We have an AFC East showdown on our hands.
Unlike years past, though, it’s the Buffalo Bills who enter as the home favorite when the New England Patriots travel to Orchard Park, N.Y., on Sunday for a Week 8 clash at 1 p.m. ET.
The 5-2 Bills will look to build on their 2 1/2-game advantage in the division, fresh off an underwhelming eight-point win over the New York Jets. The Patriots enter after recording the franchise’s first three-game losing streak since 2002.
Here?s our betting preview for Patriots-Bills, with all odds/lines via consensus data.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (-4)
The Bills opened up as 3.5-point favorites before creeping up to four points, where the line currently stands.
It will be just the fourth time in 41 games the Bills are favored over Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, according to The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin. Four points is, however, the largest spread the Bills have possessed, surpassing a three-point spread from 2002 when the Patriots earned a 31-point victory. The Bills were also favored in 2003 (31-0 Buffalo win) and 2014 (37-22 Patriots win).
The Bills have lost seven consecutive games to the Patriots and nine of the last 10.
Both teams are among the worst in the league against the spread this season. Buffalo is 3-4 ATS overall, but 2-1 at home. The Patriots are 2-4 ATS overall and 0-2 on the road.
First-half line, total
Bills -2.5, 20.5
First touchdown scorer
Stefon Diggs +800
Devin Singletary +800
Josh Allen +900
Cam Newton +900
Damien Harris +1200
Zack Moss +1200
Cole Beasley +1400
James White +1600
Rex Burkhead +1800
Josh Allen over/under 238.5
Cam Newton over/under 192.5
Devin Singletary over/under 49.5
Cam Newton over/under 46.5
Josh Allen over/under 34.5
Stefon Diggs over/under 56.5
Devin Singletary over/under 15.5
PICK: Patriots +4
Based on how the Patriots have played over the last two weeks — losses to the Denver Broncos and a blowout loss to the injury-depleted 49ers — they shouldn’t instill much confidence for bettors. Recent injuries to receivers Julian Edelman (knee) and N’Keal Harry (concussion) have further complemented that outlook.
But the fact is, the Bills haven’t been all that impressive of late either. Believe it or not, Buffalo has a negative point differential after seven games this season. After getting off to a 4-0 start, Buffalo was blown out by the Tennessee Titans and lost by two possessions to the Kansas City Chiefs. Four of their five wins this season have come against the 0-7 Jets (twice), a three-point win over the 3-3 Miami Dolphins and a touchdown win over the 3-3 Las Vegas Raiders (who the Patriots also beat, for what it’s worth).
And with the Patriots’ offensive line seemingly returning to strength, weather conditions looking brutal and the Bills among the bottom half of NFL teams in major run defense categories, we could be looking at a low scoring, grind-it-out game.
Take the Patriots with the points.