Welcome to the Saturday Week 16 Football betting breakdown, where I’ll provide a betting overview of one of the upcoming Saturday Week 16 games utilizing moneyline, points spread and projected total odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Additionally, I’ll hone in on at least one player or game prop each week that I feel has profit potential at one of those three sportsbooks.
All betting takes will be classified as either a “lean” or a “pick”. A lean is a wager that we have a certain degree of certainty in. However, it’s one that still falls somewhere short of a high-confidence selection. A pick carries an additional degree of confidence based on a variety of factors. These include relevant injuries; past track record of each team in those bet types and under the specific conditions that apply; and recent performances of each team leading up to the game.
We’ve arrived at a potential “changing of the guard” showdown game in the AFC East. That would have likely been a bit ambitious of an assessment earlier this season. However, Buffalo has earned the right to be viewed as a legitimate threat to the Pats’ throne after securing a playoff spot with a big win over the Steelers last Sunday night. Meanwhile, the Patriots are a game better than the Bills in the standings at 11-3, yet the vibe around each squad arguably gives of the impression it’s Buffalo that gathering much more steam down the stretch.
All that said, the overwhelming majority of New England’s recent struggles has been its offense. The defense is essentially in as formidable and intimidating a form as it’s been all season. That naturally could lead to plenty of trouble for Bills quarterback Josh Allen. The second-year gunslinger has shown tremendous improvement in various facets this season, but ball security isn’t one. Allen has a total of 22 turnovers (18 interceptions, four fumbles) but it could be a lot worse — a whopping 10 of his 14 fumbles have been recovered by himself or his teammates. The Patriots check in with a league-high 25 picks and have also recorded 11 fumbles. New England comes in surrendering an AFC-low 170.3 passing yards per game and an NFL-low 77.0 rushing yards per home contest. They’ve also allowed just one rushing touchdown all season. Therefore, the road to consistent success for Devin Singletary and Frank Gore is just as daunting.
Then, that same road has been filled with plenty of potholes for Tom Brady and his offensive teammates recently. Prior to facing the lowly Bengals in Week 15, New England had scored a combined 68 points over its previous four games against the Eagles, Cowboys, Texans and Chiefs. Those squads all sport solid defenses that nevertheless fall short of the caliber of Buffalo’s. The Bills are right below the Pats in passing yards per game allowed (170.3). They’ve been a bit more generous on the ground (101.4 YPG allowed) but give up just 89.0 per road contest. The Bills are also a bad matchup for a New England O-line that’s struggled to keep Brady clean. Buffalo has 42 sacks on the campaign while the Patriots have allowed 27 quarterback takedowns overall.
This figures to be a 60-minute battle given what’s at stake. Ultimately, I see New England’s considerable home-field edge allowing them to squeak out a narrow victory.
The Bills have been an excellent road team this season. A three-point loss to the Browns the only blemish on their mark when traveling. Otherwise, Buffalo has six victories away from their western New York confines. Meanwhile, this current, mostly sluggish version of the Patriots offense is 1-1 over its last two home games, squeaking by the Cowboys with a four-point margin and losing to the Chiefs by a touchdown.
The Bills are 9-4-1 (NFL-best 69.2 percent) against the spread this season, including 6-0-1 as an away team. Buffalo is also 3-1 (75.0 percent) versus the number in division games.
The Patriots are 8-6 (57.1 percent) against the spread this season, including 3-3 as a home team. New England is also 2-2 versus the number in division games.
The elite quality of both of these defenses should only be enhanced in this high-stakes, cold-weather battle. I suspect the Patriots won’t fix what ails their offense against this stingy Bills unit to separate enough for a cover.
The Bills’ record in particularly when it comes to the Over is the league’s worst overall. The Patriots aren’t too far behind. Both teams’ defenses do an excellent job stifling big plays and scoring. Then, each squad’s offense has enough issues — Allen’s risk-taking tendencies and the Patriots’ troubles protecting Brady among them — to have enough drives bog down against elite defensive units.
The Over is 3-11 (NFL-low 21.4 percent) in the Bills’ games this season, including 1-6 (14.3 percent) in their away games and 2-2 in division games. Then, the Over is 5-9 (35.7 percent) in the Patriots’ games this season, including 2-4 (33.3 percent) in their home games and 1-3 (25.0 percent) in division games.
This total is admittedly microscopic but not necessarily unrealistic. The two teams combined for just 26 points in their first meeting this season and the last three games in the series have all finished under Saturday’s projected total. Given the various offense-averse circumstances at play, I’m in the camp of the Under hitting in this spot.
The Pick: Under 36.5 points at FanDuel Sportsbook
Best Prop Bet
Player To Score: James White (+225 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
This is exactly the type of game White could play a prominent role in. The versatile back faces a Bills team that’s allowed 11 total touchdowns (eight rushing, three receiving) to running backs this season. White has a modest five total touchdowns this season (one rushing, four receiving) but could well be overdue for some scores — he comes into this game with 12.5 percent of his team’s red-zone touches — 32 total on the season — with nearly half (15) coming from the 10-yard line in. What’s more, Buffalo is rather surprisingly ranked in the bottom half of the league in red-zone touchdown success rate allowed (58.3 percent).