Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots: 2022 Week 13 NFL Pick

Buffalo Bills (8-3) at New England Patriots (6-5)

Throughout the 2021 season and through the first two games of this season, when the Bills won, they always won big, winning 14 straight games by 12 points or more, with an average margin of victory of 23.4 points per game, while 6 of their 7 losses over that time frame came by 7 points or fewer. However, since week 3, the Bills have played much closer games, with five of six wins coming by 10 points or fewer. They’ve also lost three games over that time frame, though all three came by three points or fewer and could have easily gone the other way.

The biggest reason why the Bills haven’t been blowing opponents as much lately is because they haven’t been at full strength. This week, they’ll have to play without top edge defender Von Miller for the first time this season, which a huge loss and an absence that is drawing a lot of attention in this game, but, other than that, the Bills are actually going to be a lot healthier this week than they’ve been in recent weeks, which should offset Miller’s absence. 

On defense, their other talented edge defender Greg Rousseau is set to return from a 3-game absence and stud linebacker Tremaine Edmunds will return from a 2-game absence, while their offense will welcome back center Mitch Morse from a 1-game absence. The Bills also got top cornerback Tre’Davious White back for the first time all season last week and should get much more of a contribution from him in his second game back this week and they will still have talented safety Jordan Poyer healthy, after he missed four games earlier this season. 

The Bills aren’t at full strength, missing Miller and continuing to be without their other talented safety Jordan Poyer and their talented starting left tackle Dion Dawkins, but, even with all of their injuries thus far this season, the Bills still rank first in the league in schedule adjusted efficiency, about 9.5 points above average and, in their current state, my roster rankings have the Bills about 9.5 points above average as well. 

The Patriots, meanwhile, are much more of a middling team, playing at a high level on defense, but struggling on offense, which is the more predictive side of the ball, and, because of that, we’re getting a little bit of line value with the Bills, even as favorites of more than a field goal on the road in New England. I would need this line to drop all the way down to a field goal for the Bills to be worth betting, as 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal and a Buffalo win by exactly a field goal is a strong possibility, but my calculated line is Buffalo -6, so they’re still the right side for pick ‘em purposes at -3.5.

Buffalo Bills 26 New England Patriots 20

Pick against the spread: Buffalo -3.5

Confidence: Low

Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions: 2022 Week 12 NFL Pick

Buffalo Bills (7-3) at Detroit Lions (4-6)

A week ago on the early line, the Bills were 10-point favorites for this game in Detroit, but the line has since moved to 9.5. That’s not a huge line movement, but 10 is a key number, with about 6% of games decided by exactly 10 points, and the line movement happened despite the fact that the Lions will be missing top cornerback Jeff Okudah and their starting guards Evan Brown and Jonah Jackson this week. The primary reason for the line movement is the Lions pulled the upset over the Giants last week, but that is not as impressive as it might seem, as the Giants were an overrated team that was nowhere near as good as their 7-2 record, with all seven of their wins coming by one score and five coming against teams that are among the worst in the league (4-7 or worse).

The Bills, meanwhile, almost always blow out their opponents, with an average margin of victory of 20.4 points across 19 wins over the past two seasons (19-10), and they are favored by 12.5 points on my calculated line against a mediocre Lions team that is missing several key players due to injury. There isn’t enough here for the Bills to be worth betting, but they should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes, as this seems likely to be the Bills’ 18th double digit win over the past two seasons.

Buffalo Bills 31 Detroit Lions 20

Pick against the spread: Buffalo -9.5

Confidence: Low

Cleveland Browns vs. Buffalo Bills: 2022 Week 11 NFL Pick

Cleveland Browns (3-6) vs. Buffalo Bills (6-3) in Detroit

This ends up being a neutral site game for the Bills, with their matchup against the Browns being relocated to Detroit because of a snowstorm in Buffalo. Despite that, the Bills are still favored by 7.5 points, suggesting they’re that much better than the Browns. The Bills do typically blow out their opponents, with an average margin of victory of 21.1 points across 18 wins over the past two seasons (18-10), but they haven’t been playing as well as late due to injuries on defense. Already without talented safety Micah Hyde, the Bills are also without talented edge defender Gregory Rousseau and, while they get back their other talented safety Jordan Poyer this week, they will be without stud linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. 

