When the Bills travel to take on the Saints in an unofficial Thursday night game to complete the NFL Thanksgiving action (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC), it will be about two fading playoff teams trying to get back on track.
Buffalo (6-4) has fallen to the No. 7 seed position in the AFC playoff picture. New Orleans (5-5) likewise has dropped to the final spot in the NFC playoff picture. Barring a tie, one team will keep slipping while the other will get off the mat.
The Bills have slowed down offensively with Josh Allen and last week their stout defense was ripped on the ground by Jonathan Taylor and the Colts. The Saints are struggling to find an offensive identity with Trevor Siemian starting at QB and running back Alvin Kamara (knee), their top offensive weapon, missing time. Their strong run defense also got burned in Week 11, by Jalen Hurts and the Eagles.
Will the Bills get caught looking ahead to the Patriots? Or will the Saints think too much about next week’s shot at the Cowboys?
Here’s everything to know about betting on Bills vs. Saints in Week 12, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for the 2021 NFL Thanksgiving game.
Bills vs. Saints odds for NFL Thanksgiving
- Spread: Bills by 6
- Over/under: 45.5
- Moneyine: Bills -270, Saints +220
The Bills march into New Orleans as near touchdown favorites despite falling hard to the Colts at home and traveling rather far on a short week. The Saints, however, have lost three consecutive games to the Falcons, Titans and Eagles. The number is about right there, as well as the total given the usual defensive strengths of both teams.
(betting odds per FanDuel Sportsbook)
Bills vs. Saints all-time series
The teams have met only 11 times, with the Saints going 7-4 in the series. From 2001 through ’17, the Saints have won have five consecutive games to turn a deficit into domination. The Bills last won in New Orleans in December 1998.
Three trends to know
—67 percent of spread bettors expect the Saints to do the home night underdog thing in desperation mode and keep the game closer than six points, denying the Bills a road cover.
—81 percent of over/under bettors think the modest total is too high and going with the under given how the Bills and Saints have struggled on offense and face good defenses.
—The Bills are 5-4-1 against the spread along with their 6-4 straight-up record. The total has gone over in half of their games. The Saints are 5-5 ATS to match their record, but the total has gone over in six of their games.
Three things to watch
Wil there will be more Taysom Hill?
The Saints just re-did Hill’s contract to motivate him as either a special jack of all offensive trades for Sean Payton or their straight-up starting quarterback soon. Hill has been hurting, first with a concussion and than a foot injury. But he’s healthy now and Siemian (right hand) is playing through an issue of his own. With Kamara and Mark Ingram (knee) hurting, New Orleans desperately needs to throw the wrinkle of Hill at the Bills’ defense.
Stefon Diggs vs. the Saints
He burned them for the “Minneapolis Miracle” when playing wide receiver for the Vikings. Also, in two regular-season games against the Saints, Diggs has caught a combined 17 of 19 targets for 212 yards and 3 TDs. In his past two games for the Bills, Diggs has caught a combined 12 of 19 targets for 185 yards and 3 TDs. The Saints do have Marshon Lattimore, but they can be ripped elsewhere. Safety Marcus Williams will never forget how Diggs got past him in the playoffs.
The Bills’ run defense
There’s no Taylor type in this game with Kamara on the shelf. The Bills still have the No. 9 run defense in the NFL despite Taylor pounding them into submission last week. Should they shut down the Saints behind a weakened offensive line missing Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat and Ryan Ramczyk, they should win easily.
Stat that matters
181.8. That’s how many passing yards per game on average the Bills are yielding this season, second only to the Panthers. The Saints, meanwhile, are No. 22 giving up on average 252.2 passing yards per game. Allen should feel rather comfortable with a pass-happy approach. Siemian, on the verge of losing key playing time to Hill, is headed to more major struggles at home after throwing a pick six against the Eagles.
Bills vs. Saints prediction
The Bills are a much more talented and put-together team with coach Sean McDermott. They have hit a snag with Allen needing to adjust to defenses and having some limitations in the passing game. But Diggs and defense can do plenty of damage alone to take care of business and avoid falling into a trap.
Bills 27, Saints 17