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Bills vs Patriots Odds, Pick, Prediction: NFL Week 18 Betting Preview

Bills vs Patriots Odds, Pick, Prediction: NFL Week 18 Betting Preview article feature image
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Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: Bills players celebrating.

  • The Bills are big favorites in Week 18 against the Patriots.
  • New England needs to win to make the playoffs, while Buffalo can clinch the AFC's No. 2 seed.
  • John LanFranca previews the game and makes his Bills vs. Patriots pick below.

I don’t believe there is any proper way to handicap the Buffalo’s emotions properly in examining the Bills vs. Patriots odds after the traumatic experience of Monday Night Football.

Predicting how a group of individuals will respond to something like what happened to Damar Hamlin is virtually impossible. Instead, as usual, I will break down how these teams have performed this season.

We have a large enough sample size of the post-Tom Brady era in New England to put to bed the narrative Bill Belichick has some tremendous edge over the field. In his career, Belichick is 50% against the spread (ATS) without Brady, compared to 59.5% with Brady.

Specifically against the Bills, the Patriots have struggled mightily, failing to cover four of their last five meetings. That only cover came in a game with abnormally strong winds.

Disregarding the game greatly altered by wind, this Josh Allen-led offense has averaged 35.2 points per game against the Patriots in its past four meetings. I once again expect the Bills to have the advantage en route to another great performance.

Bills vs. Patriots Odds

Sunday, Jan. 8
1 p.m. ET
CBS
Bills Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-110
-110o / -110u
-400
Patriots Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-110
-110o / -110u
+315
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Bills vs. Patriots Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Bills and Patriots match up statistically:

Bills vs. Patriots DVOA Breakdown
Offense
Defense
Edge
Overall DVOA 26 4
Pass DVOA 24 9
Rush DVOA 25 3
Offense
Defense
Edge
Overall DVOA 2 3
Pass DVOA 2 2
Rush DVOA 11 8

Despite Allen averaging only 223 passing yards per game — with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions over the past seven — this offense still ranks fourth in total offensive DVOA since Week 10.

One reason for that is the Bills’ newfound success on the ground. Over the first nine weeks of the season, the Bills ranked 15th in rush offense DVOA, with Devin Singletary clearing 60 rushing yards in a single game only twice. Since then, the Bills are seventh in rush offense DVOA, with Singletary rushing for more than 60 yards on three occasions, while rookie James Cook has added three such performances himself.


Bet New England vs. Buffalo at FanDuel


When these teams met back in Week 13, Cook and Singletary combined for 27 carries and 115 rushing yards, which helped the Bills dominate time of possession 38:08 to 21:52.

The Bills implemented a run-heavy game plan against the Patriots partly because they were missing their best offensive lineman in Dion Dawkins, who boasts a 97.3% efficiency rating in pass sets this season. Dawkins is a major difference-maker in a game in which Buffalo will need to slow down Josh Uche and Matthew Judon.

The Patriots have a 8.6% adjusted sack rate, which is fourth best. The Bills’ ability to protect Allen and run the ball on early downs will be key.

I’m optimistic the Bills offense will be able to put themselves in good down-and-distance situations, as the Patriots defense is around league average defending the run on first down. The shorter the distance needed to convert, the less time the Patriots’ edge rushers will have to get to Allen, and with Dawkins back in the fold, I’m not so sure they will.

When the Patriots have the football, it won’t be pretty.

Mac Jones has averaged only 5.4 yards per attempt in four career games against the Bills. Since Week 11, the Patriots offense ranks 22nd in DVOA, failing to reach 20 points in three of seven games played over that span. In the games in which they did reach 20, they did it against defenses ranked 17th (Dolphins), 24th (Cardinals), 25th (Vikings) and 31st (Raiders) in total defensive DVOA on the season, according to Football Outsiders.

The key to Jones playing well has always been the Patriots’ ability to protect him. Jones has a 99.1 passer rating when kept clean, but that number tanks to an abysmal 40.3 when he faces pressure. New England ranks 17th in the league in pass block win rate at 60%, while the Bills defense ranks ninth at pass rush win rate. 

You may be wondering how the loss of Von Miller has impacted the Bills pass defense. Well, in the first 11 weeks of the season, the Bills had a -7.0% DVOA, good for seventh. Since then, a -3.8% DVOA, a slight dip to eighth. 

The Bills’ red-zone defense is the best in the NFL, while the Patriots rank 22nd. When the Bills defense is in the friendly confines of Orchard Park, their red-zone defense has been historically great, allowing a touchdown only 31.2% of the time. I have a hard time seeing the Patriots topping their team total (17.5).

Betting Picks

The Patriots are 2-6 ATS as underdogs this season and will be entering an environment no team yearns to play in. Allen has covered 57% of his games at home since 2020 and this matchup is ripe for another dominant Bills performance.

Lay the points with the home team.

Pick: Bills -7.5 | Play to -8

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