On Sunday (12/31/23), the Buffalo Bills host the New England Patriots in an AFC East showdown where the Bills are 13-point favorites. In this article, find the latest betting odds for the game and a full matchup preview. In addition, get our Patriots vs. Bills best bet which is the Bills -13.
New England Patriots Vs. Buffalo Bills Prediction
Coming off two huge wins over the Chiefs and Cowboys, the Bills found themselves down 10-0 early to the Chargers last week. They put it together as the game went on, though, ultimately leaving Los Angeles with a 2-point win. It was a sleepy spot all the way for Buffalo, and — as stated in last week’s matchup preview —taking the Chargers +12 as my best bet in the game.
Things are different this week, though. I expect the Bills to be highly focused for this game against a Patriots team that already upset them earlier this season, and the mismatch here is immense. The Bills are top five in DVOA, EPA, and yards per play, while the Patriots are bottom five in all three. According to the NFL’s Playoff Predictor, the Bills will be at a 97% chance to make the playoffs with a win this week.
The Patriots got a huge road upset win over the Broncos last week, but that game had more to do with Denver’s incompetency. New England’s roster still has a ton of holes, and it’s tough to imagine Bailey Zappe having the same level of success on the road here after his best game as a pro. After a shaky midseason stretch, the Bills are now a top 12 defense against the pass by DVOA and EPA, and the Buffalo crowd will make Zappe’s life hell.
Meanwhile, Josh Allen has the opportunity to continue to build his MVP resume in an offense that has looked much more cohesive since Joe Brady became the offensive coordinator. The Patriots have struggled to generate a consistent pass rush with the 19th-ranked pressure unit despite blitzing at the sixth-highest rate. With a clean pocket, Allen can dice up a secondary ranked 24th in PFF’s coverage grades.
While 13 points is a lot to lay in a divisional game, the situational elements heavily favor the Bills in this game. Buffalo should win this game handily, and the only way I’d consider playing this game is with the Bills -13. I’d also consider taking Josh Allen to win MVP. He leads the NFL with 40 total touchdowns, and there’s a path for the Bills to finish with the second seed if they win out and the Ravens beat the Dolphins this week. The best MVP odds for Allen right now are +1200 on Bet365.
New England Patriots Vs. Buffalo Bills Prediction: Bills -13
New England Patriots Vs. Buffalo Bills Best Odds
The Bills opened as 12-point favorites in this game, and steam has since hit the Buffalo side with the number shifting to -13 or -13.5 at the time of writing. The over/under currently sits at 40.5 points. With those current numbers, the implied score would land at around 27-13 in favor of the Bills. If you can find the Bills’ team total at 26.5 points, I’d consider an over on that number as a solid alternative to a Bills ATS bet.
New England Patriots Vs. Buffalo Bills Key Injuries
At this point in the season, injuries are a major part of the story for all teams. The Bills are no exception, and some notable players to watch include edge Shaq Lawson and safety Micah Hyde, who are listed as questionable. Defensive lineman DaQuan Jones could be ready to return from IR this week as he was back at practice. For the Patriots, keep an eye on the status of offensive tackle Trent Brown and defensive lineman Christian Barmore — two of the team’s more important linemen who are both listed as questionable.
New England Patriots Vs. Buffalo Bills Key Matchups
With the Bills seeking revenge in a game against their divisional rival, there are some fascinating matchups to take stock of in this one. Let’s break down some of the key matchups that will help determine the outcome of this game.
Stefon Diggs Vs. Jonathan Jones
If the Bills want to achieve their ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl, they have to find a way to get Stefon Diggs off the schneid. While he’s still 12th in the NFL with 1,070 receiving yards, most of that production came earlier in the year – he’s been held under 50 receiving yards in five of his last six games. Last week, in a prime matchup against a poor Chargers secondary, he was held to 5 catches for 29 yards.
Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones will be tasked with making sure that cold streak continues on Sunday with standout rookie Christian Gonzalez still on IR. Jones has allowed 50 or fewer receiving yards in coverage in all but two games this season. For what it’s worth, Diggs has averaged 84.5 receiving yards per game in his career against the Patriots, so perhaps this is finally the week he breaks out again.
Bailey Zappe Vs. Bills’ Pass Defense
Last week on Sunday Night Football, Bailey Zappe absolutely carved up the Broncos’ secondary, finishing the game with 25 of 33 completions for 256 yards and two touchdowns. His 87.5 PFF passing grade was by far the highest of his career, and he led the Patriots on their late game winning drive to seal the deal in the fourth quarter.
A road date in Buffalo awaits Zappe, and it won’t be easy for him to repeat that strong performance. Zappe is facing a Bills defense that ranks 10th in passing EPA allowed, and Buffalo’s pass coverage has improved each week with improved health and the introduction of star cornerback Rasul Douglas, a midseason trade acquisition.