The Buffalo Bills (1-0) have earned a lot of respect from oddsmakers following their impressive season-opening victory against the Indianapolis Colts and hope to make it two straight wins when they host the New England Patriots (1-0) on Sunday. This AFC East matchup is set as a close one on the odds despite the fact that the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots have won 26 of the past 29 meetings with the Bills.
Point spread: Patriots opened as 1.5-point favorites; the total was 46 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).
NFL pick, via Odds Shark computer: 24.2-21.8 Bills
Why the Patriots can cover the spread
New England has lost just once to Buffalo in a meaningful game since 2003, and that took place four years ago at Ralph Wilson Stadium in a 34-31 upset as a seven-point road favorite. Last year’s regular-season finale meant nothing to the Patriots, who obviously were not bothered by that loss, as they still went on to capture their fourth Super Bowl title after resting their starters.
New Bills head coach Rex Ryan also did not have much success stopping them when he was with the New York Jets, as they dropped seven of the last eight games in that series. With New England quarterback Tom Brady coming off a great performance in the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he will stay motivated to beat Ryan’s defense again as his vindication tour hits the road.
Why the Bills can cover the spread
Ryan compared Buffalo’s defense to the best he has ever coached in an interview with NFL Network's LaDainian Tomlinson (h/t BuffaloBills.com), and that’s saying something considering he went to the AFC Championship Game twice with the Jets. He would love nothing more than to knock off Brady and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who has become his nemesis over the years in the AFC East.
Despite losing seven of the past eight meetings when Ryan was with the Jets, they covered the spread in five of six, with the last four all decided by three points or less. The jury may still be out on new Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor as well, but he does give them a new look and a player New England is not familiar with heading into the game.
This game is close on the odds for a reason and seems eerily similar to the last time the Patriots lost to Buffalo. The Bills are a talented team defensively who can get to Brady and force him into mistakes.
The emotional roller coaster he has been on the last few months while the Deflategate saga was playing out culminated with an exciting win over the Steelers, but there will be a letdown at some point. This could very well be the spot, and Ryan has the players who can get the job done. Take Buffalo in an upset.
The Patriots are 26-3 straight up in their last 29 games against the Bills.
The Bills are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games.
The total has gone under in the Bills' last four games at home in September.