Bills vs. Patriots predictions: NFL picks, odds and betting offers
Less than a week since their teammate Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field of play, the Buffalo Bills are set to host the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Hamlin collapsed during Monday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals and was rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in front of visibly distressed players and a stunned stadium.
With the world waiting anxiously for updates, the Bills said Thursday that there had been a “remarkable improvement” in his health, with doctors saying the player’s “neurological condition and function is intact.”
On Friday, the team tweeted that Hamlin’s breathing tube had been removed overnight, according to doctors, and he’s been able to talk with his family and health care providers.
The Bills safety said on Instagram on Saturday that he was thankful for the love he’s received and asked for continued prayers for a “long road” ahead.
Our NFL betting writer brings you his best Bills vs. Patriots predictions and picks for their NFL Week 18 showdown, which is live Sunday on CBS at 1 p.m. ET.
Just days after Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed and went into cardiac arrest during game action, Buffalo and the New England Patriots take the field in Orchard Park, New York, in the regular-season finale for both teams. There are playoff implications for either side — New England can earn a wild-card berth, and the Bills are still in contention for the only bye in the AFC.
Although the stakes are elevated due to the heavy playoff implications of Sunday’s matchup, there is much consideration being paid to the emotional toll on the Bills after Monday’s game was postponed to care for Damar Hamlin.
The Patriots find themselves in a win-or-go-home scenario, as a victory allows them to clinch a playoff berth, while a loss effectively ends their season. Meanwhile, Buffalo can make a giant leap toward clinching the No. 1 seed in the AFC if it can down its division rival for the second time in as many months.
Bills to cover -7
Buffalo has won five of the last six meetings with the Patriots (including playoffs), prevailing by at least 12 points in four of those victories. And there is no indication the Bills will be resting or holding back, as New England likely hoped.
Highmark Stadium hasn’t been comforting for opponents, either, as the Bills have posted a 6-1 home record with an average margin of victory of 16.3 points. Considering New England has relied on its defense to help generate a hefty portion of its scoring as of late, don’t be surprised if the Patriots’ offense simply can’t keep up with Buffalo’s.
Whatever Bill Belichick and Sean McDermott are telling their teams at halftime, it’s working.
New England averages the most third-quarter points in the entire league (7.1), while the Bills aren’t too far behind, averaging the fifth most at 6.2.
The combined average of 13.3 points between both teams ranks second among their quarterly scoring outputs. Buffalo and the Patriots combine to post 8.3 points in the first, 16.0 in the second and 11.7 in the fourth.
If you’re basing your picks solely off the numbers, banking on the second to be the highest-scoring frame at +113 is also a viable option. But with the boosted odds and the narrow 2.7-point difference, why not shoot for the extra profit?
Bills vs. Patriots pick: Third quarter to be the highest scoring quarter @ +500 at Caesars Sportsbook
Josh Allen over 38.5 rushing yards
A quarterback’s rushing prop is always a tad riskier due to the general nature of the position, but few field generals are as reliable as Allen when it comes to what they can do on the ground.
Allen has rushed for at least 40 yards in 10 games this season, including five instances in which he picked up 70-plus yards using his legs. He’s also averaging a stunning 5.5 yards per carry against the Patriots in nine career games, with one being a postseason meeting in which he rushed for 66 yards on six carries.
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