NFL Picks: Bills-Patriots Clash Anticipated in Ontario
On his podcast this week, All Pro edge rusher Von Miller gave Bills fans the holiday news they wanted to hear, updating them on the knee injury he suffered in the game against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day.
It looked to be a season-ender.
“The news is not the best news, but it is also definitely not the worst news,” he said. “It’s kind of in the middle. I didn’t tear my ACL, but I do have some lateral meniscus damage and it will have to be addressed. I feel I can play through that, let the swelling go down seven to 10 days. Right before the Jets game [Dec. 11], I will be back. It is something I will have push through which I have done before. I feel confident. Each and every day I feel better about my situation.”
The Bills are back in first place in the AFC East, and all the turkey in the world can’t cover how thankful Bills fans are for that.
With the 28-25 win over the Lions, they’re still sitting around fourth in a variety of NFL power rankings. Losing Miller would have been a huge blow for a team with Super Bowl aspirations, since they aren’t exactly stacked on the edge. Miller leads the team in sacks with eight.
The Bills are getting healthy at defensive end, thankfully.
According to Tuesday's injury report, defensive ends Greg Rousseau and A.J. Epenesa look to be coming back from ankle injuries.
Where the Betting Money is Going
Next up is Thursday’s AFC East showdown with the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Game time is 8:15 p.m. ET.
During the game, a lot will rest on Bills defensive interior players like Ed Oliver (AFC Defensive Player of the Week) and Jordan Phillips to pressure Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. Jones had a good game last week in a 33-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings – 28-for-39, 382 yards, two touchdowns.
But consistency has been an issue with the Patriots offence. They’re in the lower half of the league in points per game, total yards and yards per game: 21.7, 3,585 and 325.9, respectively.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the spread at Bills -4, Patriots +4, with the Bills taking 76% of those bets, 60% of the handle.
So far, 55% of the handle is on the Over 43.5, with 70% of the bets on the Over, while the moneyline is at Bills -190, Pats +160 (83% of the bets are on the Bills, 82% of the handle).
Is Buffalo's recent success against the Pats a reason for that? They’ve won four of the last five. Last season’s playoff matchup between the two featured a virtuoso performance by Bills quarterback Josh Allen – 21-for-25, 308 yards, five touchdowns.
But back to Miller. Who else in the NFL compares to his unique abilities? How’s about the Pats’ Matthew Judon, who leads the league in sacks with 13. Ten of those sacks have been on home field. He’ll be a massive challenge for the Bills offensive line, which will be missing tackle Dion Dawkins, who missed practice again Tuesday with an ankle injury. The team announced Wednesday that Dawkins is out for Thursday’s game.
The Bills (8-3) are 0-2 against teams in their division so far, with four games left against divisional rivals, including three over the next three weeks. The Miami Dolphins (7-3) are in second, followed by the New York Jets (6-4), then the Patriots (6-5) in last place.
Bills Enjoy Ontario Fan Base
In terms of NFL betting in Canada, the Bills rank among the most popular teams, certainly in Ontario.
A spokesperson from Proline, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s sports betting platform, says the Bills are considered a “home team” for their players. The Bills and Lions games was their top betting event of the week.
So they’ll be a lot of action on the Thursday nighter, that’s for sure. For a team gunning for an AFC East title, a win against the Patriots will be a big step in the right direction. Stakes are high.
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