The calendar has flipped to December, which means that weather should now be a factor in handicapping. That becomes even more important when you're playing a night game in an outdoor stadium in western New York. We're all guilty of not checking the weather, placing a bet on a game to go over the total, turning the TV on, seeing a monsoon and knowing our bet is toast.
Since the middle of last week, it was looking likely that weather would impact "Monday Night Football." However, we all know about the accuracy of weather forecasts so some might have been hesitant to act quickly on that information. Exchanging a potential edge for more certainty is a decision each bettor must make based on his or her risk tolerance. After opening at 44.5 points, the total for Buffalo-New England currently sits at 40.5 points at BetMGM.
The impact of the forecast
At times last week, there were forecasts that Monday's game might be impacted by massive snowfall and bitter-cold temperatures. While it won't be that bad, weather will still definitely make an impact.
Temperatures will be near freezing and the wind-chill will make it feel like it's 20 degrees. There has been a snow and rain mix falling all day, but the forecast during the game says there's only a 10-20% chance of precipitation impacting play.
The largest impact will come from wind. Wind is expected to be blowing a consistent 30-35 mph, with gusts reaching over 40 mph.
The average wind for an NFL game is under 7 mph. In games with double-digit mph winds, the under hits at over a 55% rate. This game's winds are expected to be well over double-digits. Quarterback performance and kicking games are most impacted by heavy winds.
A recent example of winds messing with NFL games comes from last season. The Cleveland Browns played back-to-back home games against the Raiders and Texans with winds over 25mph in both contests. The two games combined for just 39 points. Deshaun Watson threw for just 163 yards, while Derek Carr threw for 111 yards. Baker Mayfield threw for 122 yards and 132 yards in the two games.
The betting impact
As noted earlier, the total for this game has dropped four points since the opening number. After opening with a total of 44.5 points, the total for Bills-Patriots now sits at a very low 40.5 points.
The betting public doesn't seem to be scared off (or maybe they're unaware) by the forecast as 52% of the bets placed are on the game to go over the total. However, sharper bettors are definitely aware of what's on tap in Orchard Park on Monday. Seventy-four percent of the money wagered in this game is on the under, which has helped drive this line down.
One bettor risked $257,267 on "No" that both teams will score over 40 points. If the bet wins, the bettor will profit $2,573 dollars. This bet has a very good chance of hitting in most games, but it's made even more likely by the forecast.
Which team has the advantage?
Currently, the Patriots are a popular underdog as they're getting over 50% of the action at BetMGM as 3-point underdogs.
My original thought is that this type of weather favors New England. They're a team that focuses on running the ball and I'm confident that Bill Belichick will lean on the run and perfect a game-plan based on the conditions. This weather is nothing that he hasn't seen before. Buffalo doesn't run the ball much with their running backs, so their offense will either need to adjust or it could potentially struggle.
One could argue that the quarterback matchup favors Buffalo in this weather. Josh Allen played college football in often windy Laramie, Wyoming. He's also adept at running the ball himself and he isn't a rookie. Mac Jones grew up in Florida and played his college football at Alabama. He probably doesn't have much experience in this type of weather.
It's a huge game in the AFC East and the weather will only add another interesting element.