Monday Night Football Betting: Buffalo and New England Battle for AFC East Supremacy

With winter weather in the forecast, can Matthew Judon and the Patriots' defense slow down Josh Allen?

There’s a bit of a surprising battle for the AFC East division title between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills. Many thought Buffalo would run away with the division -- or at least thought it would be the Miami Dolphins making a run. But heading into tonight's game, New England is one of the hottest (if not the hottest) teams in the league after winning six straight.

The Bills have alternated wins and losses over their last seven games and are coming off of an impressive performance against the New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving.

Here is how numberFire ranks each team heading into tonight’s game using our nERD metric and Net Expected Points (NEP):

Team nERD nERD Rank Off NEP Rank Def NEP Rank
Buffalo Bills 11.05 2 11 1
New England Patriots 6.99 5 13 3

Inside the Standard Bets

Our model favors Buffalo. We have them winning outright 65.7% of the time and covering the 2.5-point spread 60.9% of the time. At FanDuel Sportsbook, the Bills moneyline odds are -146. Comparing that implied probability of 59.3% to our model’s win probability we have some value in this bet (a one-star wager).

Buffalo’s odds to cover their spread are set at -122 (54.95%), and with our model giving the Bills a 60.9% chance to cover as mentioned above, that is the best value among each team's moneyline or spread bets. It has a two-star rating.

The weather forecast for tonight’s game is calling for some chilly temperatures and heavy wind, which could be why the point total line is set pretty low at 41.0 points. Our model thinks that is indeed quite low and rates taking the over (-110) as a one-star bet (although it does not heavily account for extreme weather situations).

Player Prop Value Bets

numberFire’s player projection model forecasts both quarterbacks to go over their passing yardage line. Josh Allen’s line is 234.5 yards (-110) with our model estimating a median outcome of 252.93 yards with Mac Jones’ line at 201.5 (-110) and a forecast of 221.68 passing yards.

Since only one of these teams will be a division leader after tonight’s matchup, I am going to apply Highlander rules -- there can be only one -- so I’ll take Mac Jones to go over his passing yardage prop.

Only one game this season has he not found the ballpark of his 201.5-yard prop. That was a severely positive game script in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers. He has only failed to reach 202 passing yards twice this season.

If weather is your concern, it’s worth noting that Jones doesn’t really air it out and tends to work with shorter passes, which can reduce how much the wind can impact his throws. Mac ranks 21st in average intended air yards and 25th in average completed air yards, per Pro Football Reference.

On the Buffalo side, there may still be value on "over" a passing prop despite the weather conditions. Emmanuel Sanders has had a horrid string of production, but his role really hasn't changed. In the past three weeks, he's tied with Stefon Diggs for the team lead in routes run percentage (81.7%) by a wideout. He just has only seen 12 targets in that span due to two wildly positive game scripts and an offensive dud against Indianapolis.

In addition to the weather, his prop sits at just 31.5 receiving yards tonight. That might be just too low given his solid role. Even in this absolute downturn, Sanders has posted at least 26 receiving yards each game. His season-low total was 48 yards before Week 9.

Sanders could see additional work because of his yards-after-catch ability. He's 10th in the NFL amongst players in the category, and that could mean he sees more creative, short targets tonight -- especially if Buffalo trails. There's also the added dimension that Bill Belichick may attempt to take Stefon Diggs away from the Buffalo offense.

Final Notes

Buffalo is 7-4 against the spread (ATS) this season. New England is 8-4 ATS and 4-1 ATS on the road.

Last season, the Bills came out victorious against New England in each of their two games and covered the spread in both.

Two key secondary injuries will be worth watching. Buffalo is now without Tre'Davious White for the rest of the season because of a torn ACL. The Pats will also be missing Kyle Dugger due to COVID-19 protocols.