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Bills vs. Bengals Odds, Playoff Implications: Why MNF Is the Biggest Game of NFL Season So Far

Bills vs. Bengals Odds, Playoff Implications: Why MNF Is the Biggest Game of NFL Season So Far article feature image
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Picture by Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Allen, Devin Singletary. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Bills vs. Bengals Odds

Bills Odds -1.5 (-105)
Bengals Odds +1.5 (-115)
Over/Under 49.5
Date Monday, Jan. 2
Time 8:30 p.m. ET
Channel ESPN

*Odds via FanDuel as of Wednesday morning

Bills vs. Bengals on Monday Night Football is the biggest game of the season so far.

It’s a dynamic matchup between the No. 1 and No. 7 teams in the NFL, according to DVOA, sure. Buffalo is riding a six game winning streak while Cincy has taken seven straight, yes. And the betting markets consider this contest a virtual coin flip, of course.

But this game will also calcify which team will have the inside track to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this season — and which team the markets will favor to do so.

With a win against Cincinnati, the Bills just need a victory at home against the Patriots next weekend to lock up home-field advantage in the squally Western New York winter.

On the other side, the Bengals vault themselves from the No. 3 seed into the No. 1 spot with a win and a Chiefs loss in either Week 17 or 18. A Cincy win over the Ravens next week would clinch that poll position and a clean route to back-to-back AFC championships.

Since the playoffs expanded to seven teams per conference for the 2020 season, only the No. 1 seed has received a bye during the Wild Card Round. Prior to that year, teams with the No. 2 seed also received a bye heading into the Divisional Round.

Since 2009, teams with a bye have won 73% of their games (35-13) in the divisional round.

AFC Championship and NFC Championship home teams that had byes have reached the Super Bowl 68% of the time (23-11). In all but four of those contests, they’ve been sturdy favorites to do so.

You get the picture. It’s obvious enough — home-field advantage and rest, especially during the playoffs, is massive. Teams with those privileges tend to get out of their conferences as champions.

All these factors make up for a titanic matchup on primetime.

The Bills are -110 favorites at FanDuel to snag the No. 1 seed.

Pick: Bills to Win the No. 1 Seed in the AFC

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The Bengals are third-favorites at +650, while the Chiefs are lurking at +120.

Pick: Bengals to Win the No. 1 Seed in the AFC


Betting Notes for Bills vs. Bengals

The Bills have been given their worst spread of the season so far at -1.5 points, though they’re priced as -1 favorites — or even as a pick ’em — at some sportsbooks.

As of Wednesday morning, the Bills are -116 favorites on the moneyline at FanDuel.

If the Bills were to close as underdogs, it would mean all 32 NFL teams will have been dogs this season. Previously, the worst the market had thought of Buffalo was on opening day, when they were just -2 favorites over the Rams. The Bills won that game 31-10.

The Bills have been Super Bowl favorites since Week 14, when they overtook the Chiefs as the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Buffalo had been preseason favorites to win it all, too.

These tidbits are courtesy of Evan Abrams, the Action Network’s director of research.

Buffalo road games have been 7-1 on the under this season, going under by 9.3 points per game. The Bills went over on the road for the first time this season when they did so against the Bears last week.

While the Bengals’ defense ranks just No. 14 in DVOA, they do rank No. 9 in points allowed per game at just 20.4 per contest.

But those types of defenses are Josh Allen’s bread and butter — especially against the spread. Allen is 14-6-1 ATS versus defenses that allow below 21 points per game.

Even so, January road games — over an incredibly small sample size — haven’t been as kind to Allen and the Bills. The franchise quarterback has gone 0-3 straight up and ATS on the road in January. Note that two of those three games have come against the Chiefs in the playoffs.

Picture by Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Burrow.
(Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the Bengals are +750 to win the Super Bowl, their shortest odds of the season.

The Bengals’ best market price for the moneyline in Week 17 as of Wednesday morning is with DraftKings at +105.

If you’re confident that Joe Burrow’s betting streaks continue, this might be a good time for you to cash in.

Burrow is — unbelievably — 19-3 against the spread over his last 22 starts. The Bengals have been the most profitable team ATS over the last two seasons, which includes the playoffs.

As for their seven-game win streak, the Bengals have covered each of those contests, too.

The last time Cincinnati won and covered at least six straight games? In 1988. That season, they made the Super Bowl.

Burrow has done especially well in cold temperatures. With five days to go until Monday Night Football, current projections are subject to change, but the forecasts project roughly 50 to 55 degree temperatures in Cincinnati on the night of Jan. 2.

Burrow has been 11-2 straight up and 12-1 ATS in temperatures 50 degrees or less over his NFL career. When it’s 40 degrees or less, he’s 4-0 ATS and straight up.

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