The New England Patriots will try to avoid their first losing season in 20 years when they host the AFC East champion Buffalo Bills in the final Monday Night Football game of the season. The Patriots (6-8) already have been eliminated from the NFL playoff picture for the first time since 2008. They need wins over the Bills (11-3) and in Week 17 over the suddenly-hot Jets (2-13) to avoid their first losing season since going 5-11 in 2000, Bill Belichick's first season as coach.
Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. ET. Buffalo is a 7.5-point favorite in the latest Bills vs. Patriots odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is 47. Before making any Patriots vs. Bills picks, you need to see what SportsLine's resident Bills expert, Mike Tierney, has to say.
A national sportswriter whose work appears in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, Tierney has covered the NFL for decades and reported from seven Super Bowls. He prefers to evaluate each game from the underdog's point of view and has used that philosophy to dominate the NFL, going 66-44 against the spread in 2019 and 63-46 in 2018.
Tierney entered the 2020 season with a 282-222 record at SportsLine (2016-19) on all NFL picks, returning $3,704 to $100 players. He also has had a sharp eye for the tendencies of the Bills, posting a stunning 10-4 record in his last 14 against-the-spread picks involving Buffalo, including an easy win last week with the Bills covering against Denver. Anyone who has followed him is way up.
Now, Tierney has studied Bills vs. Patriots from every angle and released a confident against-the-spread pick. Go to SportsLine to see it. Here are several NFL betting lines from William Hill and trends for Patriots vs. Bills:
- Bills vs. Patriots spread: Buffalo -7.5
- Bills vs. Patriots Over/Under: 47
- Bills vs. Patriots moneyline: Buffalo -360, New England +300
- BUF: Stefon Diggs ranks third in the NFL in receiving yards (1,314)
- NE: J.C. Jackson is second in interceptions (eight)
Why the Bills can cover
Cole Beasley gives Buffalo a dangerous second receiving option to pair with Stefon Diggs. The ninth-year vet from SMU has 79 catches for 950 yards and four touchdowns. He is coming off his third 100-yard receiving performance in his last five games, an eight-catch, 112-yard effort against Denver. With 50 more receiving yards from Beasley, the Bills would have their first pair of 1,000-yard receivers in a season since 2002.
In addition, Buffalo faces a New England offense that has struggled mightily in the first year of the post-Tom Brady era. The Patriots average just 20.6 points a game; only five teams score fewer. Over the last five games, New England has averaged just 285.6 yards of total offense, which is the fourth-fewest in the league over that time.
Why the Patriots can cover
New England faces a Buffalo team that has struggled with turnovers. The Bills have 20 turnovers this season; just 10 teams in the NFL entered Week 16 with more. Of the 14 teams that entered Week 16 with at least 19 turnovers, only the Bills and the Rams have a winning record.
In addition, the Patriots have had Josh Allen's number so far in his career. Since the quarterback entered the league in 2018, he has faced New England four times. In those games, he has a completion percentage of 50.4, thrown six interceptions against three touchdowns and has a passer rating of 57.8, his worst against any team he has played at least two times.
In the first game against the Patriots this season, Allen passed for just 154 yards, threw an interception and had a passer rating of 65.5.
How to make Bills vs. Patriots picks
Tierney has analyzed this matchup and while we can tell you he's leaning under the total, he has discovered a crucial x-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He's only sharing it here.
Who wins Patriots vs. Bills on Monday Night Football? And what critical factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Patriots vs. Bills spread you should jump on, all from the NFL expert who's 10-4 on Bills picks, and find out.