Bills vs. Panthers Odds, Predictions, Picks: How To Bet The Over/Under For This Week 15 Matchup
Elsa/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Poyer #21 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates his interception with teammates
- Panthers-Bills odds have shifted since our analyst wrote the following guide to betting this NFL Week 15 matchup.
- The Bills are currently 14-point favorites, but the over/under has moved only up to a half-point, keeping it within our analyst's betting range.
- Find his predictions in this Panthers vs. Bills betting preview below.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The Buffalo Bills entered the 2021 season as the AFC East favorites — now they are clinging to the last playoff spot in the division.
The Bills’ chances of catching the Patriots are looking slim, but Buffalo controls its own destiny for the playoffs. Their schedule has done them no favors, with their last two games being against the Pats and Bucs.
Things are looking up this week for the Bills, though, as they welcome the dysfunctional Panthers to Orchard Park. Carolina’s 3-0 start is in the rear-view mirror, having gone 1-4 over its last five games. Original starting quarterback Sam Darnold is designated for return from injured reserve, with rumors of a potential three-player rotation under center.
Will the Panthers be able to put up a fight against the suddenly hungry Bills, or are they already looking toward next season? Let’s dig into the numbers and find out.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Panthers vs. Bills Injury Report
- CB A.J. Bouye (foot): Out
- WR DJ Moore (hamstring): Questionable
- G Michael Jordan (hamstring): Questionable
- G John Miller (ankle): Questionable
- OT Dion Dawkins (COVID): Out
- WR Emmanuel Sanders (knee): Doubtful
- DT Star Lotulelei (toe): Questionable
- RB Taiwan Jones (knee): Questionable
Panthers vs. Bills Matchup
|Panthers Offense||DVOA Rank||Bills Defense|
|Panthers Defense||DVOA Rank||Bills Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Panthers Heading Downhill Fast
It’s been an interesting season in Carolina.
Darnold looked like a revelation early in the season. Through the first four games, he averaged nearly 300 yards per game and had a low-water yards per attempt mark of 7.72, which would rank eighth in the NFL right now. Of course, the Panthers played the Texans and Jets in that span. Still, things were going well.
Then the Christian McCaffrey injury happened.
The Panthers are a different offense without their star running back. They currently rank dead last in passing DVOA and 20th in rushing. Carolina wasn’t lighting the world on fire offensively with McCaffrey, going 4-3 with him this season.
Without him? The Panthers are 1-5.
Carolina’s defense has also struggled as the year has worn on. It has allowed an average of only 21.7 points per game over the course of the full season. However, the Panthers’ last three opponents are putting up an average of 29.7 points. While some of this is due to scheduling quirks, they’ve also played worse.
Defensively, the Panthers are remarkably similar to the Bills’ last opponent, Tampa Bay. Carolina ranks one spot behind Tampa in passing DVOA and four spots behind in rushing. Being tougher to attack through the air is certainly a benefit against the Bills. Tampa Bay held them to “only” 27 points, despite that game going to overtime.
Carolina’s pass rush is also solid, led by star edge rusher Brian Burns. The Panthers rank first in the league in adjusted sack rate. However, they’re unlikely to put too much pressure on Josh Allen. The Bills’ offensive line ranks fourth in sack rate allowed on the season. (Though much of this is due to Allen’s mobility rather than the Bills line, the outcome is the same.)
Bills Defense Keeping Them Afloat
Buffalo has scuffled a bit offensively, ranking as the 13th-best unit passing and 14th rushing. Certainly not bad numbers, but a let down from the explosive offense they were last year with Allen. The Bills still rank sixth at nearly 28 points scored per game, but it’s a noted drop off from last season.
This week, Buffalo will be playing without wide receiver Emmnual Sanders. That’s not too big of a concern, though, given Sanders’ play this year. He’s been fine, but the drop off from him to Gabriel Davis is minimal (if not an improvement). Expect a lot of ground game from the Bills in this one though, as they should control this one from the start.
Fortunately for Bills Mafia, the defense has stepped up to carry the load. The Bills defense has consistently been at the top of the DVOA charts, with only the Patriots coming close to challenging for that position. They also force two turnovers per game, which is tied for third in the league.
An early giveaway from mistake-prone Cam Newton (or P.J. Walker) at quarterback would expedite how quickly Buffalo is able to take over here.
While they’re better against the pass than they are against the run, both of the Bills’ units are within the top 10 on the year. They should have no problem neutralizing whoever is under center for the Panthers through the air. Similarly, the two-headed monster of Chuba Hubbard and Ammer Abdullah won’t scare anyone on the ground.
Panthers vs. Bills Predictions
The Bills have the league’s best defense by most metrics, while the Panthers are an underrated unit themselves. Besides the raw numbers, the Panthers match up well to limit Buffalo’s offensive strengths. These teams have combined this year to allow just over 39 points per game, well below the current total.
More importantly though, the QB-carousel (and general poor play) in Carolina should keep scoring low in this one. Buffalo has been content to ride out leads on the ground this season, so it’s unlikely that they single-handedly force this game over the total.
Additionally, this game is being played in Buffalo. While the weather is expected to be relatively nice (by Buffalo-in-December standards), that’s still a knock to the offenses here. I wouldn’t bet based on this alone, but temperatures are forecasted at right around freezing, with some moderate (10-15 mph) wind.
This total has already dropped considerably since the open, but it’s still a value at under 44.5.
Pick: Under 44.5 (-105) | Bet to: 44
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