Bills vs. Colts: Wild Card Playoff Round NFL Betting Preview – January 9, 2021

Posted By Staff on January 9, 2021

The Indianapolis Colts (11-5) visit the Buffalo Bills (13-3) in the AFC Wild Card round of the 2020 NFL Playoffs as underdogs on January 9, 2021 at 1:05 PM ET on CBS. The over/under is set at .

The game marks the 71st meeting between the teams in a series the Bills lead 37-32-1. The most recent game between the teams unfolded in Week 7 of the 2018 season when Indianapolis recorded a 37-5 win at Lucas Oil Field.

The majority of key offensive players on both sides have changed significantly despite that game having taken place just two seasons ago. Josh Allen was yet to ascend to the role of starter in what was his rookie season, while Andrew Luck was still under center for Indianapolis. The one exception is T.Y. Hilton, who recorded two touchdowns in that game despite having compiled just four receptions and 25 yards overall.

The betting insights in this article reflect betting data from DraftKings as of January 5, 2021, 1:41 AM ET. See table below for current betting odds and CLICK HERE to bet at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Bills vs Colts Betting Odds

Bills vs Colts Props

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Player props and trends

Josh Allen
Stefon Diggs
Philip Rivers
Jonathan Taylor

Betting breakdown

Despite only two victories separating these two teams’ regular-season records, the Bills, and the Allen/Stefon Diggs duo in particular, finished the season exhibiting such dominance that oddsmakers have an expectation of a relatively comfortable Buffalo win in this matchup. Thus far, the betting public agrees, judging by the history of this line.

The game opened at 6.5 points Sunday evening, and it’s continuously toggled between that figure and 7.0 since that point. The fact Buffalo rolls into this game with a six-game winning streak certainly plays a role, as does the fact the Bills were 7-1 straight up at home this season and 6-2 against the number there. Moreover, Allen and teammates boasted an 8.5-point margin of victory at New Era Stadium, along with a net ATS +/- of 7.7 points. That said, Indy was a solid road team versus the spread with a 5-3 mark and net ATS +/- of 3.4 points, but there’s no getting around the fact the hosts have clear advantages at quarterback, wide receiver, and arguably, defense, even as Colts star rookie running back Jonathan Taylor and ace complementary back Nyheim Hines outshine the Bills’ Devin Singletary and Zack Moss.

On the injury front, the most notable potential absence on either side is that of Buffalo’s Cole Beasley. The sure-handed veteran is dealing with a knee injury that cost him the Week 17 finale and has been deemed “week to week” by coach Sean McDermott. That naturally leaves his status firmly up in the air as of early in the week, but the Bills appear set to tolerate a potential absence thanks to the apparent return to full health of John Brown. The speedster generated a 4-72-1 line over 30 snaps in the blowout win over the Dolphins.

Points are certainly expected in this contest, with the total opening at 52.0 points and bouncing between that figure and 51.5 thus far. Each squad finished in the top 10 in scoring – Buffalo averaged an AFC-high 31.3 points per game, while Indianapolis put up 28.2 per contest. Then, each yielded over three TDs per game (Indy-22.6 PPG, Buffalo- 23.4 PPG), and given the offensive playmakers on the field on either side, there’s certainly reason to think the scoreboard will be busy.

Colts vs. Bills matchup

Colts coach Frank Reich rolled the dice on 17-year veteran Philip Rivers this season, betting on the likely future Hall of Famer’s well-established body of work and considerable talent and banking that his 20-interception blip with the Chargers in 2019 was an outlier. Rivers largely validated that faith, posting an impressive 24:11 TD:INT and completing 68.0 percent of his passes while adapting to a new team for the first time in his career. Given his considerable playoff experience, Rivers is now a key component of any potential success Indy might enjoy in the current postseason. Saturday, he’ll be tasked with helping the Colts keep up with what is an Allen-helmed offensive juggernaut on the other side.

The Bills will present a formidable challenge, however. Led by standout cornerback Tre’Davious White, Buffalo boasted one of the best secondaries in the league over the final three games of the season, yielding just 185.0 passing yards per contest, along with a minuscule 58.0 percent completion rate, during that span. The Bills also corralled 15 interceptions for the season and ranked in the top half of the league with 38 sacks and a 6.8 percent adjusted sack rate.

