Broncos vs. Bills Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds: Why This Matchup Is Closer Than Records Indicate
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Josh Allen (17)
- Is there any value on the Denver Broncos as road underdogs against the Buffalo Bills?
- Our experts analyze this Week 12 matchup, complete with betting odds and expert picks.
- You'll also find analysis of the biggest mismatch and Sean Koerner's projected spread below.
Broncos at Bills Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds
- Odds: Bills -4
- Over/Under: 37.5
- Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: CBS
Odds as of Thursday evening.
The Denver Broncos are drawing fewer than 50% of spread tickets as of Thursday evening but 65% of the money, moving from 5.5- to 4-point underdogs against the Buffalo Bills as a result — an indication that pro bettors could be backing Vic Fangio’s squad.
But can you really trust them to cover an increasingly smaller number after last week, when they blew a 20-point lead against the Vikings?
Our experts analyze every angle of this matchup from a betting perspective, featuring staff picks and Sean Koerner’s projected odds.
Broncos-Bills Injury Report
Which team is healthier? Bills
The Bills remain a fairly healthy team, but there’s one injury to note. Jerry Hughes (groin) hasn’t practiced this week, which is worrisome since he grades out as their third-best defensive lineman and second-best pass-rusher.
The Broncos’ offensive line could be in trouble as Connor McGovern (back) and Dalton Risner (ankle) haven’t practiced — they’re two of the best pass-blockers on the team, combining to allow just one sack this season. — Justin Bailey
Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.
Broncos Rush Defense vs. Bills Rush Offense
Not only are these two teams similarly rated, they’re mirrors of each other. It’s almost scary.
Both have quarterbacks with the last name Allen who are limited when it comes to throwing downfield (though have quality No. 1 receivers with John Brown in Buffalo and Courtland Sutton in Denver).
Both teams are also getting absolutely outstanding safety play and have a lockdown corners: Chris Harris Jr. for the Broncos and Tre’Davious White for the Bills.
However, the one glaring difference between these two teams is the quality of their run defense.
The Bills run defense has been extremely poor all season when you adjust for their opponents. They’re allowing 4.4 yards per carry, which ranks 19th in the league. But their schedule has been incredibly easy — they’ve benefited from two games against Miami’s historically bad rushing offense. When you adjust for opponent, the struggles are even more evident. Per Football Outsiders, Buffalo ranks 27th in rush defense DVOA.
Meanwhile, the Broncos defense — which has been one of the most underrated units this season — ranks sixth in that same measure. Denver is allowing only 3.9 yards per carry, which ranks seventh in the NFL.
In matchup of two offenses that rank 22nd and 23rd overall DVOA — including 10th and 11th in rush offense and 24th and 26th in pass offense — the difference is in the quality of the run defense, which favors Denver substantially. And I ultimately think that will help the Broncos have more success controlling the ball and clock.
Look for a big day from Phillip Lindsay, specifically. — Stuckey
Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds
- Projected Spread: Bills -4
- Projected Total: 36.5
Brandon Allen looked on his way to becoming 2-0 in his first two career starts as the Broncos took a 20-0 lead into halftime. However, the Vikings mounted an incredible comeback to pull off the win.
It’s clear that the Broncos haven’t dropped much if at all by going from Joe Flacco to Allen. I had mentioned this likely being the case heading into Allen’s first start due to the Broncos being a run-heavy team with a solid defense. This is exactly why a matchup against the Bills is a great spot for Denver. The Bills are a run funnel defense that the Broncos should be able to exploit with Lindsay and Royce Freeman.
Getting four points in a game that’s expected to be low-scoring gives each point that much more value. The Broncos +4 is a lean here. — Sean Koerner
Stuckey: Broncos +4
The Broncos are 3-7 and out of playoff contention while Bills are 7-3 and currently sitting fifth in the AFC as of Thursday evening. But let’s not go crazy about this Buffalo team, which has benefited from one of the easiest schedules in the NFL.
Look no further than the Bills’ hysterically-low strength of victory of .214! That means the teams they’ve beat have a combined win percentage of 21.4%.
Two of their wins have come against the Dolphins and four of their other five came against the Jets, Giants, Bengals and Redskins. The Bills’ only good win came in Tennessee when Marcus Mariota was still under center for the Titans. The Bills also benefited from four missed field goals in that seven-point victory.
The Bills are just an average AFC team. So are the Broncos.
Despite the record discrepancy, these two teams are essentially even in my book. Not only have the Broncos played the much tougher schedule, they’ve lost three to four games they easily could’ve won. Don’t be fooled by the records here — take the four points with the road dog.