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Best bets for Patriots vs. Bills on Monday Night Football

bills vs. patriots
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The best weeks in the NFL are ones in which the best is saved for last.

Week 13 is exactly that.

The resurgent New England Patriots head north to Buffalo to take on a divisional foe in the Buffalo Bills, with both teams eager for a win that could sit them at the top of the AFC by night’s end. Will Bill Belichick’s elite defensive unit continue to roll or can Buffalo’s high-octane offense crack the code?

Bills -2.5

How much do you value home-field advantage?

In the eight days between New England’s most recent game against Tennessee and tonight’s contest with Buffalo, basically every single player who stepped into a press conference was asked about how they’re preparing for an environment as hostile as the one at Ralph Wilson.

Buffalo obviously isn’t invincible at home, and simply playing on their own turf isn’t reason enough to back them to win. Buffalo allows the fewest yards per game on defense in the NFL and they’re particularly difficult to beat in the pass game, allowing just 179 yards through the air per game – the second fewest in the NFL.

That puts a lot of pressure on the shoulders of rookie Mac Jones, who has gotten better with every passing week but is about to receive his first primetime test against one of the league’s elite defensive units in weather conditions that won’t be friendly (it’s supposed to be in the low-30s with winds blowing at almost 30 miles per hour when the game kicks off).

With such a small spread backing the home team, I feel comfortable taking the points and rolling with Buffalo given both the on-the-field and off-the-field factors.


We talked a bit about Buffalo’s elite defense – they allow the fewest yards per game in the league, the second fewest pass yards, and the sixth fewest rush yards. They’re also second in the league in points allowed per game and turnover percentage.

In both of those categories, the only team they’re looking up at is New England.

For all the praise that Jones will receive for the Patriots’ six-game winning streak, the defense has evolved into one of the most lockdown groups in the National Football League. They allow 15.8 points per game and force turnovers on almost 20 percent of opponents’ drives. They boast the third best passing defense and the fourth fewest yards per play. They’re just as difficult to break as Buffalo.

In fact, in their last four games, they’ve allowed a combined 26 points. That’s fewer than what the Saints, Bears, Falcons, Jets, Texans, Lions, Vikings, Bengals, Jaguars, and Seahawks allowed in Week 13 alone. Take away an uncharacteristic performance against Tennessee in which they allowed 13 points, they haven’t had double-digits dropped on them since Week 8 against the Chargers.

Simply put, points will be the hottest of commodities on Monday night.

Damien Harris ANYTIME TD scorer (+150)

The Patriots boast a talented running back tandem with Harris and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, but Harris has been the one who’s been taking it in for six this season.

The two complement each other well, but Harris outpaces Stevenson in both volume of touches and trips to the end zone. In fact, after starting the season with just one touchdown through his first four games, Harris’ touchdown production has increased substantially. In the eight games that have followed, the back has found the end zone in all but one game, a 25-0 win over Atlanta in Week 11. Despite sharing the rock, he’s still making his touches (and especially his red zone touches) count.

Against Buffalo, success in the run game will be paramount for the Patriots, who may have to rely on Harris and Stevenson a bit more early on in the game. If that’s the case, expect to see Harris in the end zone at least once. He’s been doing it so consistently in recent weeks that he’s starting to make reservations.

Devin Singletary UNDER 40.5 rushing yards

This number has continued to rise throughout the weekend, and I’m not sure why.

Singletary started the year really well. He was getting consistent carries through the first few games, and those carries were translating into production – across Buffalo’s first four contests, Singletary averaged 5.3 yards per carry.

But since then, his production has hit a wall. Singletary only gets seven carries a game now, and even that number is inflated due to Zack Moss’ absence in Week 12 that led to Singletary getting 15 carries. Even with the increased number, he only picked up 44 yards on the ground.

New England’s run defense is inferior to its pass defense, which may encourage Buffalo to run the ball more. And they very well may, but with Matt Breida in the mix and the potential return of Moss, I wouldn’t count on Singletary suddenly regaining his early-season form.

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