The New England Patriots have two possible paths to the playoffs in Week 18. The most straight-forward among them is simply beating the Buffalo Bills on Sunday: it’s a win-and-your-in scenario for New England, and a victory over their division rivals would secure them the final wild card spot.
Of course, winning in Buffalo is easier said than done — and the opening odds for this week’s contest show that the Patriots are facing an uphill battle in this one. DraftKings Sportsbook has currently listed them as 7.5-point underdogs.
That number is big, but it does not come as a surprise.
For starters, home field advantage is usually worth about a field goal. The other 4.5 point difference can easily be explained by a) Buffalo having already beaten New England earlier this year with a final score of 24-10, and b) the Bills being one of the best teams in football, something the Patriots very much are not based on their season so far.
The over/under for the game has been set at 42.5, but things are still subject to change on Monday night: the Bills will close out Week 17 with a primetime matchup against Cincinnati. Depending on their performance in that one, the line for next week’s game might be moving one way or another.