The Browns, meanwhile, are relatively healthy and, while they are 3-6, they have been relatively competitive in most of their losses, with four of six coming by three points or fewer. My calculated line still gives us some line value with the Bills as 8-point neutral site favorites, but that’s barely anything and the Browns are in the better spot as well, with the Bills having to play again in a few days on Thanksgiving, with favorites covering at just a 44.6% rate all-time before a Thursday Night Football game. This is just a low confidence pick, but I like the Browns for pick ’em purposes.

Buffalo Bills 30 Cleveland Browns 24

Pick against the spread: Cleveland +7.5

Confidence: Low

Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills: 2022 Week 10 NFL Pick

Minnesota Vikings (7-1) at Buffalo Bills (6-2)

In ordinary circumstances, I would like the Bills this week. They lost to the Jets as 11.5-point favorites in a close game last week, but the Jets are at least a decent team and teams tend to bounce back from big upset losses anyway, covering the spread at a 58.3% rate all-time after a loss as 10-point favorites or more. This week, the Bills face the Vikings, who, at 7-1, now have a better record than the Bills, but most of the Vikings’ wins have been close, with six of seven coming by eight points or fewer points or fewer, while four of the Bills’ six wins have come by ten points or more, a trend that dates back to the start of last season, over which time they have a margin of victory of 21.1 points per game in 18 victories, while all but eight of their nine losses have come by seven points or fewer. The Vikings have also benefited from a +6 turnover margin, which is not predictive, while the Bills are only at +1.

Unfortunately, these are not ordinary circumstances, as the Bills are in a terrible injury situation. Not only is quarterback Josh Allen not expected to play because of an elbow injury that could get worse, but the Bills are missing key players on defense as well. Already without talented safety Micah Hyde, the Bills will be without their other talented safety Jordan Poyer, whose absence was felt in the Bills’ loss last week, and also will be without talented edge defender Greg Rousseau, who will miss his first game of the season this week.

Assuming Allen is out, my calculated line is even, with backup Case Keenum being serviceable, but an obvious downgrade. This line is at Buffalo -3, but it probably takes into account the possibility that Allen does play, even if the chances are slim. Allen’s uncertainty makes this game tough to bet, as the Vikings would probably be worth betting at +3 if Allen didn’t play, but there’s still a chance he could and, if he’s ruled out, the line will likely drop. I’m taking the Vikings for a low confidence pick for now, but I could have an update before game time depending on Allen’s status and where this line ends up.

Update: Josh Allen looks like he will unexpectedly play and start for the Bills and, as a result, the line has moved up to 6. If I knew Allen was healthy and would play the whole game, the Bills would be bettable at that number, getting good line value in a good spot, but how well and how much Allen plays is still somewhat in question, so this is going to be a no confidence pick.

Buffalo Bills 27 Minnesota Vikings 20

Pick against the spread: Buffalo -6

Confidence: None

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets: 2022 Week 9 NFL Pick

Buffalo Bills (6-1) at New York Jets (5-3)

The Jets are 5-3, but are 11.5-point home underdogs against the Bills, the first time a team has been home underdogs of 11 points or more despite a record 5-3 or better since the 2007 Giants were 10-5 against the undefeated New England Patriots in week 17. In some sense that makes sense, as the Bills blow out almost everyone they beat, with an average margin of victory of 21.1 points per game over the past two seasons, as opposed to a margin of defeat of 7.1 points per game.

However, this line still does seem a little high. The Jets have significant problems on offense, missing starting wide receiver Corey Davis, impressive rookie running back Breece Hall, and talented starting right tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker, among other lesser absences, but their defense is legitimately one of the best in the league, ranking 3rd in schedule adjusted defensive efficiency. They could make this game at least somewhat competitive with the Bills and, while they’re still likely to lose by multiple scores, my calculated line has them as just 9-point underdogs, so we’re getting some value with them at +11.5. There’s not enough here for the Jets to be worth betting, but they’re the better side for pick ‘em purposes.

Buffalo Bills 23 New York Jets 13

Pick against the spread: NY Jets +11.5

Confidence: Low

Green Bay Packers at Buffalo Bills: 2022 Week 8 NFL Pick

Green Bay Packers (3-4) at Buffalo Bills (5-1)

The Packers have started 3-4, a year after going 13-4, but their drop off isn’t all that surprising. Despite their record last season, the Packers finished just 10th in point differential and 11th in overall efficiency, despite an MVP season from Aaron Rodgers who, as good as he is, was no guarantee to play at quite the same level in 2022, now in his age 39 season. Add in the loss of by far their top wide receiver Davante Adams this off-season and some regression was to be expected from them, especially on offense.

