The Buffalo Bills (10-6) travel to Texas this Saturday to battle the Houston Texans (10-6) in an AFC Wild Card Game. Kickoff is set for 4:35 PM EST on January 4th at NRG Stadium and the game will be nationally televised on ABC and ESPN.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Texans listed as 2.5-point home favorites. The spread hasn’t moved at all after early betting, as Houston is currently available at -2.5. The total for this matchup is 43.5 points.
Texans vs Bills Game Odds & Betting Preview
The Bills lost two straight games to close out the regular season, finishing 10-6 on the year overall. Buffalo couldn’t find a way to get past the New York Jets their last time out, falling 13-6 at home. QB Josh Allen only made five passing attempts in what turned out to be a meaningless game in the AFC East standings after New England closed out the division in mid-December. As a whole, the Bills averaged almost 20 points per game on offense during the regular season.
Buffalo was exceptional defensively this year, holding their opponents to an average of just 16 points per games. The Bills were especially strong defending against the run, barely allowing over 100 yards per game on the ground.
The Texans saw their two game winning streak come to an end last weekend after losing 35-14 at home against Tennessee to close out the regular season 10-6 overall. Houston gave up two touchdowns in the first half and never recovered, getting outscored by the Titans 21-7 over the final 30 minutes of the game. A.J. McCarron got the start at quarterback after the offense decided to rest several key starters with a playoff spot already locked up. Overall, the Texans averaged 24 points and over 350 total yards of offense per game this year.
Houston really struggled at times defensively during the regular season, surrendering an average of 24 points and close to 400 total yards of offense per game. The Texans had no answer for teams through the air all too often, getting lit up for 267 passing yards per outing.
Free NFL Betting Predictions and Pick: Bills +2.5
A case could easily be made for avoiding the opening game of the 2020 NFL Playoffs entirely on Saturday afternoon, as both the spread and the total currently look very efficient. If I was forced to pick a team to cover the number, I’d probably lean just slightly towards taking the 2.5 points and rolling with the road underdog in a game they could easily win outright. While Buffalo averaged nearly five less points per game than the Texans this year, the Bills defense gave up over a full touchdown less per outing than a shaky Houston defense allowed their opponents to average. Historically speaking, I’d much rather back the team that boasts the superior defense in a close matchup – especially in the postseason where the margin for error is extremely small.
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It is also worth noting that the Bills have enjoyed the upper hand against the spread in this AFC rivalry in recent years, covering the number in two out of their last three battles against Houston. Buffalo was absolutely outstanding against the spread on the road this year as well, going 6-1-1 ATS through eight games away from New Era Field. On the other side, the Texans are a very alarming 1-4 against the spread in their last five outings at home. Houston has also really struggled in the postseason over the past decade or so, covering the number just once in their last five games during the month of January. All things considered, I’m going to take a shot with the road favorite in this AFC Wild Card matchup – give me the Bills to cover the number!