Welcome to the Monday Night Football betting breakdown, where each week I’ll provide a detailed betting overview of the upcoming Monday Night Football game utilizing moneyline, points spread and projected total odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. I’ll also highlight at least one player- or game-based prop that I feel has profit potential.
The Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots will face off at Gillette Stadium on Monday night, December 28th. The game marks the 122nd meeting between the teams in a series the Patriots lead 76-44-1. The most recent game between the teams unfolded in Week 8 of this season, when Buffalo recorded a 24-21 win at New Era Field in which Devin Singletary and Zach Moss combined for 167 rushing yards and two touchdowns (Moss) on 28 carries.
The Bills secured a postseason berth in Week 15, while the Patriots fell out of postseason contention. Buffalo punched its playoff ticket with a 48-19 win over the Denver Broncos in a dominant Saturday afternoon showing, while New England fell to the Dolphins by a 22-12 score in Miami.
All betting takes will be classified as a “pick” or “lean”, with considerations such as relevant injuries, past betting trends and recent performances of each team leading up to the game factoring in.
For more detailed information on this week’s matchup – including further game analysis, betting trends breakdown, betting tips specific to MNF, and a synopsis of the history of the line movement for the game, please see our Monday Night Football Betting Preview over at TheLines.
The Bills are not only the more talented team than the Patriots for a change, but the disparity between the two clubs could be growing as the season draws to a close. That could particularly manifest itself when Buffalo has the ball Monday. Even without John Brown (IR-ankle), Josh Allen has posted an 8:1 TD:INT while throwing for 972 yards over his last three games. He now faces a Patriots secondary that just lost Stephon Gilmore for the rest of the season with a quadriceps injury and also sees top remaining healthy cornerbacks J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones head into the final day of the practice week Saturday with hip and neck injuries, respectively.
Then, the matchup on the ground lines up even better a Singletary-Moss duo that already enjoyed success versus the Pats once this season. Miami’s Salvon Ahmed and Matt Breida combined for 208 yards and a rushing TD against New England in Week 15. The Pats now check in allowing the sixth-most rushing yards per game (133.0) and RB yards per carry (4.70), along with the third-most adjusted line yards per tote (4.88). Moreover, New England now carries a No. 32 rush defense DVOA ranking and has starting linebackers John Simon (hamstring) and Ja’Whaun Bentley (arm) sporting questionable tags heading into the final practice of the week Saturday.
For the Patriots, Cam Newton will apparently remain the starter in Week 16. However, it appears that Julian Edelman (knee), who’s been on injured reserve since Week 8, won’t be activated for this contest. The Bills will still have to contend with the likes of N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers, but Buffalo’s secondary may be playing its best ball of the season at present. The Bills are surrendering just 202.7 passing yards per game over the last three contests, along with an exceedingly modest 5.6 yards per attempt.
New England’s best path to success may thus be on the ground. They’ll face a Bills defense that’s allowed 123.9 rushing yards per game on the road, along with bottom-half figures of 4.50 adjusted line yards and 4.44 RB yards per carry overall. Damien Harris (ankle) may be able to return from a one-game absence and work in tandem with Sony Michel as a formidable duo that could keep the chains moving. The Pats’ offensive line’s stellar track record of clearing running lanes – their 4.91 adjusted line yards and 4.75 RB yards per carry facilitated are top-five and top-10 figures, respectively – could therefore loom large in helping Bill Belichick’s squad keep this game close.
Ultimately, however, I see the talent gap here eventually superseding all other factors and leading to a Bills victory of a relatively solid margin.
The Pick: Bills moneyline (-350 or better)
MNF Point Spread
The Bills are 9-5 (64.3 percent) against the spread this season, including 3-3 as a road team and 1-3 (25.0 percent) in division matchups.
The Patriots are 6-8 (42.9 percent) against the spread this season, including 4-2 (66.7 percent) as a home team and 2-2 in AFC East matchups.
In accordance with my prediction the Bills will prevail in this contest, I also lean toward them prevailing by better than a touchdown. I do feel this has a chance to be reasonably close game for the majority, given it’s the second game between division opponents and Belichick is certainly capable of making life difficult on an offense he knows well.
However, given Allen’s recent caliber of play and New England’s short-handed secondary, I envision Buffalo doing enough for an eight-point victory or better.
The Lean: Bills -7 or better
MNF Over/Under Total
The Over is 9-4-1 (69.2 percent) in Buffalo’s games this season, including 4-3 (57.1 percent) in its road games and 3-1 (75.0 percent) in its division matchups.
Then, the Over is 4-10 (28.6 percent) in New England’s games this season, including 1-5 (16.7 percent) in its games as a home team and 2-2 against AFC East opponents.
The Patriots have facilitated the Under in all but one home game with their popgun offense, and the Bills defense is trending in the right direction, as already detailed earlier. While I can see a solid amount of points being scored, it’s also easy to imagine New England struggling to do enough for this number to be exceeded.
The Pick: Under 46.5 points or better
Best MNF Prop Bet
Devin Singletary Over 2.5 receptions (+140 or better)
This is an especially eye-catching prop at its price, considering Singletary is an underrated receiver out of the backfield and is averaging 2.5 receptions on 3.4 targets per contest. He’s actually been trending up in his pass-catching production of late, recording three grabs in three of the past four games and in four of the last six contests overall. The Patriots’ issues against running backs haven’t just been limited to stopping them on the ground, either, as New England checks in surrendering an average of 4.9 receptions on 6.3 targets per game to the position. Nearly all of the Bills’ running back pass game work goes to Singletary, too — rookie Zack Moss has just 12 catches through 11 games.