NFL Odds: How Might Forecast Affect Patriots-Bills Total, Spread?

And who does a lower-scoring, run-heavy game favor?


December 3, 2021

Excuse the cliché, but there might be some football weather Monday night in Buffalo.

The New England Patriots travel to Orchard Park to take on the Bills in a must-see “Monday Night Football” matchup with massive playoff implications. As Monday nears, the weather forecast is starting to come into focus, and it looks like things might get nasty.

As we discussed already this week, forecasts currently are calling for a wet, damp day in Buffalo on Monday. While temperatures during the day are expected to sit in the 50s, those will dip into the mid-20s as the night progresses. The rain is expected to be gone by nightfall, but the wind isn’t. Gusts of 20 to 30 mph are expected. Lake effect snow is a possibility, too.

Perhaps because of that, there has been some movement in the betting lines for Patriots-Bills. DraftKings Sportsbooks opened the game with a total of 45 points Sunday night, a number that quickly was bet down to 44. It even got back up to 45 early Monday morning, but since then, there has been no indication it’s going to climb again.

A strong majority of the bets and the handle are on the under, with the number currently sitting at 42.5 with some slight juice on the over as of Friday morning. One offshore sportsbook even has it down to 42, which is a key number.

As the betting continues or the forecast becomes solidified, more movement could come. As VSiN’s Josh Appelbaum pointed out in this week’s “Point Spread Weekly,” the total is 35-20 (64%) to the under when the wind blows 10 mph or more this season.

The weather certainly is a large factor when considering the over/under, but it could also be a slight consideration when handicapping the side. We’ve heard over the years that precipitation — even snow — is doable for quarterbacks who really want to throw the ball. Where the weather becomes an issue, however, is when the wind blows, as that can really mess with the passing (and kicking) game. That seemingly would affect the Bills more than the Patriots, as Buffalo passes on 61% of its offensive plays, ranking 13th in the NFL. New England passes just over 54% of the time, as only nine teams run the ball at a higher rate than Josh McDaniels’ offense.

So, theoretically, strong winds should help the Patriots more than the Bills. Bettors have been heavy on the Patriots this week, with the line waffling between Buffalo as 3-point and 2.5-point favorites. As of Friday morning, the Patriots were getting 2.5. Despite questions about Mac Jones’ ability to play in the cold, crappy weather does seem to favor a relatively run-heavy, defense-first team like the Patriots.

However, just because the Bills rely on the passing game doesn’t mean they can’t find success in the wind. Few quarterbacks in the NFL possess the arm strength Josh Allen has, and he was lauded out of Wyoming for his ability to cut the ball through the wind.

The weather is unlikely to be a major factor Monday night, but it is something to consider when watching (or handicapping) the AFC East showdown.

Thumbnail photo via Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports Images

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