Buffalo Bills Might be Better, but Bengals are the Hotter Team

Buffalo Bills Might be Better, but Bengals are the Hotter Team
© USA Today

The Buffalo Bills have the better record, at 12-3, but you could make the argument the Cincinnati Bengals (11-4) are the hotter team, heading into their key head-to-head Monday nighter at Paycor Stadium.

So how should NFL betting players look at this game?

Bills Going for the Top Seed

For the Bills, nailing down the No. 1 seed in the AFC is on the line, which means every team would have to go through Buffalo in the playoffs in January. Not fun. A win over the Bengals won’t wrap up the No. 1 seed, but it will put them in the driver seed.

The Bengals? They’ve won seven in a row (the Bills are on a six-game win streak). Two elite NFL quarterbacks go head-to-head — QB Joe Burrow is No. 2 in most passing yards in the NFL (4,260), while Josh Allen is at No. 6 with 4,029 yards. Burrow is second in the league in touchdowns thrown, with 34, two more than Allen, who has 32.

“The dude’s all ball,” Allen said this week about this counterpart. “I have a lot of respect for him as a person and as a player. Especially after his rookie year, and the injuries he had. He’s got a heckuva story. We’ve had some interactions over the last few years.”

In terms of offence, the Bills are fourth in the NFL, averaging 28 points per game and have 402.3 total yards per game, which is second in the league. The Bengals? They are averaging 26.07 points per game (sixth) and 367.4 total yards per game (seventh in the NFL). 

On defense, Buffalo is allowing 17.5 points per game (2nd) and 317.7 total yards per game (7th), while Cincinnati is allowing 20.4 points per game (9th) and 332.3 total yards per game (14th).

The Bills’ running attack continues to be a big focus for bettors going into January. Don’t look now but the team is eighth best in the NFL, 2,173 in team rushing yards, averaging 142.8 yards per game.

Running Game Big for Buffalo

Last week in their 35-13 win over the Chicago Bears, in brutally cold conditions at Soldier Field, the Bills ran for a gaudy 254 yards. Devin Singletary darted for 109 yards, with an 8.8-yard average, and James Cook had 99 yards (9.0-yard average). 

One of the criticisms of the team was the Bills’ lack of a big, fullback, a true downhill runner, but they have that in the 6-foot-5, 237-pound Allen, who ran for 41 yards on six carries against the Bears. That’s if you want your $43 million-per-year quarterback running and hurdling as much as Allen does – he’s fourth in the league in terms of rushing yards for a quarterback (746). 

“Our running backs have done a great job of finding the holes and our offensive line has done a great job of creating them,” Allen said this week. “The more you can do, the more versatile you can be on offence, that causes more problems for a defensive coordinator. ‘What am I going to do here?’ But it’s all about executing on game day.”

How to Bet on Bills vs. Bengals

Not a lot of action on the game so far, as of this morning, according to the people who run the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s Proline sportsbook – they have the Bills moneyline at 1.8, and a spread of -2.5, with 65 per cent of the action coming in on the Bills. And a total of 48.5 over 1.83, with 86 per cent on the Over. 

“Quite sure those will move as we approach kick off,” an OLG spokesperson told us.

DraftKings splits: Bills Moneyline at 1.87, Bengals 1.95 (56 per cent of the handle on the Bills); spread at -1 Bills, +1 Bengals (64 per cent of the handle on the Bills); 80 per cent of the Handle on the Over 49.5.

In terms of player props: On touchdowns thrown, DraftKings has an Over 1.5 on Allen at 1.83, Under 1.5 at 1.91; Burrow Over 1.5 touchdowns at 1.54, Under 1.5 at 2.35. Passing yards? Burrow Over 281.5 at 1.87, Under 281.5 1.87; Allen Over 240.5 at 1.80, Under 240.5 at 1.95 – all as of this morning.

And at BetRivers: The largest wager they’ve received as of this morning is $3,000 on the Bengals +3. Allen Over 242.5 total pass yards is the most wagered-on prop and is backed by 1.1 per cent of the total game handle. 

Under 24.5 first-half points is the most popular prop by tickets and is backed by 2.9 per cent of total game tickets. 

Moneyline is Bills 1.83, Bengals 1.97, and the O/U is 49.5. The Spread is Bills -1 – 43 per cent of the money on Bills Spread, and 53 per cent of the tickets. Seventy-five per cent of money is on the Over, 58 per cent of the tickets.