In many ways, things have gone how you might expect, given the circumstances. The Packers’ defense has remained middling, ranking 17th in defensive efficiency in 2021 and 18th in 2022, but their offense has fallen off significantly, falling from 4th in offensive efficiency a year ago to 16th this season, while their horrendous special teams that ranked dead last efficiency a year ago has only been slightly better this year, ranking 28th. All in all, the Packers rank just 23rd in overall efficiency when adjusted for schedule, about two points below average, and my roster rankings only have them slightly higher, about one point above average. Despite the big name at quarterback, this team isn’t much more than a slightly above average team any way you look at it.

Making matters worse, now the Packers have to go on the road to face arguably the best team in the league, the Buffalo Bills, who rank first in my roster rankings and in schedule adjusted efficiency, about 12.5 points and 12 points above average respectively. This will be especially tough for the Packers because they tend to struggle away from home, in large part due to Aaron Rodgers having a 10 point drop off in QB rating on the road in his career, significantly above average. This line is 11, which is high, but I don’t think it’s quite high enough, with my calculated line at Buffalo -15.5. If that seems high, consider that 15 of the Bills’ last 17 wins have come by 12 points or more, with an average margin of victory over those 17 wins of 21.8 points per game, dating back to the start of last season. There isn’t quite enough here for the Bills to be worth betting, but they should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes.

Buffalo Bills 31 Green Bay Packers 16

Pick against the spread: Buffalo -11

Confidence: Low

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs: 2022 Week 6 NFL Pick

Buffalo Bills (4-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-1)

You could make a strong argument that these are the two best teams in the league. Both have a loss, unlike the league’s lone remaining undefeated Philadelphia Eagles, but both losses were very close and they are the two highest ranked teams in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, with the Bills leading the league and having a .7 point edge over the Chiefs. My roster rankings reflect that as well, with the Bills having a 1.2 point edge over the 2nd ranked Chiefs, especially now that they are getting healthy, with tight end Dawson Knox, center Mitch Morse, interior defenders Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips, safety Jordan Poyer, and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds all in the lineup this week after missing time earlier this season.

The Bills may be a little overvalued though, as 2.5-point favorites on the road in Kansas City. These two teams are closer than that suggests and the Chiefs should at least be slight favorites at home in this matchup, with my calculated line at Kansas City -1.5. I would need a full field goal for the Chiefs to be worth betting against the spread, but the money line is a good value at +125 and the Chiefs should be the pick for pick ‘em purposes, as this game should be a toss up at worst.

Kansas City Chiefs 31 Buffalo Bills 30 Upset Pick +125

Pick against the spread: Kansas City +2.5

Confidence: Low

Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills: 2022 Week 5 NFL Pick

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3) at Buffalo Bills (3-1)

The Bills won a close game over the Ravens last week, but that was an anomaly for this team over the past two seasons, as they previously were 0-7 in one-score games since the start of last season, including playoffs. The flip side of that is all 14 of their wins over the past two seasons, including playoffs, came by 12 points or more, prior to last week’s 3-point victory in Baltimore. Even with last week’s win taken into account, the Bills have an average margin of victory of 22.1 points per game, leading to them ranking 1st in schedule adjusted efficiency in each of the past two seasons.

That suggests this should be another blowout for the Bills, at home against a Steelers team with a mediocre offense and a defense that is not nearly as good without TJ Watt. The Steelers are just 1-3, rank 23rd in schedule adjusted efficiency, and could be 0-4 if they didn’t win a game week one in which the Bengals turned the ball over five times and missed two makeable game winning kicks, also the only game of the season in which Watt played. That being said, this line is all the way up to 14 and this game actually could be closer than people think, for a couple reasons.

For one, the Bills are not nearly at full strength due to injury. Already without arguably their two best defensive backs Tre’Davious White and Micah Hyde, they’ll be without their third star defensive back Jordan Poyer this week, while tight end Dawson Knox and slot receiver Jamison Crowder are out and every down linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and defensive tackles Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips are highly questionable. 

