New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (+14)
Mon. 10/29, 8:15 p.m. ET
Four things you need to know before betting on New England-Buffalo:
1. AFC East foes moving in opposite directions will wrap up Week 8 in Western New York when the surging Patriots visit the struggling Bills. New England won its fourth straight game on Sunday in Chicago and covered for the third time over that stretch. (The lone ATS loss was a three-point victory as a 3.5-point favorite over previously unbeaten Kansas City.) The current win streak hasn't occurred against cupcakes either, as the four opponents entered Week 8 with a combined 15-8 record this season when facing teams other than the Pats. Buffalo has turned the ball over 12 times during this four-game stretch, and the Bills will face a Patriots defense with 14 takeaways, which was tied for the fifth-most in the NFL entering Week 8.
2. While New England has averaged 39.3 points over its last four games, the Bills have totaled 31 points over their past four contests. The Patriots have surpassed 37 points in each of the four victories despite the fact that All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski has struggled with ankle and back injuries—Gronkowski averaged 4.3 catches and 72 yards while failing to find the end zone in the three contests prior to sitting out the Chicago game. Gronkowski, who is a native of Western New York, is expected to suit up Monday night. In seven career games he has played in Buffalo, Gronkowski has racked up an impressive 44 receptions, 730 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. The only two times that Gronkowski failed to reach 100 yards in a game in Buffalo were when he caught four passes for 54 yards and a pair of scores as a rookie in 2010, and when he tallied 94 yards on seven receptions in 2014.
3. To say that there will be a disparity in the quality of the quarterbacks on each team would be a drastic understatement, as reigning NFL MVP Tom Brady will be going up against journeyman Derek Anderson. The Bills announced that Anderson will remain the starter despite throwing three interceptions in a 37-5 blowout loss at Indianapolis in Week 7. Brady is 28-3 in his career against Buffalo, and no quarterback in NFL history has won more games against a single opponent than Brady has won against the Bills. (Only three quarterbacks—Jim Kelly, Joe Ferguson and Jack Kemp—have won more games for the Bills than Brady has won against the team.) In Brady's past six starts in Orchard Park, he has thrown for 2,028 yards (338 per game), 16 touchdowns and two interceptions while leading New England to 36.0 points per game and an average victory of 14.2 points per game. Anderson, meanwhile, has won a total of 20 games versus all NFL teams during his 13-year career. The 35-year-old Anderson has failed to surpass 20 points in nine straight starts, averaging a paltry 12.0 points per game in those nine contests, which date back to 2010. In his last three starts (all losses), his team was outscored 94 to 26. This will be Anderson’s second appearance in a game in Buffalo, with the first one having come in 2009 when he was a member of the Browns. Anderson “led” his team to a 6-3 victory despite completing only two of 17 pass attempts for 23 yards while starting and playing the entire game.
4. As evidenced by Tom Brady's 90.3 winning percentage in this series, New England has been highly successful in Buffalo, going 11-2-1 against the spread over the past 14 meetings at New Era Field. The Patriots are also 17-3 (15-5 against the spread) in their past 20 games on the road versus all NFL teams. For bettors worried that the two-touchdown spread is too much to cover, consider that New England is 9-1 against the spread when tabbed as a double-digit favorite over the past three seasons. In this same time frame, the Patriots are 11-3 against the spread versus opponents with a losing record and 12-3 ATS versus teams allowing a completion percentage of at least 64% or worse (Bills allow a 67% completion rate).
Pick: New England -14
Confidence Level: High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)