NFL Odds & Picks For Bills vs. 49ers: 3 Ways To Bet Monday Night Football
Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Shanahan, Josh Allen
NFL Odds: Bills vs. 49ers
The 49ers will take on the Bills in Arizona. Who has the edge in this toss-up? Let’s take a closer look.
Despite receiving treatment on his knee and ankle earlier in the week, Josh Allen was not listed on the final injury report.
Allen is on pace for career-highs in completion percentage (68.8%), yards per attempt (7.8), touchdown rate (5.7%), passer rating (102.3) and QBR (75.3), but he has come down to earth as a passer lately after a hot start.
- First four games: 332.0 yd/g, 3.00 TD/g, 0.25 INT/g, 69.3% cmp, 9.1 YPA
- Last seven games: 243.1 yd/g, 1.43 TD/g, 1 INT/g, 67.5% cmp, 7.4 YPA
Allen will face a 49ers defense that ranks 14th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against the pass but is trending upward thanks to Richard Sherman, who returned last week after missing nine games. Among 142 cornerbacks who have played 100 or more snaps in coverage this season, his Pro Football Focus grade of 76.2 ranks eighth-best — almost as good as fellow corner Jason Verrett, whose 77.2 mark rates fifth.
The absence of field-stretcher John Brown (ankle) will be felt by Allen in this game — Brown was often paired with Gabriel Davis in four-wide sets to open up things underneath for Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley.
Allen’s biggest mismatch should be in the slot with Beasley — who is posting career-best marks in catches per game (5.2) and yards per game (60.6) — as the 49ers will be without starting slot corner K’Waun Williams.
Williams’ backup, Emmanuel Moseley, has allowed the most yards (401) and touchdowns (4) in coverage on the team, and was limited in practice this week with a hamstring injury. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has done a masterful job with the unit this season, though, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him counteract Beasley by using safety Jimmie Ward, who is having an even better season than Verrett and Sherman, as a slot corner.
Saleh’s unit is capable of making the Bills one-dimensional: The 49ers have allowed only 3.65 yards per carry to opposing running backs, sixth-best in the NFL. Allen could be the equalizer here, though, as San Francisco has allowed a league-high 335 yards to opposing quarterbacks and struggled in that area last season, too.
San Francisco 49ers
Nick Mullens will get another start with Jimmy Garoppolo still out. Mullens has led the 49ers to a 2-3 record as a starter, and his 44.3 QBR represents a 15.6-point drop-off from Garoppolo (59.9).
The 49ers have gotten significantly healthier as of late, though, and will have the services of top running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, top wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, and starting left tackle Trent Williams after all missed games over the past few weeks.
The Bills are also getting healthier on defense and could get top coverage linebacker Matt Milano (pec) back after a three-game absence.
Sean McDermott’s defense ranks 16th on the season but seventh over its past two games despite facing Kyler Murray- and Justin Herbert-led offenses. In the game before those two, the Bills forced Russell Wilson into four turnovers in a 10-point victory for the Bills.
Buffalo’s run defense has been below-average all season, though, allowing 4.57 yards per carry to opposing backs (eighth-highest). The Bills have allowed 43 explosive run plays — the fourth-most, according to Sharp Football Stats.
Given this weakness, having Mostert available is key for Kyle Shanahan’s attack, as Mostert has been by far San Francisco’s most efficient ballcarrier out of the backfield:
- Mostert: 60 carries, 5.2 yards per carry
- Jerick McKinnon: 80 car, 3.9 YPC
- Jeff Wilson: 50 car, 4.1 YPC
- JaMycal Hasty: 31 car, 3.8 YPC
- Tevin Coleman: 21 car, 2.4 YPC
- Kyle Juszczyk: 10 car, 4.9 YPC
- Austin Walter: 1 car, 3.0 YPC
Shanahan can also generate explosive gains via his wide receivers, who have combined for 75 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries this season.
I have this game rated as a pick ’em, and it’s no surprise that it’s been flip-flopping between each team being favored. I bet the 49ers at +2 because they’re being underrated by the market given their return to health, particularly in the case of Mostert and Sherman.
These teams have also been on opposite ends of the luck spectrum, with Buffalo’s point differential suggesting its “true” record should be 5.9-4.1, a net differential of -2.1 wins compared to their 8-3 record. San Francisco’s point differential, on the other hand, implies a 5.7-5.3 record (+0.7).
I doubt that playing in Arizona will have much of an effect on the 49ers. Shanahan has led them to a 4-2 record against the spread on the road this season, and he’s 18-12 on the road in his career, according to our Bet Labs data.
The line is 49ers -1 as of this writing (find real-time odds here), so I don’t see as much value unless they drop back to +1.5 or more. If the 49ers fall behind early, I’ll be looking to bet them again at +3 or better live and/or on the second-half spread — the Bills have been outscored by an average of 4.1 points after halftime, and Shanahan will stay committed to the run, which shouldn’t allow the Bills lead to balloon.
As for the total, I have it projected at 46.5, so I have a slight lean toward the under but wouldn’t seriously consider betting it unless it got back up to 48 or higher.
I also love the under on Devin Singletary’s 36.5 rushing yards prop — he’s gone over this number in only five of 11 games, which drops to three of eight in games in which Zack Moss has played. The 49ers uncharacteristically gave up a 61-yard run to Cam Akers last week, but otherwise held Rams backs to 46 yards on 21 carries. And as mentioned, the 49ers are allowing the sixth-fewest yards per carry to opposing backs on the season (3.65).
Singletary is averaging just 8.5 carries per game with Moss active, and that number has dropped to 5.7 over the past three games. I will likely post more player props leading up to game time, so be sure to follow me in the Action app to get notifications.
PICKS: 49ers +1.5 or more pregame; 49ers +3 or more in-game; Under 48 or higher; Devin Singletary under 36.5 rushing yards (to 32.5)