The Buffalo Bills are looking up at the Miami Dolphins in the AFC East standings, but it’s another division rival who could make the distance from which they gaze even greater (if that foe can pull off the upset win on Thursday Night Football).
My Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots prediction may put the Bills Mafia into a frenzy, which has me warily looking at the tables in my house. The unfortunate reality is that the Patriots have a real shot to win this game on Thursday. The Bills’ offense has been slightly slowing down, and the Patriots sport a defense that has the potential to bring it to a halt.
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Prediction and Odds | Week 13
- Spread: Patriots +3.5
- Moneyline: Patriots +158
- Over/Under: Under 43.5
Bills vs. Patriots Prediction
The Behavior Bets sports betting model closed out November on a high note. According to the tracking stats on what I personally consider to be the best bet tracking app on the market, Pikkit, since October 1st, the model has a 66-31-4 record with a +55.6u profit.
This Buffalo vs. New England prediction, however, involves two teams with data and trends that make this projection quite the challenge for the model and is likely a game I would personally stay away from. I don’t love the Bills vs. Patriots odds and what it means relative to what the model is projecting.
The Patriots’ defense was on a pretty unsustainable trend path in terms of points allowed prior to last week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. In fact, in my piece previewing that game, I said the issue wasn’t if they would fall off that path, but when?
Well, it was last week against the Vikings, a contest in which New England gave up 33 points. Before that, they had an incredible week-over-week decay rate of 58%. This means they were giving up 58% fewer points each week than the week before. There was no way they could keep up that pace.
Against the Vikings, the defense technically only gave up 26 points, as the special teams unit allowed a kick return touchdown. Those are plays you cannot predict, given their rarity. But still, over the previous two weeks, the Patriot defense had given up a combined six points. Quite the difference.
This does, however, give me slightly more confidence in this week’s projection since the 33-point allowance brings things a bit back into balance. The team is still trending in giving up fewer points week over week, but at a more sustainable 33% decay rate (though still likely not sustainable).
The challenge this week? They are going against a Bills offense that has begun to show some stability. After several weeks of slowing down in terms of scoring points, they have rebounded, with four of their last five games seeing above 27 points. Two of those games saw point totals in the 30s.
Josh Allen has been carrying half of the offense, but not with his arm. His rushing ability has essentially been the Bills’ entire rushing offense, and it has been the precipice for this turnaround.
The question is: can he sustain that? History says probably not. The later into the season we get, the more teams begin to figure out how to shut down a quarterback’s running lanes. This will put even more pressure on the receiving corps, led by Stefon Diggs, to produce and find ways to get open despite the absence of a rushing attack.
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While the offense has stabilized, it is still declining week over week slightly at a 5% decay rate. Added to that, Josh Allen is 3-4 all-time against Bill Belichick, who this season has had 13 weeks to study the Bills quarterback before having to play him.
That amount of lead time for one of the greatest strategists in league history, already sporting a top-notch defense, could be a massive factor in this Bills vs. Patriots outcome, even if Allen has won the last three out of four matchups.
Adding to the potential challenges for the Bills is that their defense has been trending in the absolute wrong direction. After a dominating start to the season, they have given up 20 or more points in four out of their last five games. They surrendered 30 points in that span. On paper, you see how much their 15+ points per game average is aided by their early-season success.
Since the bye week, their average points allowed per game has increased by 55% to 23+ points allowed per game. They are also seeing a 58% growth rate week over week in that five-game time span. Adding to their concerns on that side of the ball, star edge rusher and key offseason addition Von Miller is out for this game with a knee injury suffered last week against the Detroit Lions.
This bodes well for a Patriots offense, led by Mac Jones, who no one would characterize as a powerhouse by any means. However, the Patriots have shown continued improvement week over week in their ability to get faster at scoring points. Through their first 11 games, they have achieved a growth rate of 13% week over week.
While they are averaging fewer than 20 points per game, they have scored 20 or more points in seven of their last nine games. The 26 points they scored last week against the Vikings could have been more if not for some untimely penalties on defense that robbed them of extra possessions. They seem to be getting better at just the right time for this matchup, just as the Bills may be going through some struggles.
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The Bills and Patriots are going to be locked in a close game that will certainly impact the outcome of the race for the AFC East. So close, in fact, that I’m wary of betting it, given the different trends at play. However, the model projects a New England upset at home against Buffalo, and if you feel so inclined, that may be enough value to be worth taking the risk. It is the most likely trend I would place my bet on.
Bills vs. Patriots Prediction: Bills 19, Patriots 23