The hits keep coming for the Buffalo Bills who have gone 3-5 SU (2-5-1 ATS) since beating the Chiefs in Arrowhead in Week 5. Now they’ll look to bust a two-game losing skid at home Sunday versus the Carolina Panthers who have been plagued by poor quarterback play and have dropped three in a row themselves.
Can Josh Allen put this team on his shoulders and carry them to a playoff spot despite an injured foot? Can the Panthers get some competent QB play and keep their slim playoff hopes alive or are they really a Bottom-5 team? Find out in our free picks, predictions and NFL odds for Panthers vs. Bills.
Panthers vs Bills odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
Buffalo was -9.5 on the look-ahead but opened at -11.5 after Week 14’s games before settling back down to 10.5. The total was 45 on the look-ahead and opened at 44.5 where it’s been pretty stable.
Panthers vs Bills predictions
Predictions made on 12/16/2021 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Panthers vs Bills game info
• Location: Highmark Stadium, City, State
• Date: Sunday, December 19, 2021
• Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
• TV: FOX
Panthers at Bills betting preview
Panthers: DJ Moore WR (Questionable), AJ Bouye CB (Out), Christian McCaffrey RB (Out).
Bills: Star Lotulelei DT (Questionable), Emmanuel Sanders WR (Out), Tre’Davious White DB (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Bills are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games vs. teams with a losing record. Find more NFL betting trends for Panthers vs. Bills.
Panthers vs Bills picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
Coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Buccaneers last week, the Bills will have to move on and look towards their Week 15 opponent if they want to maintain their slim lead in the AFC playoff race. In the Bills’ five losses over their last eight games, they’ve seen the Buccaneers, Patriots, Colts, Jaguars and a Titans team with Derrick Henry. Outside of the Jaguars game, you’re looking at three of the best offenses at the time of those games and the Pats in a typhoon. This is still the No. 3 defense and No. 5 offense in success rate and gets an opponent they can bully in Week 15.
The biggest news coming out of Buffalo is the health of Josh Allen. He is dealing with a sprained foot and has been limited at practice but is trending towards playing. If Allen gets in a full practice on Thursday or Friday, this line could actually move north of 10.5.
Even a less-than-100-percent Allen could take advantage of this wilting Carolina defense that has allowed 89 points over its last three games versus mediocre offenses in Atlanta, Miami and Washington. Matt Rhule has very little to play for and with the team’s disaster of a quarterback situation, there can’t be a lot of hope and motivation coming out of this locker room.
Cam Newton has not been what the doctor ordered for the QB-less Panthers. When you have to bench your No. 1 for P.J. Walker, things are going south. Over the last three games, the Carolina offense has totaled just 828 yards of offense with six turnovers and five failed fourth-down conversions. Two of Newton’s turnovers last week turned into 13 points for the Falcons. Newton has lost 11 straight starts with the Panthers.
Rhule described the offensive errors as “self-inflicted wounds” and with no personnel changes on the horizon this week and a possibly banged-up D.J. Moore, we doubt these errors are self-corrected by Sunday.
The Bills’ defense still averages two takeaways per game and should have plenty of chances to get the offense back on the field as Carolina has five losses on the year where they have committed at least three turnovers. The Panthers still have a gauntlet to finish the season and have the Bills and the Buccaneers (x2) in three of their final four games.
The Bills comfortably beat the Saints, 31-6, three weeks ago as 7-point road favorites and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say the Saints would be a favorite over Carolina in a neutral setting. This Carolina offense does not have the personnel to play catchup — especially against a still underrated Buffalo defense.
Prediction: Bills -10.5 (-110)
Much like many other games on the slate this week, this Buffalo-Carolina total will be heavily dependent on the favorite. With a total of 44.5, Carolina is sitting with a team total of 16.5. We just don’t see the QB play of Carolina moving the ball with any consistency and topping that number as they haven’t topped 350 yards of offense despite putting up over 20 points in three of its last four games.
Like we mentioned above, this is still an elite Buffalo defense and the loss of Tre’Davious White won’t make as big a difference versus the Panthers as other teams. Buffalo has held its opponents to just 18.3 points per game at home this year and that includes giving up 41 to the Colts.
We also don’t want to hitch a ride on the Over with Allen’s foot injury. Sean McDermott may take some serious precautions with his star QB in what should be an easily winnable game if the Bills can keep from turning the ball over. The Patriots are on deck for Boxing day and having Allen at 100 percent in that massive game will be of the utmost importance.
Protecting Allen could mean some more clock-eating rushes for Brian Daboll’s offense that hasn’t gained more than 70 running-back rush yards per game over its last three contests. To Buffalo’s credit, that was against the Buccaneers, Patriots and Saints.
The Panthers are coming off a game where they allowed 133 rushing yards to the Falcons who are in the Bottom 5 in rushing yards per game at 91 on the season. Week 15 would be a great time to get the running game going for the Bills who could possibly see a poor rush defense in the AFC playoffs.
Protecting Allen is crucial this week which has us leaning on the Under.
Prediction: Under 44.5 (-110)
The Panthers’ points total of late is a little suspicious. They have totaled 86 points over their last four games but they had McCaffrey for 34 of those points versus Arizona and the combination of Walker and Newton have totaled just 184.3 yards per game since taking over. They’ll struggle to run versus the Bills who are a Top-10 run defense as Chuba Hubbard was held to 10 carries and 33 yards with a long of 17 last week versus a Bottom-5 rush defense in Atlanta.
Buffalo could cover this game with 21 points. Coming off a tough loss last week versus Tampa makes this less of a look-ahead spot for Buffalo with New England in Week 16 as a rebound will be the focus. If Allen gets in a full practice Friday we could possibly see this line move as we’re starting to see some 11s pop up as of Thursday.
Don’t let the record fool you, this is a Bottom-5 or -6 Carolina team right now — I expect the Bills to get up and stay up on Sunday.
Pick: Bills -10.5 (-110)