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Betting Breakdown: NFL Week 13 vs. Buffalo Bills

Coming off a back-and-forth Thanksgiving night defeat, the New England Patriots (+3.5) return to Foxboro - along with their red throwback jerseys - for a primetime matchup against divisional rival Buffalo Bills.

Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38).
Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38).

Coming off a back-and-forth Thanksgiving night defeat, the New England Patriots (+3.5) return to Foxboro - along with their red throwback jerseys - for a primetime matchup against divisional rival Buffalo Bills. After opening the week as a 5.5-point underdog, the Patriots now sit as just a 3.5-point home underdog, with Buffalo receiving over 75 percent of the public bets on the DraftKings Sportsbook.

The battle Thursday night will feature two of the top defenses in terms of points allowed. Buffalo's 18.1-points allowed per game rank fifth-fewest in the league, while New England sits just one spot behind (18.4). In a projected cold Foxboro night, the point total sits at 43.5.

As we welcome December football to Foxboro, here are four bets to watch in the primetime matchup.

Sturdy Stevenson

The Rhamondre Stevenson show should continue for the Patriots' offense Thursday night with Damien Harris (thigh) ruled out. While Stevenson could find some success on the ground against Buffalo, his continued production through the air could be a bigger advantage for New England.

Stevenson's work in the passing game has been extremely valuable to New England's offense this season. He leads the team with 50 receptions and is third with 359 receiving yards. In his last five games, the second-year back has hauled in 33 of his 38 targets for 273 yards.

Opportunities should continue to be available through the air for the Patriots' lead back as Buffalo currently ranks 20th in DVOA on passes to running backs this season, and also have been poor at tackling after the catch. With Buffalo paying top attention to New England's downfield concepts, look for Stevenson to have plenty of room to operate underneath.

The pick: Rhamondre Stevenson Over 35.5 receiving yards (-110)

Downfield DeVante

In last year's matchups against Buffalo, the Bills smothered the Patriots' passing attack by playing lots of man-to-man coverage with inside leverage. This took away lots of New England's key passing concepts in the middle of the field.

The Patriots will need to have new offensive wrinkles to beat the Bills this go around, which could feature things outside the numbers and deeper play-action shots downfield (where Jared Goff torched them last week for 128 yards and two touchdowns). One receiver we like in both of those areas? The 6-foot-3 DeVante Parker.

While Buffalo welcomed the return of Pro Bowl cornerback Tre'Davious White last week, their cornerback group has struggled at times this year. If New England can get one of Buffalo's weaker links lined up across from Parker, look for Mac to target his big-play threat often.

The pick: DeVante Parker Over 35.5 receiving yards (-115)

Red Sleeves

If the Patriots want any chance of slowing down Josh Allen and the Bills Thursday night, their pass rush needs take over the game. New England learned the hard way last year that allowing Allen to operate from a clean pocket, or extending plays with his legs, is a recipe for disaster. In last year's Week 16 defeat, Allen had an average time to throw of 3.22 seconds. He finished with 314 passing yards and three scores, with an additional 64 yards on the ground.

On Thursday, New England's pass rush needs to be aggressive, but disciplined, to disrupt Allen. They will have to quickly get after the Pro Bowl quarterback to force him into quick decisions, where he then has the second-most turnover worthy plays in the league this season while under pressure.

As Matthew Judon said himself this week, last game against Minnesota (who did not have starting left tackle Christian Darrisaw) was not his usual statistical performance. A repeat performance from the Patriots' premiere pass rusher will lead to similar results, especially with the Bills now without their starting left tackle Dion Dawkins. Look for a bounce back game from the man in red sleeves.

The pick: Matthew Judon Over 0.75 sacks (+105)

Primetime Points

While a classic Bill Belichick defensive game plan can certainly give Buffalo fits, it's hard to contain Josh Allen and his array of weapons for a full 60 minutes. The Patriots offense had issues with the Vikings' passing attack last week, and similar struggles could come against Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Isaiah McKenzie, etc.

As for New England, their offense will look to build off the success from last Thursday. Buffalo's defense is no easy task to do that against (described as "the best defense in the league" by quarterback Mac Jones), but with their inconsistent cornerback play and the absence of Von Miller up front, the Patriots should find ways to move the ball.

A similar script from the Thanksgiving game would be no surprise this week, especially as eight of New England's last 11 games at Gillette Stadium have gone over the point total.

The pick: Total Points Over 43.5 -110

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