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Week 13: Buffalo Bills vs. Oakland Raiders Total Points Bet

Buffalo Bills(6–5) @ Oakland Raiders(9–2)

  • Where: Oakland Alameda Coliseum. Oakland, California
  • When: December 4, 2016 4:05 pm EST
  • Spread: Bills +3.5 (-110) vs. Raiders -3.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Bills +155 vs. Raiders -185
  • Over / Under: Over 49.5 (-110) vs. Under 49.5 (-110)

The Oakland Coliseum is currently one of the most exciting arenas in all of professional sports, with the Raiders currently holding the number 1 overall seed in the AFC. Every home game in Oakland is an exciting one in 2016, and this week it’s the Buffalo Bills coming to town.

Bills Raiders Week 13 Total Points BetThe Bills currently sit at 6 wins, nursing a two-game win streak since their Week 10 bye. In a strong division and a strong conference, their playoff chances are slim, but after so many years of irrelevance the Bills are now just playing for pride.

The Raiders, on the other hand, have surged in 2016 and won five straight. The last time they won five in a row was also the last time they went to the playoffs, and they seem poised this season to go back. However, with their 5 remaining games all against playoff contenders, it’s not a sure thing just yet.

Let’s take a look at each team individually, and try and see what value this matchup might hold for interested parties.

Buffalo Bills Trying to Run Their Way into Contention

The Buffalo Bills haven’t yet made it to the playoffs in the 21st century, and have taken last place in their division in 9 out of those 16 seasons. Perhaps not coincidentally, 2000 was also the year that the Patriots drafted Tom Brady, who subsequently carried the Patriots to victories over the Bills 26 times out of their 29 meetings.

To compound Buffalo’s issues in the division, not only are the Patriots good as always, but this year the Miami Dolphins have also surged forward. Nursing a 6-game win streak, the Dolphins would hold the 6 seed in the playoffs if they started Week 13.

So the Bills’ chances of making the playoffs are pretty infinitesimal at this point. However, Buffalo is still in the rebuilding phase, with head coach Rex Ryan, quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and running back LeSean McCoy all in their second year with the team. Developing skill players and an identity matter more to the Bills than the playoffs right now.

And the most important step they can take towards developing an identity is winning a game: despite the fact that their record shows 6–5, you could make the argument that the Bills have yet to notch a legitimate win in the 2016/17 season.

Here are their 6 wins: They’ve beaten the fraudulent Cardinals, the Jacoby Brisset-led Patriots, the pre-Jared Goff Rams, the 1–10 49ers, the post-A.J.-Green-injury Bengals, and finally the 2–9 Jaguars. But even in that game against the Jags, there were five lead changes and they ended up winning by one score.

Perhaps most perplexing of all with this team is the fact that they’ve somehow managed to sneak into first place in the league in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and average yards per rushing attempt. With the two-headed RB attack of Shady McCoy and Mike Gillislee (as well as a healthy dose of mobile quarterback Tyrod Taylor), the Bills manage to move the ball on the ground even in defeat.

However, leading the league in rushing attempts has not been without consequences, as the Bills also lead the league in both team turnovers and fumbles. In general, the Bills are an inexperienced team in a rebuilding phase that has become very exciting on offense since the acquisition of Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy, but has yet to establish an identity as a disciplined, playoff-ready football team.

Finally, one important injury note to keep in mind for the Bills: Cornerback Ronald Darby left last week’s game against the Jaguars with a concussion and did not return. With the length and extensiveness of the concussion protocol in the 2016 NFL, it’s unlikely that Darby will return to the field against the Raiders. Darby leads the Bills’ secondary in tackles and is tied for the league in passes defensed.

Oakland Is Back: Raiders Trying to Prove They’re Bulletproof

The Oakland Raiders are hot as a pistol all of the sudden, surging through a 5-game win streak that has included two prime-time games. Their last game against the Panthers was emblematic of why they’ve become so exciting.

Derek Carr left the game in the third quarter of Week 12 with what looked to be a dislocated or broken finger, leaving Raiders’ fans everywhere to panic. At the time, the Raiders were weathering the storm of the biggest comeback the Carolina Panthers’ could muster, as Cam Newton’s offense erased a 17-point halftime deficit with 25 unanswered points.

However, Derek Carr came back on the field wearing a black and silver glove after missing only a single series. His first play upon returning was a bullet thrown over the middle for a first down.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Khalil Mack had a very tangible impact on the game. He picked off Cam Newton and took it to the house for a touchdown before halftime, caused a ton of pressure along with Bruce Irvin during the Panthers’ final comeback drive, and ultimately closed out the victory with a fourth down strip sack, putting an end to the comeback once and for all.

This has been the Raiders’ season so far: tough, smash-mouth football off of superb defensive line play and seemingly bulletproof offensive production.

Derek Carr has now led the Raiders to four 4th-quarter comeback victories, and holds the league lead in 4th-quarter passer rating. In addition, numerous gutsy calls have paid off for coach Jack del Rio, beginning with the walk-off 2-point conversion in Week 1 vs. the Saints. The confidence this inspires in both players and fans is tangible, and a big reason for their strong home-field advantage.

Derek Carr merely jammed his finger, so there shouldn’t be any major cause for concern over his ability to get back on the field against the Bills. However, the Raiders situation may nonetheless be pretty precarious.

The Raiders are still a very young team, and haven’t finished better than 3rd in the division since Rich Gannon was out of the broadcast booth and onto the field, back in 2002. They are the most penalized team in the league, with some players that are still young and undisciplined.

It’s still unclear how well Oakland will be able to handle their recent success. They’ve yet to face that game where the offense just doesn’t click and the defense is inexplicably unable to bring pressure.

If they want to keep building confidence and try to stretch this run into the postseason, they’re going to have to find a way to keep winning close games, keep grinding out games on the ground with Latavius Murray, and keep pace with what is probably the best division in the NFL: The Raiders have a one-game lead over the Chiefs and a two-game lead over the Broncos, but still have to play both of these teams during the final five games of the season.

Why I’m Taking the Under for Bills-Raiders

Oakland will be home for the second straight game in this matchup, and is favored with good reason. In addition, both of these teams have seen their total score go over in each of the last five games. So there is certainly an argument to be made that it could end up being a high-powered shoot-out.

However, when I look at this matchup what stands out most to me is the ground game. Both of these teams are among the top 10 teams in rush yards (Buffalo is #1), and both of these teams are among the bottom 10 teams in rush yards allowed.

With Derek Carr missing practice reps with that sore throwing hand and Oakland’s tenacious D-line, there’s a good chance that this game will not feature a whole lot of passing offense. I’m envisioning long ground-and-pound drives that chew up large chunks of clock, high numbers of carries for Latavius Murray and Shady McCoy, and a quick game that features few stoppages of play. Little chance to run up the score in a game like that!

Ultimately I predict the game will end up going 24–19 Raiders, and I recommend that interested parties bet the under, listed at 49.5 at the Bovada sportsbook.

David HeinenThis article was written by David Heinen

David Heinen is a freelance psychology writer by day, inveterate NFL junkie by night. Born and raised on the Green Bay Packers, David is a die-hard Cheesehead, not to mention a cheese enthusiast in his spare time.

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