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NFL Live Betting Week 13: How We’re Live Betting Bills-Patriots on Thursday Night Football

NFL Live Betting Week 13: How We’re Live Betting Bills-Patriots on Thursday Night Football article feature image
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Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images. Pictured: Stefon Diggs (center-right), Jonathan Jones (left).

Thursday Night Football for Week 13 brings us Bills-Patriots. The odds on this game had tightened a bit pregame, with the Bills favored by 3.5 points in most books.

That meant we did need to be prepared for a close game — and perhaps even a Patriots lead — when preparing for live betting scenarios. Still, the most likely situation was the Bills controlling this one, so that’s where our primary focus was coming in.

Fortunately, either case provided us with live betting edges, so we were going to be able to find value no matter how this game played out. As always, we’ll update this piece once our bets are made, and you can also follow along in the Action Network App for real time alerts.

Here’s how we’re live betting Bills-Patriots on Thursday Night Football.

The Live Bet We’ve Already Made on Thursday Night Football

Unders in a Close Game or Bills Lead

Both the likeliest and most valuable scenario revolved around betting the unders.

This one projected to play slower in the second half than the first, and both teams feature top-10 defenses by DVOA. Therefore, we were strongly leaning toward the under if the game — and the betting line — allowed it.

With the total set at 43.5 pregame, a higher scoring quarter or two could push it closer to 50. Naturally, if we’re betting this, we want a line better than the opening number. We also want a scenario other than “Bills playing catch up.” Buffalo ranks third in passing offense by DVOA, but 17th in rushing offense, while New England features a top-10 rushing defense.

The gist here is that besides the pace splits — which point to a slower game unless Buffalo falls behind — we’re trying to avoid situations that force the Bills to attack through the air.

And a little over midway through the second quarter, we got exactly what we’re looking for. The Bills went up by 10, with the total now up to 50.5 (-104 at FanDuel). There’s been a decent amount of scoring, but the pace has been slower than expected, with a lot of rushing from the Bills despite the high score. We probably won’t see the line go much higher than this, with the Bills able to play ball control for the foreseeable future.

The Other Live Bets We Were Watching For on Thursday Night Football

Overs With a Patriots Lead

This one is more straightforward. As outlined above, Buffalo should be far more efficient throwing the ball than running it. Besides that, all of the pace stats set up nicely as well.

New England ranks 27th in overall pace and 21st or slower in every scenario — except when leading by seven or more. Which isn’t to say that they speed up, just that they slow down less than the average team.

Buffalo plays fairly quickly across the board, but they rank second in close games and third when trailing. Compare that to their ninth-ranked pace when leading, and these scenarios make a lot of sense together.

As always, we’ll be looking for a lower total than open, or a big Patriots lead. Those factors are on a sliding scale as well, so a bigger Patriots lead means more line flexibility.

Unlike the above, we’ll be a bit more patient on the trigger here. We want to make sure the Patriots have the lead for more than a possession or so before placing a bet.

Look for this one around halftime (or later) if the Patriots are up at least seven and have the ball, or if they go up two or more touchdowns.

Player Props

The clear scenarios based on the score of this game also set up nicely for player props. A faster game correlates with more passing production, while a slower one usually means more rushing.

My favorite angle here is unders on Bills passing props if they control the game. This game should be played in relatively cold and windy conditions, and there’s a chance Allen is pulled early if the game gets out of hand.

Of course, “Dr. Nick” has us in capable hands when looking at player props. At halftime of Thursday and Monday Night Football each week, my predictive analytics colleague Nick Giffen is live on “Bet What Happens Live With Dr. Nick!”

How We Approach Live Betting in General

The NFL is perfect for live betting, with the pauses between plays providing plenty of time to get bets in. This season, I’ve built a model to project the pace of play under a variety of in-game scenarios. These include first vs. second half, as well as which team is leading or when the game is within a touchdown.

The primary benefit is for betting totals. If the game is going to be faster or slower than was assumed pregame, the application is obvious. Faster-paced games tend to produce more points.

Player props also present some interesting opportunities. Sportsbooks are offering a variety of live player props, and faster or slower than expected games create obvious opportunities.

Take a look around various books before placing bets, though. There tends to be more variation between shops in live markets than there is pregame.

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