Bills-Bucs Odds, Predictions, NFL Picks: Is It Wise To Bet Against Tom Brady With Bills In Perfect Buy-Low Spot?
Joshua Bessex/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Allen & Dawson Knox.
- After being embarrassed by New England on Monday Night Football, the Bills head to sunny Tampa Bay in a perfect buy-low situation against the Bucs.
- Find out how our analyst is betting this NFL Week 14 spread based on the latest Bills vs. Bucs odds.
|Time||4:25 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
There was a time this season when Buffalo vs. Tampa Bay was viewed as the most likely Super Bowl matchup. And it’s not hard to see why. The Bills were a team coming off an AFC title loss they’ve already gotten revenge for, and Tom Brady’s Buccaneers were rolling along.
But over the past few weeks, the market has somewhat soured on the Bills. Why? A blowout loss at home to Indianapolis, a head-scratching defeat at the hands of the Jaguars, and a whacky MNF game against New England in which rookie Mac Jones threw three passes and won the game. Some have highlighted potential tension within the Bills coaching staff, and questions are arising on whether this team is even going to make the playoffs.
If you asked Buffalo fans, they’d probably want to play a team like the Jets or Texans this weekend to get back on track. Unfortunately the Bills have a trip to Tampa Bay on the slate. The defending Super Bowl champion and current Super Bowl favorite has gotten back on track since losing to Washington, and Tom Brady leads the MVP race for a reason.
The Bills are still a good football team. This is a team that could easily be 9-3 or 10-2; a 9-3 Buffalo team would not be getting this type of handicap against anyone. There’s some value here backing the Bills, and here’s the case.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Bills vs. Bucs Injury Report
- DT Star Lotuleilei (toe): Out
- TE Tommy Sweeney (hip): Out
- DE Efe Obada (hip): Questionable
- FB Reggie Gilliam (ankle): Questionable
- S Jordan Whitehead (calf): Out
- CB Jamel Dean (concussion): Questionable
- DL William Gholston (wrist/knee): Questionable
- WR Jaelon Darden (concussion): Questionable
- C Ryan Jensen (ankle): Questionable
Bills vs. Bucs Matchup
|Bills Offense||DVOA Rank||Bucs Defense|
|Bills Defense||DVOA Rank||Bucs Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Bills Offense Can Get Back On Track
It’s crazy to see, but this Buffalo Bills football team is not built to play in Buffalo. When the weather gets bad and the ground game carries more importance than normal, Buffalo has struggled — ranking in the bottom five in almost every rushing category. Its running schemes are vanilla, its offensive line struggles to create holes and the running backs aren’t great.
So in a primetime game against a Patriots team that can run the ball and stop the run, it’s no surprise that the Bills struggled. In its 14-10 loss, Buffalo couldn’t get anything going on the ground, and it was apparent that it forced the run even though it was suboptimal. Despite all that, this team had three empty trips inside the New England 30 and could’ve easily come away with a win. Regardless, there’s not much predictive power that comes out of a game with 40+ mph gusts of wind.
With perfect, balmy conditions in southern Florida, this Buffalo offense should get rolling. Josh Allen has been less spectacular this season, but the Bills passing attack still grades out top five in EPA/dropback and passing success rate. And offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has shown before that when he can, he will totally abandon the run game.
Why is that important? The Buccaneers defense is imbalanced in its strengths. Tampa Bay boasts an elite run defense with Vita Vea and Lavonte David. This is a unit so good that Colts head coach Frank Reich didn’t even bother running the ball with Jonathan Taylor. Those Colts scored 31 points and could’ve beaten the Bucs had Carson Wentz not turned it over four times.
The Bucs defense is healthier now, particularly in the secondary. Carlton Davis is back, and Jamel Dean is trending in from a concussion. Even with these guys in, this passing defense is suspect — when full strength, it ranks around 20th in success rate allowed. With the Bills’ stable of receivers and a creative mind like Daboll, I expect the Bills to be able to move the ball and keep the pressure on the Bucs offense to match.
Can Buccaneers Be Slowed Down By Bills?
Tom Brady is 32-3 against the Bills in his career with New England, but these Bills are different.
We have seen Buffalo’s defense struggle against good run offenses. Indianapolis, Tennessee and New England all were able to move the ball on the ground, although even the Patriots were only really able to hit one big play (Damien Harris 65-yard touchdown run). Buffalo’s defensive line is missing big Star Lotuleilei in the middle to stuff the run — his presence would’ve certainly made a difference against the Patriots.
Tampa Bay does have a good rushing attack on paper. This unit is No. 1 in EPA/rush and rushing success rate. Brady puts this offense in good position to gain yards on the ground through audibles and diagnosing opposing defenses. There aren’t a lot of called runs in the Buccaneers playbook, as the Bucs throw the ball on 67% of plays, highest in the NFL.
It’s hard to imagine a world in which the Buccaneers try and replicate what Indianapolis and Tennessee did on the ground to Buffalo. Maybe Leonard Fournette breaks a handful of runs, but by and large, this matchup will come down to Brady vs. the Bills secondary. So how does Buffalo hold up?
This Bills passing defense has remained strong this year, leading the league in EPA/dropback allowed. Yes, they have played an exceedingly easy schedule of opposing offenses, but they have performed admirably against even the good passing attacks on their schedule.
Pressure has been the key to success. Buffalo leads the NFL in pressure rate, despite being 20th in blitz rate, a sign of sustainable defense. The Bills can get to the opposing quarterback without needing to send extra men , which is particularly important against a veteran like Tom Brady that can pick apart your blitzes.
It is worrying that Buffalo is without star corner Tre’Davious White, and his absence will certainly be missed here. But Buffalo’s excellent safety tandem of Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, plus an underrated set of corners, can have some success here. Tampa Bay’s passing offense is dynamic, but without Antonio Brown, it can’t quite hit that turbo level we saw late last year and earlier this season. The safeties can at least do a manageable job on Rob Gronkowski in the end zone.
I expect Tampa Bay to be able to score, but Buffalo’s defense — that many expected to regress after playing bad teams — has remained elite. This unit is likely a bit underrated in the market and should compete well with this Bucs offense.
Bills vs. Bucs Predictions, Picks
The Buccaneers are the best team in the NFL right now, and it’s always painful to consider betting against Tom Brady. The guy has done it so many times to Buffalo in his career, so why would this game be any different?
The Bills’ average win this season is by 24 points, whereas their average loss is by eight. Buffalo has the statistical profile of an elite football team despite some of its struggles this year in close games. This offense has been dynamic for most of the year when the weather has been good, and it will be in sunny Tampa Bay.
This has become a solid buy-low point on the Bills. Tampa Bay is the better team, but 3.5 is a bit too much for how good Buffalo is. The Bills have the offensive firepower to score, and a defense that can hold its own against Brady’s aerial assault. I like Buffalo at 3.5 and would even play a cheap 3 if that’s all available. Be sure to shop around for best price.
Pick: Buffalo +3.5 (-115) | Bet to: +3 (-105 or better)
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