One of the ways Reich will look to keep some pressure off Rivers and his solid-but-unspectacular top receiving trio of Hilton, Zach Pascal and Michael Pittman is through a running game that hit peak form in Week 17. In what was admittedly one of the softest matchups for ground attacks all season, Taylor exploded for 253 rushing yards and two touchdowns versus the Texans. Buffalo presents nowhere near as easy a test, but the Bills were beatable on the ground occasionally while allowing 119.6 rushing yards per game and 4.5 RB yards per carry. Taylor is naturally expected to carry a heavy load once again as long as game script allows, with Hines spelling him on occasion and looking to exploit a defense that gave up a 76-594-1 line to RBs through the air.

For the majority of the season, the Colts had a reputation as one of the NFL’s best defensive units. They lived up to that reputation all the way through Week 17 in terms of their work against the run. Indy finished the campaign allowing the second-fewest rushing yards per game (90.5), including 77.5 per road contest. However, that prowess may not be of much benefit in this first-round battle. The Bills made no secret they’re prone to using the run only as an occasional respite for Allen’s arm. Singletary and Moss combined for just 268 carries on the season and the Bills ran on just 39.75 percent of their plays.

The good news for the home team is that their pass-happy tendencies dovetail particularly well with what clearly was revealed as the weak link of Indy’s defense as the season went on – the secondary. The Colts allowed a bloated 301.3 passing yards per game over their last three regular-season contests and 258.9 per road game for the season overall. Like the Bills, the Colts did snag 15 picks, so the still turnover-prone Allen will have to be mindful. Nevertheless, Indy’s vulnerability to the deep pass in particular could certainly provide a path to plenty of success, considering the speed of Diggs, Brown and Gabriel Davis, the latter who would fill the No. 3 role if Beasley were to sit out.

Betting the Total (Over/Under)

  • Bills games average 54.8 total points per game this season, equal to the over/under for this matchup.
  • Colts games average 50.8 total points, 1.2 fewer than the total for this matchup.
  • Buffalo and its opponents have combined to score more than 52.0 in nine games (56.2% of matchups).
  • In seven (43.8%) games this season, the Colts have combined with their opponents to go over 52.0 points.
  • The total for this matchup is 52.0 points, 7.5 fewer than the combined scoring average of the two teams.
  • The Bills are the second-highest scoring team in the league this year. The Colts have scored the ninth-most points.
  • The over/under for this game is set at 52.0 points, 6.0 points higher than the two teams’ opponents scoring average.
  • Indianapolis has surrendered the 10th-fewest points in the league this season, while Buffalo has given up the 16th-fewest.
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Bills Betting Insights

  • Most of Buffalo’s games this year — 11 out of 16 — have gone over the point total (68.8%).
  • Buffalo is 11-5 against the spread.
  • The Bills have an even ATS record of 1-1 when playing as at least 7.0-point favorites.

Colts Betting Insights

  • 9 of Indianapolis’ 16 games this year have gone over the point total (56.2% of its opportunities).
  • Indianapolis has compiled an 8-8 record against the spread this season.
  • The Colts are just 1-4 ATS when an underdog by at least 7.0 points.

Check out TheLines YouTube channel to learn more about betting tips and picks for this week’s NFL action.

When the Bills Have the Ball

  • The Bills have put an average of 31.3 points per game on the scoreboard this season, 8.7 more than the 22.6 the Colts have surrendered in each contest.
  • When they meet or exceed their scoring average this season, Buffalo is 6-0 and 6-0 against the spread.
  • Indianapolis is 8-0 overall and 6-2 against the spread this season in games where they allow fewer than 22.6 points.
  • The Bills hold a 64.3-yard advantage in total yards gained versus total yards allowed compared to the Colts defense this season (396.4 to 332.1). The Bills average 6.1 yards per play while the Colts give up 5.4 per play.
  • In contests where the Buffalo offense totals at least their average yard output this season, they are 6-2 against the spread and 8-0 overall.
  • When the Indianapolis defense allows less than their season average for total yards this season they are 5-3 against the spread and 6-2 overall.
  • The Colts have allowed opposing rushing attacks to average 90.4 yards per game in 2020 compared to the 107.6 yards the Bills offense has averaged on the ground per contest.
  • When Buffalo rushers gain at least a combined 107.6 yards this season, they are 6-0 overall and 3-3 against the spread.
  • This season, when the Indianapolis defense allows opponents to pick up less than 90.4 yards on the ground, they are 6-3 against the spread and 8-1 overall.
  • The Bills have turned the ball over 1.4 times per game this season, while the Colts have averaged 1.6 takeaways per contest.
  • In games where they turn the football over 1.4 times or fewer this season, Buffalo is 8-1 overall and 5-4 against the spread.
  • Indianapolis is 6-2 against the spread and 7-1 overall this season when they force at least 1.6 turnovers in a game.

