We’ll preview the game before telling you how to bet with our final pick and prediction.
Buffalo Bills Playoff Preview
The Bills have scored 17 or fewer points in their last four games, but that has been enough because they have been doing it with defense. The Bills boast the second-best defense in the NFL. Buffalo is giving up just 14.8 points and 298.2 total yards a game this season. They also had 44 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, and 14 interceptions on the year. Cornerback Tre’Davious White has been excellent in coverage, and he will draw a huge assignment against DeAndre Hopkins in this one.
On the other side of the ball, much will ride on how quarterback Josh Allen performs in his first playoff game. Allen has been solid overall, especially when he incorporates his legs, but this game will come down to how well he throws and takes care of the ball.
In the Bills’ 10 wins this season, Allen has a 64.9% completion rate, 15 touchdowns, and six interceptions while averaging 7.4 yards per pass attempt. In Buffalo’s six losses, however, he has just a 48.6 % completion rate, and he averaged a measly 5.5 yards per attempt while throwing five touchdowns and three interceptions. He will likely lean on his productive duo of running backs in Devin Singletary and Frank Gore, but this game will largely be dictated by how well Allen plays against this defense.
Houston Texans Playoff Preview
The key for Houston will be protecting Deshaun Watson. The Texans are notorious for not protecting their Pro Bowl quarterback, and if they want to win this game, they will have to hold their own against a very fierce Bills defense.
Will Fuller’s status remains unknown, but it will be a significant blow for the Texans if he cannot play–and right now all signs are pointing to him sitting, or at least being limited. Fuller is the team’s second-leading receiver, and he provides an excellent third option along with All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills. Houston will miss him if he can’t go.
But the biggest story for the Texans is the return of the soul of the Houston defense in J.J. Watt, who was activated Tuesday after missing the bulk of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. The degree to which he will be involved could be limited, but his presence alone will spark this defense. And they need a spark. The Texans are allowing 23.4 points a game, which ranks 22nd in the league.
Bills vs. Texans Betting Trends, Line and Pick
*NOTE: all numbers and percentages that follow are courtesy of Odds Shark.
Game Time: Saturday, January 4, 4:35 p.m. ET
Location: NRG Stadium in Houston
Spread: Bills +2.5
Over/Under: 44 points
Odds Shark currently has the Texans winning the game by a projected score of 23-21, with the Bills covering the spread and the total score going over 44 points.
Some trends relating to both teams to consider:
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Buffalo’s last 6 games.
- Buffalo is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games against Houston.
- The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Buffalo’s last 15 games on the road.
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Buffalo’s last 5 games this season.
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Houston’s last 9 games.
- The Texans are 10-5 SU in their last 15 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Houston’s last 5 games against Buffalo.
- Houston is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games at home.
The Texans are allowing over 121 yards rushing per game and the Bills are the eighth-best rushing team in the league, gaining 128.4 yards per game on the ground. This will be the difference in this game. Watt very likely will be playing in a more limited role, and while he will provide a spark, I think the Bills will do just enough on offense — and I think Buffalo’s defense will have a dominant day. I’m with Odds Shark on the OVER, however. I think both teams will score enough to just put the total over 44 points.
Final Prediction: Bills 24, Texans 21 (Bills +2.5)