The Buffalo Bills (13-3) have waited nearly 25 years to host a playoff game, and now, with record-setting quarterback Josh Allen, they’ll do just that. Facing an Indianapolis Colts (8-8) team that has found its groove in the running game, the Bills enter as favorites with a spot in the divisional round on the line. Given that Buffalo hasn’t won a playoff game since 1995, there’s a lot riding on this for the franchise.
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Allen, Bills soar into playoff meeting with Colts as NFL’s hottest team
A common sports trope is the idea of peaking at the right time, and no team has exemplified that better in the 2020 NFL season than the Buffalo Bills.
Yes, they’ve won 13 games (tied for the most in their 61-year franchise history). But they’ve also covered in 11 of those games — including eight in a row! Oh, and we’re not talking about just skating by on the spread. The Bills have made oddsmakers look downright silly, covering by a margin of nine or more points in six games on this current ATS streak.
Of course they’re the home favorites, giving 6.5 points (-115 at 888Sport) to the Bills on various betting sites. That line is fascinating, though, because it might finally give Buffalo the respect it has earned this season.
Consider that in Buffalo has been favored 11 times this year. In that span, though, they’ve only faced a spread of 6.5 points or more on three occasions: Week 1 vs. the Jets (6.5-point favorites, covered); Week 7 vs. the Jets (9.5-point favorites, didn’t cover); and Week 16 vs. the Patriots (7-point favorites, covered).
So the Bills are 2-1 ATS as favorites of 6.5 or more, but all three of those matchups were against weak divisional opponents, who finished with a combined 9-23 record.
The Colts are a far tougher foe, and they have something Buffalo hasn’t seen much of this year: a truly dominant rusher. Indianapolis’s Jonathan Taylor (1,169 rush yards and 11 touchdowns) will likely win AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year, but first he’ll be tasked with carrying the load against Buffalo.
Taylor has seven rushing touchdowns over the past four weeks and exploded for 253 rushing yards in Week 17 against Jacksonville. He has also averaged over four yards per carry in each of his past six games.
Buffalo is the better team, and their current ATS streak is no joke. But they haven’t had to cover a spread of this size against a team as talented as Indianapolis, so we’ll take the points with the underdog.
- Buffalo is 8-2 ATS in its past 10 games
- The OVER has cashed in six of the Bills’ past nine games
- Indianapolis is 5-5 ATS in its past 10 games
- The UNDER has cashed in six of the Colts’ past 10 games
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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University).
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