Wild Card Weekend is here! We’ve got six games to break down, and there’s nowhere to start but with the first game of the weekend. I present my Colts at Bills betting preview.
I’ve got a few props and a game pick. For a full breakdown of offensive matchup breakdowns, check out the math over here: NFL Wild Card Weekend Bets: Matchup Breakdowns.
Additional game previews, props and picks will be shared throughout the week on Twitter, so make sure you’re following, @griffybets. Let’s get to it!
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
Saturday, 1:05 PM EST, CBS
Line: Bills -6.5
#7 Indianapolis (11-5 overall), (8-8 ATS)
#2 Buffalo (13-3 overall), (11-5 ATS)
Indianapolis Passing Offense
Receiving grade (16) vs. Bills Pass Coverage grade (11)
Passing DVOA (16) vs. Bills Pass Defense DVOA (12)
Net difference: -9
Indianapolis Rushing Offense
Running grade (3) vs. Bills Rush Defense grade (30)
Rushing DVOA (12) vs. Bills Rush Defense DVOA (17)
Net difference: +32
Buffalo Passing Offense
Receiving grade (3) vs. Colts Pass coverage grade (6)
Passing DVOA (3) vs. Colts Pass Defense DVOA (8)
Net difference: +8
Buffalo Rushing Offense
Running grade (14) vs. Colts Rush defense grade (13)
Rushing DVOA (22) vs. Colts Rush Defense DVOA (9)
Net difference: -14
Player Props to Target: Colts
The Colts rushing attack, specifically Jonathan Taylor, is the clear target in our first Wild Card game of the weekend.
Coming off a monster 253-yard performance, Taylor gets a weak Buffalo run defense, evidenced above.
If you’ve been following me for a few weeks now, you’ll know a Net difference like this for the Indy running game is a clear target. It’s the second-biggest disparity of the weekend. The PFF difference is particularly juicy.
Taylor is the bellcow of this offense, averaging 19.8 carries per game in his last six.
Prop pick: Jonathan Taylor OVER 75.5 rushing yards
Player Props to Target: Bills
The Indy defense is strong, though certainly slipping of late. Points per game never tells the entire story, but since Week 11 – the defense is allowing 25.8 ppg.
The Buffalo offense starts and ends with the passing game – and this week should be no different. Josh Allen has been magnificent this year. As such, my eyes are on a Buffalo receiver to have a big game against a vulnerable Indianapolis secondary.
In the same time span as above, the defense is letting receivers rack up an average of 207.7 yards per game.
Prop pick: Stefon Diggs TD (+115)
The pick has to be Diggs, the NFL’s leader in both receptions and receiving yards. Leading the league would also give him the crown of the Bills’ top receiver – in case you needed that context.
There is some buzz about Diggs’ being injured, so keep an eye on news out of Buffalo, but I’d expect him to be good to go in this one.
Receivers have caught six touchdowns against the Colts in their last three games, and as the leader of this pass-first offense, I think Diggs finds the end zone. If you need more, he is the leader in redzone targets among all Buffalo pass-catchers.
While his yardage total at 90.5 is high, he’s averaging 118 yards per game in his last five. For now, I’m sticking with just a Diggs score, but am leaning on his over in yards as well.
Elsewhere in this receiving room, Cole Beasley is questionable, John Brown has returned to the lineup, and rookie Gabriel Davis has emerged as a playmaker, playing over 90% of the snaps (sans Brown) and third on the team in targets.
All three of these lines will be low given the crowded room – and it just reinforces my faith in Diggs as the safest play.
Allen is going to get the ball to his receivers, and one or more will have a big game – who do you think it will be?
Colts at Bills Betting Preview: Thoughts on the Spread
Bills are currently 6.5-point favorites at home. The matchup breakdowns skew in favor of Indianapolis, so I can’t recommend you take Buffalo to cover here. Jonathan Taylor seems poised for a big game against this defense, though they’ve surrendered 100+ yards in just two of their last six games.
Game flow is partly to thank for that, given that Buffalo has won nine of their last ten games. I expect the Colts to keep pace with the Bills offense, at least at first.
Allen is the superior player to Philip Rivers, and I believe in these Bills to make a deep playoff run.
6-pt teaser: Bills pk, over 45 (-115)
That will do it for the first of many Wild Card previews. Breakdowns for every game can be found here. Make sure you’re following on Twitter, @griffybets, for my latest. Thanks for reading, and good luck this weekend!