets.
Please note that all NFL gameday odds are current as of 12 PM EST on Friday, December 17.
Panthers vs Bills Prediction
The Panthers offense is hard to watch. With running back Christian McCaffrey done for the year and Carolina also potentially missing wide receiver D.J. Moore (hamstring) on Sunday, how does this team plan to score?
That’s a legitimate question.
If Moore is out, the Panthers’ No. 1 receiving option will be Robby Anderson, who has been a massive disappointment in the stats department.
It’s also not like you can trust Newton to get him the ball down the field, either. Newton had a moment of glory a few weeks ago against the Arizona Cardinals, but has also been hard to watch since then.
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The saving grace for the Panthers is that they have some excellent defensive players. Carolina ranks just outside the top-10 in coverage and pass rush, per PFF’s grading system.
The defense should help contain the Bills’ offense somewhat to help the Panthers avoid a massive blowout, but the expected lopsided scoreline also provides an opportunity for the Bills to try to find a spark in their non-existent running game.
This one probably won’t be pretty.
Prediction: Bills 27, Panthers 10
Panthers vs Bills Best Bets
Best Bet: Bills -10.5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
You could tell me that the Bills will only score 14 points in this game and I still wouldn’t be shocked if they covered this number.
The Panthers have some bright spots on defense, but the Bills have a bonafide defense that is one of the best in the league.
Considering the combination of Buffalo’s defensive prowess and this scary (in a bad way) Carolina offense, I’m not sure how the Panthers score much, if at all.
This past week against Atlanta, which has one of the worst coverage units in the league, the Newton/Walker tandem completed 21-of-35 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
Newton also scored on the ground, but now translate that performance to how you think it’ll go against one of the best defenses in the league. This is going to be a rough game for the Panthers as they continue to ascend in the NFL Draft order.
I’m laying the points with the Bills as my NFL pick of the day.
Best Bet: Under 44.5 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 0.5 Units
It’s quite possible the Bills make up the most of this, but realistically speaking, the Panthers’ defense should do enough to prevent the Bills from reaching the 30s.
The Bills should also play the majority of this game with the lead, which will allow them to try to get their running game going—something that will be key as they venture into the postseason.
For the Panthers, again, if they score beyond 14 points, that will be quite surprising.
Without much help from the Panthers, I just cannot foresee this total going over unless the Bills hit a number of splash plays and venture into the mid-30s.
Richard’s 2021 NFL Team vs Team Betting Record: 9-10 (+1.15 Units)