Bills vs. Colts Betting Predictions

Bills vs Colts NFL Wild Card
Buffalo vs. Indianapolis, NFL Betting Predictions, Wild Card Game, January 9

There might not be a team in the NFL playing better than the Buffalo Bills heading into the NFL Wild Card games. Yes, the Bills have won six straight entering the playoffs, but if not for a Kyler Murray Hail Mary, Buffalo might be riding a 10-game winning streak into the postseason. The Indianapolis Colts pulled away late to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17, but also received some help from the Bills squishing Miami in the finale to secure their postseason berth. It’s going to take a much better effort than what Indianapolis has shown the last two weeks to slow down the Bills, and I don’t think the Colts are up to the task.

Bills vs. Colts Betting Odds

Indianapolis has left a lot to be desired with its second-half execution over the last few weeks of the season. The Colts blew a 17-point third-quarter lead to the Steelers in Week 16 then nearly squandered a 13-point halftime lead against Jacksonville in Week 17. If not for the play of Jonathan Taylor over the last month of the season, it would have been a far different season for the Colts. Taylor had a career day last week against the Jaguars with 253 yards and two touchdowns on 30 rushes, bringing him up to seven touchdowns and a 6.67 yards per carry average over the final four games of the regular season. The challenge of course is how to parlay that rushing success into more passing threats, and that is where Indianapolis has struggled. The renaissance of Philip Rivers in the middle of the season deteriorated over the final two weeks when Rivers looked slightly above average.

The Colts defense has feasted all season on its ability to create turnovers and Indianapolis was 7-1 when the defense had multiple takeaways. The question is how will the secondary, which ranks 20th in the NFL against the pass, hold up against a Bills team that has just dissected every defense it has played over the last six weeks of the season?
Indeed, the Bills offense has been stunning over the last six weeks, putting to rest any concerns from that weird sequence in the middle of the season. Josh Allen should be in the conversation for NFL MVP with 46 total touchdowns (37 passing, eight rushing and a receiving score) this season while completing 69.2 percent of his passe. Over the last five games, Allen has thrown 15 touchdown passes with a completion percentage above 70 percent and he’s averaging 303.2 yards per game. That includes the fact he threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns in just one half of action against Miami in Week 17. It’s impossible to talk about Allen’s progression without talking about Stefon Diggs, who led the league in both receptions and receiving yards this season. Diggs has a streak of three straight 100-yard performances stopped in Week 17, but he still caught seven passes for 76 yards in one half against the Dolphins. The return of John Brown from injury is a big boost for the Bills offense, enough for them to overcome the potential absence of Cole Beasley, who is week-to-week with a leg injury. And that says nothing about a Bills defense that has forced at least one turnover in five of the last six games, including three games with multiple takeaways. The unit allowed six of Buffalo’s first 10 opponents to score more than 24 points, but only the Dolphins scoring late against the second-string defense in Week 17 managed to eclipse that total in the final six games of the season.

The legal sports betting sites in New Jersey had their hands full trying to set NFL wild card lines and NFL wild card odds on this game. They set the over/under on this playoff game at 51.5 points, putting a lot of pressure on the Colts defense to keep this Bills offense in check. Buffalo has scored at least 38 points in three straight games and have topped 30 points in four of its last five games. Indianapolis has kept five straight opponents to less than 30 points since allowing 31 to Green Bay and 45 to Tennessee in consecutive weeks. This, however, is the Colts’ biggest challenge since those two games, and I am very bullish on the over 30 points for the Bills at -108 odds. Allen and the first-team offense have really limited their mistakes since the bye week, and have just picked apart some far better defenses than the Colts. The question is whether or not Taylor and the Colts offense can get anything going against a Bills defense that has been opportunistic in recent weeks and held four of its five opponents before Week 17 to less than 20 points. I’m not actually convinced this game will reach 50 total points given how well the Bills have been playing on both sides of the ball. I give the Colts credit for slowing down the Bills offense, but I don’t think Indianapolis scores enough, so I’m going to bet under 48.5 total points at +135 odds instead.

Bills to win

The NFL betting sites have installed the Bills as 6.5-point favorites, and that still doesn’t seem like enough for this Buffalo squad. The Bills have won their last six games by double digits, including the last three by at least 29 points. Buffalo isn’t just winning, it is dominating on both sides of the ball and proving themselves as the team with the most momentum heading into the playoffs. Allen casually tossed three touchdown passes in the first half last week against the league’s top-ranked scoring defense, and the Bills kept piling in Week 17 against the Dolphins. The Colts have looked anything but stable the last three weeks of the season and don’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with this Buffalo offense right now. There’s no reason to get too crazy on the football betting sites, so I’ll bet the Bills laying 11.5 points at +155 odds.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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