Lions-Bills Betting Preview: Two Bad Teams, One Low Total
Rich Barnes, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Josh Allen
Betting odds: Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills
- Spread: Bills -2.5
- Over/Under: 39.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
>> All odds as of Friday afternoon. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: The Bills are surprisingly seeing an onslaught of cash money. The line opened at a PK, but Buffalo moved to -2.5 and briefly hit -3 before some buyback on the Lions pushed it back down to -2.5.
The over has been a very popular and sharp pick, which is also pretty surprising. With more than 70% of bets and 88% of dollars at the time of writing, the total has risen from 38 to 39.5 since opening (see live betting data here). — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: The Bills have a worse record but are the betting favorites. Since 2003, teams with a losing record favored against an opponent with more wins have gone 246-214-14 (54%) against the spread, including 163-136-11 (55%) ATS when facing a non-divisional opponent. — John Ewing
What a bad spot this is for Matthew Stafford and the Lions…
Detroit defeated Arizona, 17-3, last week for its third double-digit win of the season. In Stafford’s career, he has played 25 games coming off a double-digit win, and he is 7-16-2 ATS (30.4%), failing to cover the spread by 4.2 PPG and losing bettors 8.9 units.
The Bills allow just 185.8 yards per game through the air, No. 1 in the NFL. In Stafford’s career, he has faced a defense allowing fewer than 200 passing yards per game 17 times and he is 4-13 ATS (23.5%), failing to cover the spread by 7.2 PPG, the least profitable QB in Bet Labs (-9.3 units). — Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Bills pass defense vs. Lions pass offense
Last week, the Cardinals showed that Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay can be taken out of the game when shadowed by a top-notch corner.
In Week 14, Golladay ran 60.0% of his routes against Patrick Peterson, who held him to zero targets in his coverage. On the other 40.0% of his routes, Golladay managed a 2-5-0 receiving line on four targets.
Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White isn’t quite as good as Peterson, but he’s done fine work this year in shadowing Davante Adams (Week 4), DeAndre Hopkins (Week 6), T.Y. Hilton (Week 7) and Josh Gordon (Week 8), and for his career he’s allowed a catch rate of just 50%.
White figures to match up against Golladay for the majority of his routes, and overall the Bills rank third in pass-defense DVOA. They should be able to neutralize Golladay, and the rest of the Lions’ wide receivers are of little concern, especially with Marvin Jones (knee, IR) out.
And the Lions passing attack hasn’t been the same since the team traded away longtime wide receiver Golden Tate in Week 9. The team’s 2018 per-game splits without him are horrible.
- With Tate (Weeks 1-8): 24.4 points, 275.1 passing yards, two passing touchdowns
- Without Tate (Weeks 9-14): 16.7 points, 212.5 passing yards, 0.67 passing touchdowns
Against such a feckless passing game, the Bills defense should dominate. — Matthew Freedman
Which team is healthier? Bills
LeSean McCoy (hamstring) is shaping up as a game-time decision for Sunday. His absence would likely result in a committee between Chris Ivory and Marcus Murphy.
The Lions have a few additional concerns to worry about, as none of slot receiver Bruce Ellington (hamstring), running back Kerryon Johnson (knee) nor right tackle Rick Wagner (concussion) are guaranteed to suit up.
DFS edge: Patrick Peterson wound up tracking Kenny Golladay on 60% of his routes last week, but alas, Stafford had fourth-fewest pass attempts in a single game of his entire career (23).
Golladay’s two receptions for five-scoreless yards on four targets was a firm reminder that anybody involved in one of the league’s worst offenses will carry a frighteningly-low weekly floor.
This week’s matchup won’t be much easier for Golladay, as White has emerged as one of the league’s brightest young stars at the cornerback position. Overall, he’s held each of Keenan Allen (6-67-0), Stefon Diggs (4-17-0), Davante Adams (8-81-0), Corey Davis (4-49-0) and Josh Gordon (4-42-0).
The Bills’ third-ranked defense in both overall and pass DVOA isn’t a unit to target in general, especially not with the Lions’ slow-paced and low-scoring offense. Only the Redskins-Jaguars’ matchup currently has a lower over/under.– Ian Hartitz
Bet to watch: Lions +2.5 & Lions Moneyline +115
This isn’t exactly the marquee game of the week but it is the best value on the board according to the Bet Labs simulations. A few weeks ago the Bills were the laughing stock of the league and for some reason they are now getting some respect from the betting market.
Giving 4.5 points to the Jets last week was too much and the numbers say the Lions should be small road favorites this week.
I am still holding out hope that this line gets to the key number of three points, but I will also have some money on the Lions moneyline for the outright win. — Travis Reed
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.