The NFL’s Wild Card Weekend kicks off Saturday with an AFC showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills. The Bills (13–3) have emerged as one of the league’s most dangerous teams behind quarterback Josh Allen and come into the 2021 NFL playoffs after a 56–26 victory against the Dolphins to close the season. The Colts (11–5) are led by veteran quarterback Philip Rivers and explosive rookie running back Jonathan Taylor.
Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. ET at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. William Hill Sportsbook lists Buffalo as a 6.5-point favorite in its latest Colts vs. Bills odds, with the over-under is 51.5. Before making any Bills vs. Colts picks or NFL predictions, be sure to check out the latest NFL predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up almost $7,900 for $100 players on top-rated NFL picks since its inception five-plus years ago. It is a sizzling 23–13 on top-rated NFL picks this season, returning well over $800. The model also enters the 2021 NFL Playoffs on an incredible 119–77 run on top-rated NFL picks that dates back to the 2017 season.
The model ranked in the Top 10 on NFLPickWatch three of the past four years on straight-up NFL picks and beat more than 95 percent of CBS Sports office pool players three times during that span. Anyone who has followed it is way up.
Now, the model has broken down Colts vs. Bills. You can head to SportsLine to see the picks. Here are the NFL odds and trends for Bills vs. Colts:
Colts vs. Bills spread: Buffalo -6.5
Colts vs. Bills over-under: 51.5
Colts vs. Bills money line: Indianapolis +255, Buffalo -310
Colts: RB Jonathan Taylor has rushed for 741 yards and seven TDs over the past six games
Bills: QB Josh Allen has 15 touchdown passes over the past five games
Why the Bills can cover
Buffalo is 6–0–1 against the spread in its last seven games following a straight-up win of more than 14 points, and the offense scores more than 30 points per game. The Bills are second in the league in total yards per game (396.4) and Allen is fifth in passing yards with 4,544. The addition of receiver Stefon Diggs during the offseason made a major difference, and he leads the NFL in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,535).
The Bills have covered five straight games against AFC foes and can turn to the run if needed. Allen has 421 rushing yards, while backs Devin Singletary and Zack Moss have combined for 1,168 and six TDs. Buffalo’s defense is third in the league with 26 takeaways, with Tre’Davious White and Jordan Poyer patrolling the secondary. White has three interceptions and two fumble recoveries, while Poyer has a team-high 124 tackles and two picks.
Why the Colts can cover
Indianapolis is 15–7 against the spread in its last 22 games against teams with a winning record, and Taylor’s emergence has been a major boost. The rookie ran for 253 yards in the victory against Jacksonville to give him 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. He averages five yards per carry for a unit that averages almost 125 per game.
The defense is tied for fifth in the league with 25 takeaways and ranks second against the run (90.5 yards per game). Linebacker Darius Leonard is the catalyst, leading the team with 132 tackles and adding three sacks and two fumble recoveries. The front four is relentless, with DeForest Buckner posting 9.5 sacks, Justin Houston adding eight and Denico Autry seven.
How to make Colts vs. Bills picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Under on the total, with the model suggesting the defenses will make plenty of impact plays. It also says one side of the spread hits in more than 50 percent of simulations, and you can only get the pick here.
So who wins Bills vs. Colts on Saturday in the NFL Playoffs 2021? And which side of the spread cashes more than 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the Bills vs. Colts spread to back, all from the advanced model on a 119–77 run on NFL picks.
The Colts opened the week as seven-point underdogs — the third-biggest spread of the week — against the Bills, who have truly been on fire to end the season. But the Colts are fine embracing the underdog role even in the playoffs.
It takes the pressure off of them to perform, and Reich believes it will allow them to play loose and aggressive.
“I’d rather be the one seed, but I do feel good about our team more than anything. The pressure is not on us,” Reich said. “We should be in there, we should be loose, we should be aggressive, we should be freed up to just play our best game of the year against a really good football team because essentially like you said, in reality no one is going to give us a chance.”
In terms of Vegas, the Colts haven’t been viewed as underdogs much this season. It has happened a few times when injuries or COVID-19 struck and took out a key player for a week.
But for the most part, the Colts have been favorites against some pretty good teams. That said, Indy hasn’t faced many teams like the 13–3 Bills, who finished the season winning nine of their last 10 games.
“It’s that us-against-the-world mentality and that’s all you need,” Reich said. “When you’re with this team the way I am day in and day out, you would know where I get the confidence to feel like we have the team to beat anybody in this tournament.”
It should be a fun game between two teams who match up well against each other and even though Indy might not be favored, they are content playing the role of the underdog to begin the playoffs.
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