When the Colts Have the Ball

  • The Colts score 4.8 more points per game (28.2) than the Bills allow (23.4).
  • When Indianapolis records at least 28.2 points, it is 5-1 against the spread and 6-0 overall.
  • Buffalo has a 6-0 record against the spread and a 6-0 record overall in games when it surrenders 31.3 points or less.
  • The Colts collect 25.7 more yards per game (378.1), than the Bills allow per outing (352.4). The Colts average 5.9 yards per play, while the Bills give up 5.5 per play.
  • Buffalo’s record last season when they racked up at least their season average in total yards: 6-2 overall and 6-1-1 ATS.
  • In games Buffalo keeps its opponents to 352.4 or fewer yards, it has a 4-3 record ATS and a 6-1 record overall.
  • The Colts rush for 124.8 yards per game, just 5.2 more yards per game than the 119.6 the Bills allow per contest.
  • When Indianapolis runs for at least 124.8 yards, it compiled a 4-3 ATS record and a 6-1 overall record.
  • This season, Buffalo is 7-2 against the spread and 9-0 overall when holding opponents to no more than 119.6 yards on the ground.
  • This year, the Colts turn the ball over 0.9 times per game, just 0.7 fewer turnovers per game than the 1.6 the Bills force on average.
  • Indianapolis has a 6-1 record against the spread and a 7-0 record overall when it turns the ball over 0.9 times or less.
  • This season, Buffalo has an 8-1 record against the spread and an 8-1 record overall when it forces at least 1.6 turnovers.

Get the best betting breakdowns and picks on TheLines sports betting podcast

Bills Players to Watch

  • Josh Allen has thrown for 4,546 yards while completing 69.2% of his passes (396-of-572), with 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 16 games this year (284.1 yards per game). He’s also carried the ball 102 times for 420 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 26.3 yards per game.
  • Devin Singletary has ran for a team-leading 686 yards on 156 attempts (42.9 yards per game) while scoring two touchdowns in 16 games. He also averages 16.8 receiving yards per game, grabbing 38 passes for 269 yards.
  • In 13 games in 2020, Zack Moss has run for 481 yards on 112 carries (37.0 ypg), with four rushing touchdowns.
  • This season, Stefon Diggs has 127 catches (on 168 targets) to lead the team with 1,535 yards (95.9 per game) with eight touchdowns in 16 games.
  • Gabriel Davis’ statline this year shows 35 catches for 599 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 games. He puts up 37.4 receiving yards per game and has been targeted 62 times.
  • John Brown has caught 33 passes on 52 targets for 458 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 45.8 yards per game in 10 contests in 2020.
  • A.J. Klein has notched a team-leading 5.0 sacks, while adding 5.0 TFL and 73 tackles over 16 games.
  • Jordan Poyer has totaled 119 tackles, 4.0 TFL, two sacks, and two interceptions to lead the team in tackles so far in 16 games over the 2020 campaign.
  • Levi Wallace has picked off two passes to lead the team while adding 47 tackles, 1.0 TFL, and eight passes defended 13 over games.

Colts Players to Watch

  • This year, Philip Rivers has put up 4,169 passing yards (260.6 yards per game) while going 370-for-544 (68% completion percentage) and throwing 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 16 games.
  • Jonathan Taylor has taken 232 attempts for a team-leading 1,169 rushing yards (73.1 yards per game) while scoring 11 touchdowns in 16 games. He’s also caught 36 passes for 299 yards (18.7 receiving yards per game) with one touchdown through the air.
  • Nyheim Hines has 380 yards on 89 carries (23.8 ypg), with three rushing touchdowns over the course of 16 games. He also has 64 catches for 482 yards (30.1 ypg) and four touchdowns.
  • T.Y. Hilton has been targeted 93 times and has 56 catches to lead the team with 762 yards (50.8 ypg) with five touchdowns in 15 games this season.
  • Zach Pascal has also contributed with 44 catches for 629 yards and five touchdowns over 16 games this year. He has been targeted 71 times and puts up 39.3 receiving yards per game.
  • Michael Pittman Jr. has caught 40 passes on 60 targets for 503 yards and one touchdown, averaging 38.7 yards per game in 13 contests in 2020.
  • DeForest Buckner has 9.5 sacks to lead the team, and has also added 10.0 TFL and 59 tackles over 16 games.
  • Darius Leonard has totaled 129 tackles, 7.0 TFL, and three sacks to lead the team in tackles so far in 14 games over the course of the 2020 campaign.
  • Kenny Moore II has a team-high four interceptions and has tacked on 79 tackles, 4.0 TFL, two sacks, and 12 passes defended 16 in games this season.

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