The Bills are also in a tough spot with a much bigger game against the Chiefs on deck, with favorites of more than a touchdown covering at just a 42% rate all-time before facing an opponent with a winning percentage 50% higher than their current opponent, which is likely to be the case here. I can’t take the Steelers with any confidence unless all of the questionable Bills are out, but they should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes either way, with the Bills banged up and likely to overlook this game, in between a big win against the Ravens and a game against the Chiefs next week.

Buffalo Bills 26 Pittsburgh Steelers 13

Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh +14

Confidence: None

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens: 2022 Week 4 NFL Pick

Buffalo Bills (2-1) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

The Bills lost last week in a close 2-point game in Miami, which has been a common theme for them in the past couple years. Since the start of last season, 7 of the 8 Bills’ losses, including playoffs, have come by one score or less, while all of their 14 wins over that span have all come by 12 points or more. The Bills finished the 2021 season ranked 1st in schedule adjusted efficiency and still lead the league in 2022, even after last week’s close loss. I would still consider them the Super Bowl favorites.

The Bills were also far from healthy in last week’s loss. While top cornerback Tre’Davious White and stud safety Micah Hyde remain out, the Bills could get back center Mitch Morse, safety Jordan Poyer, interior defender Ed Oliver, and cornerback Dane Jackson this week. If the Bills had even half of those players last week, they likely would have prevailed in Miami and, with at least some of those players expected to return this week, the Bills should be expected to prevail in Baltimore as well.

Unfortunately, the public still really likes the Bills, even after last week’s loss, so we’re not getting much line value with them as 3-point road favorites against a good Ravens team. I’m still taking the Bills for pick ‘em purposes, but this is a no confidence pick and I ultimately may end up flipping my pick to the Ravens depending on the final injury reports as, in addition to the aforementioned questionable players for the Bills, the Ravens could be set to get a key player back from injury in Ronnie Stanley. Either way this is likely to be a no confidence pick though.

Buffalo Bills 31 Baltimore Ravens 27

Pick against the spread: Buffalo -3

Confidence: None

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins: 2022 Week 3 NFL Pick

Buffalo Bills (2-0) at Miami Dolphins (2-0)

Coming into the season, I considered the Dolphins overrated. They thought they’d be significantly better on offense than a year ago, with Tua Tagovailoa going into his third season, with Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson being added to his receiving corps, Chase Edmonds being added to his backfield, and Terron Armstead and Connor Williams being added to his offensive line, but they were starting from a pretty low base point, ranking 26th in offensive efficiency last season. The Dolphins had a solid defense last season, ranking 11th in defensive efficiency, and they returned all of their key players from a year ago, but lost defensive minded head coach Brian Flores were likely to have more injuries than a year ago, when they had the fewest adjusted games lost to injury on defense. 

The Dolphins have started 2-0, but I still think they are a little overrated, even if they have exceeded my expectations. In their week 1 victory over the Patriots, they were very reliant on the turnover margin, as they were +3 in that department, leading to a 20-7 win, despite only winning the yards per play battle by 0.18 and losing the first down rate battle by -0.85%. They followed that up with a win in Baltimore, the Dolphins were about even in first down rate (+0.53%) and yards per play (-0.83) against a very banged up Ravens team that blew numerous coverages. Overall, they rank just 21st in overall efficiency, despite their 2-0 record.

The Bills, meanwhile, are properly rated, rightfully seen as the best team in the league, ranking 1st in overall efficiency by 3.5 points over the next best team, a year after finishing the season as the #1 overall team in efficiency by 5.5 points over the next best team. They’re also in a great spot, coming off of a blowout win on Monday Night Football, which tends to carry into the next week, with teams going 61-39 ATS all-time after a MNF win by 21 points or more. 

Unfortunately, the Bills are not healthy enough to bet them confidently this week, missing a pair of key interior defenders Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips, starting cornerbacks Tre’Davious White and Dane Jackson, and talented starting safety Micah Hyde. We are still getting some line value with the Bills as 5.5-point road favorites, as my calculated line is Buffalo -7, even with all of their defensive injuries, but there isn’t enough here for the Bills to be worth betting.

Update: Safety Jordan Poyer and center Mitch Morse are unexpectedly out for the Bills, two big losses. This line has dropped to 4.5, but that’s insignificant line movement, so I am dropping all confidence on this game.

Buffalo Bills 30 Miami Dolphins 24

Pick against the spread: Buffalo -4.5

Confidence: None