The first of six Wild Card weekend games kicks off in Buffalo, New York on Saturday. The Buffalo Bills welcome the Indianapolis Colts for what should be an exciting matchup (1.05pm ET Saturday; Live on TV: CBS).
How will our Colts at Bills predictions fall? Read this full preview with betting picks.
The Bills enter Saturday’s game as one of the hottest teams in the NFL. They have won six games straight and are 8-0 against the spread since Week 9. They were the best team in the league against the spread in the regular season with an impressive 11-5 record and were 6-2 ATS at home and 4-1 ATS as a home favorite. They will be in a familiar spot as sizable home favorites with the major U.S. bookies on Saturday. They dismantled the playoff-hopeful Dolphins by 30 points last week despite resting several starters and sitting many key pieces in the second half of the game.
The Colts finished the season with an 8-8 record against the spread and were 5-3 ATS on the road. They were 5-2 on the road as favorites and only played one game as an away underdog, which they lost to the Browns 31-23. They don’t have much experience this year on the road in games they were expected to lose. This may prove to be an uncomfortable spot for the veteran-led Colts.
The Colts’ secondary has been exploited for much of the season, which makes for a tough matchup against Josh Allen and the high-flying Buffalo attack. During the regular season the Colts allowed 241.6 passing yards per game (20th) and they were even worse in the final three games of the year. Over the last three games they allowed 301.3 yards per game through the air, which was fifth worst in the league during that stretch. This could prove to be the key matchup of the game. The Bills were third in average passing yards per game (288.8) and were even more explosive over their last three games (357.7).
Josh Allen has cemented himself as one of the top quarterbacks with an MVP-caliber season. Allen had career highs in passing yards, passing touchdowns, completion percentage and only threw one more interception (10) than his career low (9) last season. Allen currently has the second best MVP odds only behind Aaron Rodgers. The Bills have one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and will be a matchup nightmare for the Colts.
Stefon Diggs led the league in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,535). He is the weapon that this Bills’ offense has been missing for years. He can stretch the field and makes all of his teammates that much better. The Bills averaged 84.0 more yards passing per game this season and 12.0 points more on average. This is a massive jump mainly due to the progression of Allen and the addition of Diggs. I expect them to continue their strength on offense and runaway from the Colts.
The Bills’ defense has been playing much better as of late and will look to dominate the aging Philip Rivers. Over their last three games the Bills have only allowed 185.0 yards passing per game, which is fourth best in the NFL. Where they can be exploited is on the ground. This lends to what the Colts do well. They are 11th in both average passing yards per game and average rushing yards per game, but over their last three games they have been dominant on the ground. They have averaged 175.7 rushing yards per game in their final three games and rookie running back Jonathan Taylor has led the way.
Last week against the Jaguars Taylor had 253 yards and two touchdowns. The Bills will need to try to limit the downhill runner and make veteran quarterback Philip Rivers beat them through the air, which will prove difficult. Rivers has thrown 11 interceptions on the season and the Bills rank tied for 3rd in the NFL with 0.9 interceptions per game. I expect the Bills to get an interception or two and put their explosive offense in good positions.
Our Betting Preview’s Indianapolis Colts vs Buffalo Bills Predictions & Picks Opinion & Advice
I am going to be playing the Bills as home favorites. On the season they have been dominant against the spread in this position. They are currently sitting at -6 or -6.5 points on the spread in most spots and I think they can easily win this game by a touchdown or more.
Their offense will be entirely too much for the Colts to handle and I don’t think Rivers and the Colts will be able to put up enough points to keep the game close. The weather in Buffalo looks like it will be below freezing for the entire game, which may prove difficult for a dome team like the Colts.
Indianapolis is 2-3 straight up and against the spread in the five games they played outdoors this season. Philip Rivers is 1-5 (0-3 in the playoffs) straight up in games where the temperature is freezing or colder. Look for the frigid weather to be a big home field advantage for the Buffalo Bills.
I will also be looking later in the week at the Bills team total over. I was initially looking at the game total over the points, but I don’t know if the Colts will be able to hold up their end of the bargain. I think the Bills will be able to put up enough points to cover their team total over. I also will be looking at a player prop, which are not currently available. I will be playing Josh Allen over touchdown passes. These props are generally set at over/under 1.5 touchdowns and I would love to play that over. Allen has thrown for two or more touchdowns in 13 of his 16 games this season. The Colts defense has allowed 1.5 touchdown passes per game on the season and over their last three they have allowed 2.3 passing touchdowns per game.
As for the picks, the one that appeals most for my Colts vs Bills predictions verdict is this: