The New England Patriots (10-7) and Buffalo Bills (11-6) will square off once again on Saturday for the third time since the beginning of December. After spitting their season series, these two AFC East rivals will meet up in the playoffs for the first time in 58 years.
The game will take place in Buffalo by virtue of the Bills winning the AFC East for the second year in a row. The Patriots won there during Week 13, however, in a game that was impacted by heavy winds. New England went 6-2 on the road this season, while Buffalo was 6-3 at home.
Will Mac Jones deliver in his first career postseason start? How will Josh Allen and co. fare in their first playoff game against Bill Belichick‘s Patriots? Let’s dive in to find out.
Please note that all NFL Wild Card odds and lines are current as of 4:30 p.m. EST on Friday, January 14.
Patriots vs Bills Prediction AFC Wild Card Playoffs
From a statistical perspective, these are arguably the two best teams in the AFC.
For starters, the Patriots and Bills are the top two teams in the conference in point differential, Football Outsiders’ DVOA, and EPA per play allowed on defense.
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Both teams excel on the defensive end, largely thanks to their outstanding secondaries. They were the top two teams this year in fewest points and passing yards allowed.
Their offenses operate quite differently, however. New England is a run-first team that throws the ball when it needs to, while Buffalo features an explosive aerial attack but lacks a consistent ground game.
Given the situation, the Patriots appear to have the edge here. Buffalo was much less effective at stopping the run than New England was at stopping the pass this season. And while Jones isn’t on Allen’s level as a passer, he’s highly accurate and limits his mistakes.
Additionally, Saturday’s temperature in Buffalo is expected to be in the single digits, which will make passing difficult. Back the Patriots to win another low-scoring, bad-weather game against the Bills.
Prediction: Patriots 20, Bills 18
Per EPA per play, the Bills were one of the top passing teams in the NFL, but the Patriots weren’t too far behind while boasting a superior run game. (Image: rbsdm.com)
Patriots vs Bills Best Bets
Best Bet: Patriots +4.5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
Even if the Patriots don’t pull out a win on Saturday, this line on our NFL gameday odds is still ridiculous. It’s too many points for a gritty, low-total playoff game in cold weather between divisional opponents.
Since 2003, road underdogs of seven or fewer points are 28-14-1 ATS in the Wild Card round. Belichick is also a god when coaching as an underdog, going 30-15-2 ATS as a regular-season underdog and covering by an average of six points per game.
- Check out our full NFL Wild Card Best Bets
Meanwhile, the Bills are just 1-3 ATS in the playoffs since Allen became the starter. They also went just 4-4 ATS at home this season.
I absolutely love grabbing +3.5 or better here. Regardless of who wins, this game will almost certainly be decided by a field goal.
Check out more of our Patriots vs Bills Predictions
Best Bet: Under 44 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 0.5 Units
I like this play significantly less. But, if I had to make a play on the total, it would be the Under.
As mentioned, both teams are defensive-minded. Both coaches are also super familiar with each other. Belichick and Sean McDermott know what the other wants to do on offense and have the defensive personnel to stop it.
It’s a similar story across the NFL. From Week 11 through the Conference Championship games, divisional Unders have historically hit above a 60% clip.
Meanwhile, Belichick-led teams have been Under machines on the road. Since the 2016 season, the Patriots have hit the Under in 32 of their 48 games away from Foxborough.
If you’re thinking about betting on the total, take the Under for our NFL bet of the day.
Tanner McGrath’s 2021 NFL Betting Record: 22-18, +1.25 Units
Thank you for reading our Patriots vs Bills NFL Playoffs Predictions! For more NFL betting tips, check out our NFL Power Rankings.