Preview and totals pick for Super Wild Card Weekend
Adding two extra wild-card spots, one in each conference, could prove to be one of smarter things the NFL could have done, perhaps even better for the bettor. Now what’s billed as Super Wild Card Weekend offers six games between Saturday and Monday. In other words, more NFL betting opportunities!
With 12 teams to choose from and dozens of bets we could go with, we narrowed our focus to an AFC East rivalry that will almost certainly go one way. The New England Patriots return to Orchard Park, NY, to take on the Buffalo Bills. In this rubber match, we are certain the totals can only go one way.
NFL Super Wild Card Weekend: Lock of the Week
Saturday night, the Patriots draw the Buffalo Bills for the third time in six weeks. New England took down Buffalo in a game that saw the Pats employ barely any passing plays. However, the Bills would exact Boxing Day revenge, going to Foxboro and handling the Patriots, 33-21.
These were a tale of two different games, the second being more offensively driven. Going by the NFL odds this time around, expect this game to resemble the first meeting, as in a defensively-dominated affair that’s one of the lowest, if not the lowest, scoring game of the first round of the playoffs.
Why The Total Will Go Under
Under 43½ (-110) at BetUS
The Top Two D's: Buffalo and New England have allowed the fewest and second-fewest points, respectively, in the league. If we add the average points these teams allow, it would only amount to 34.8 points. Even when Buffalo lost to New England, it still held the Patriots to just 14 points when the Patriots were leading the NFL in scoring.
Buffalo as hosts allow the fewest passing yards, number of plays and yards per play. Sure, a lot of this has come against bottom-feeding teams (see Jets and Texans), but outside of Indianapolis, no visiting team has scored more than 21 points against Buffalo. It’s why six of the Bills’ nine home games have gone under the total.
Limited Quarterbacks: Josh Allen is a star, but he has his kryptonite in Pats’ coach Bill Belichick. Allen hasn’t had a passer rating higher than 75 in his three starts against the Patriots in Buffalo. Meanwhile, Mac Jones had his worst game of the season at home against Buffalo. He completed just 14-of-32 passes, throwing two picks with no touchdowns. With a neutralized passing game on both ends, the scoring figures to be quite low.
Why The Total Will Go Over
Over 43½ (-110)
Turnover Tandem: The Bills and Patriots are adept at forcing turnovers, with both teams having 30 each. While this can contribute to the score staying low, it can also lead to a pick-six or better starting points after a flipping of the field.
New England has averaged 30.9 points whenever it forces at least two turnovers, while Buffalo is putting up 37 points. These teams are also in the top ten in scoring, New England ranking eighth while Buffalo sits at fourth. More time on the field for their offenses means more potential of scoring.
Easier Weather: The last game in Buffalo went well below the under, in no small part due to the cold temps and gusty winds. The forecast in Buffalo Saturday has the chilly January weather (14 degrees) with the potential for light snow. However, the winds of just 10 miles per hour should make it significantly more pleasant than the 50 mph from their Week 13 meeting.
With more "cooperative" weather, we could see more scoring. An extra field goal or two might be all it takes to punch the total over 43, and it will likely push Belichick to get Jones more involved on the offense.
And The Total Will Go . . .
. . . Under. Even with the better weather and potential for plenty of turnovers, this will still be a game dictated by the defense and the rushing game. New England ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing splits at 47%. The Bills, for all their vaunted defense, have been weak to the run as the Pats exposed in their first meeting this season.
The Patriots also allow the fewest passing yards as a visitor at just 156.7 yards per game. This has helped them limit home teams to the lowest yards per play. Few big plays, if any, are allowed when New England is in town. It’s why four of their last five road games have gone under.
Lock it up for the total going under 43 on the NFL betting odds.
Pick: Total – Patriots-Bills Under 43 (-110)