The San Francisco 49ers host the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football this week, though the game will be played in Glendale, Arizona.
Wes Reynolds and Dave Tuley preview the game and break down their best bets.
Buffalo Bills at San Francisco 49ers (-1, 47)
Reynolds: The Bills (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS) head west to play in a venue (State Farm Stadium) where they played three weeks ago. The first trip to Glendale, Arizona did not go so well as that was the site of the “Hail Murray” where Kyler Murray found DeAndre Hopkins in the middle of three defenders to hand the Bills a 32-30 loss at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals.
Buffalo needed the bye week after that loss and rebounded with a 27-17 win and cover (-4.5) against the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday. Nevertheless, the Bills were sloppy in the victory as they committed three turnovers, including two from quarterback Josh Allen (interception, fumble) and were outgained by the Chargers. Now the Bills return to face a potentially resurgent 49ers (5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS) club that may be starting to get over the Super Bowl loss hangover and seems to be getting as healthy as they have been all season.
The 49ers broke a three-game losing streak last weekend with a 23-20 win in Los Angeles over the Rams as five-point underdogs. San Francisco held the Rams to just 308 yards and forced four turnovers. Many key contributors returned for last week’s game in LA including cornerback Richard Sherman, who had an interception and rookie defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw, who had a pick-six in his first game back from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Offensively, RB Raheem Mostert, who had missed four games with a sprained ankle, scored the Niners’ opening touchdown and receiver Deebo Samuel, who missed three games with a hamstring injury, had 11 catches for 134 yards. Tevin Coleman is also scheduled to return for this game after being sidelined for the last three games with a knee injury.
The Bills opened as 2.5-point road favorites on the lookahead line 10 days ago and were re-opened last Sunday night at around the same price. The professional bettors have gravitated towards the 49ers, as they are now 1-point favorites for Monday’s game. Now as the small underdogs, the Bills are in a positive recent trend having gone 6-1-2 ATS in their last nine games as a road underdog. This matchup may not be as much of a “Pros vs. Joes” type of matchup as both sides have seen plenty of support if the Circa Sports Million II contest is any indication. The Bills, as a pick-em, received the third-most entries in the contest, but the 49ers also received the seventh most entries out of the 30 teams in action for NFL Week 13.
As far as the total goes, the number opened at 48 but has declined slightly to the current number of 47. The Bills had a three-game Over streak snapped last week vs. the Chargers but are one of the NFL’s top Over teams this season at 8-3. The 49ers have gone Under in two straight games and are 5-6 to the Under on the season. With both Mostert and Coleman now back relatively healthy, San Francisco may look to establish the run against the Bills rush defense that ranks 22nd in DVOA per Football Outsiders. Buffalo also seemed to recommit to the running game last weekend with 172 yards on 30 carries.
The Bills are looking to win their first AFC East division title since 1995, but there are still some questions regarding how good this team really is. They will be able to answer those questions over these next two weeks with prime-time games tonight against the 49ers and next weekend on Sunday Night Football against the Steelers. Perhaps no team in the NFL has faced more adversity this season than the 49ers with so many injuries plus now having to relocate. However, a win here could set up a run into the playoffs with all winnable games down the stretch (Washington, at Dallas, at Arizona, vs. Seattle). San Francisco is about as healthy as they have been all season and looks to be peaking at the right time.
Tuley: Santa Clara County has shut down contact sports for at least three weeks, so the 49ers basically are moving everyone and everything to the Phoenix area. I’m sure it’s a big pain, but the Bills are also inconvenienced so I think it’s a wash and like the 49ers here, even as this line has flipped favorites.
The 49ers keep getting healthier and healthier as they showed with their upset of the Rams this past Sunday. The Bills are having a great season, but they’re another team that tends to let teams stick around (I’m specifically remembering their Week 3 win vs. the Rams where they let the Rams rally before pulling out the victory -- and the 49ers have swept the Rams, so that’s another reason I think this is a toss-up with the betting edge going to to 49ers).
I think the 49ers will win, but I'd avoid laying a late bad number with them. Remember what happened to Seahawks -6.5 bettors last Monday.
Pick: 49ers PK or better