Bills vs. Bengals Week 17 matchup preview and current betting lines
The final Monday night game of the 2022 NFL regular season is an epic one between the Buffalo Bills (12-3) and Cincinnati Bengals (11-4). The Bills have already passed one huge road test this year in Kansas City in Week 6, but if they want to be the No. 1 seed in the AFC, they need to win this game too. The Bengals could still be the No. 1 seed if they win out and the Chiefs lose one of their last two games.
Of course, the Chiefs can end up No. 1 if the Bengals win this game and the Chiefs win out. But this first NFL meeting between Josh Allen and Joe Burrow should be an exciting one with the two quarterbacks ranked after Patrick Mahomes in the MVP race. It should be the first of many important games between them in the AFC this decade.
Both teams come in playing well with the Bengals on a seven-game winning streak, scoring at least 20 points in every game. The Bills are on a six-game winning streak that would be seven if they didn’t fall victim to Minnesota’s close-game luck.
Allen has had the better season than Burrow, though you can easily argue Burrow has had the hotter hand since Week 7. Allen’s numbers have been down, but the Bills are running the ball as well and as consistently as anyone in the league. Will that be enough to give them the edge in this one?
One edge the Bills won’t have is Von Miller, the star pass rusher who tore is ACL on Thanksgiving. That is great news for Joe Burrow, who has struggled in matchups with elite pass rushers going back to last year.
It is the sequel to the AFC Game of the Year and the Bills are the main stars again as they have been the Super Bowl 57 favorites since the preseason. The NFL Week 17 odds have the Bills as a 1.5-point road favorite with a total of 49.5 points.
Players to watch in the Bills vs. Bengals game
James Cook: Since 2020, the Bills have loved putting the ball in Josh Allen’s hands, but in recent weeks, they are more likely to defer to handoffs to the running backs in the ground game. It helps when rookie James Cook is averaging 5.8 yards per carry and just had a season-high 99 yards in Chicago. He is providing a great one-two punch with Devin Singletary.
Ja’Marr Chase: There is just something about Chase and big home games. Of his 11 games with 100 receiving yards, eight have been at home. Of the 14 times he has been held under 70 yards, 11 of them were on the road. Even though the Bengals are 9-5 at home and on the road in the regular season when Chase plays, he averages 107.2 yards per game and 11.04 yards per target at home compared to 65.3 yards per game and 8.09 yards per target on the road. Look for him to have a big night against Buffalo.
Our Best NFL Bets for the Bills vs. Bengals game
We have two NFL Week 17 predictions for this main event in the AFC.
Bills vs. Bengals Point Spread Pick: Bills -1.5 (-105)
The Bills vs. Bengals spread opened with the Bills as a 2.5-point road favorite before moving around a good bit. You can find Buffalo anywhere from -2.5 to -1 at this point going into the weekend.
This should be exciting since these teams have not met since early in the 2019 season, or well before Josh Allen had his 2020 breakout year and before the Bengals drafted Burrow (2020) and Chase (2021). It really is the first chapter in a potential new rivalry for the AFC as both teams have plenty of recent experience in playing the Chiefs, but nothing when it comes to each other in big games.
We know the quarterback play will be at a high level. If Burrow has an advantage, it would be not having to worry about Von Miller (ACL), and the fact he averages over 1.5 more yards per pass attempt at home in his career.
But Allen can run the ball to go along with his passing, and we know he and Stefon Diggs can match anything the Bengals get out of Burrow and Chase. The Bengals have better secondary receivers, but the Bills are no slouches in that department with Gabe Davis, Isaiah McKenzie, tight end Dawson Knox, and they recently brought back Cole Beasley in the slot.
But we are conditioned to believe that running the ball and playing defense still matters in the NFL. Without Miller, the Bills still field a formidable defense on par with what the Bengals have. But the edge might be in the run game as Allen doesn’t have to throw for 300 yards to win a game like this. He can do that, but he can also hand off to Singletary and Cook for good gains as the Bills lead the NFL with 5.3 yards per rush, which would be the highest ever in a season for a team with a 4,000-yard passer.
This offense is versatile with Allen nearly leading his team in rushing with 746 yards and seven touchdowns. The Bills just have more options to win games than the Bengals, who need a great passing night from Burrow. Buffalo has answered the call repeatedly this year, beating the Chiefs in Kansas City and stepping up to avenge losses to the Jets and Dolphins in the division. Let’s trust the Super Bowl favorites to do it again and show this is their year and the playoffs should run through Buffalo in the AFC. Take the Bills to cover for your NFL bet of the week.
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Total: Over 49.5 Points (-110)
Maybe if you have a rematch in the playoffs, there will be more intensity and familiarity between the teams, maybe worse weather too, and you can end up with a lower-scoring game then.
But in the regular season when it’s going to be 50 or 60 degrees in January in Cincinnati? Let the ball rip and score some points. We know both offenses are elite at moving the ball. We have already seen the Bills play a 33-30 game with Minnesota and a 32-29 win over Miami two weeks ago.
The Bengals played a 27-24 game against the Chiefs, which could have been the score in Week 6 if the Chiefs came through late against Buffalo. But even that game started with both teams turning it over in the red zone, something that hadn’t happened in the NFL in over 20 years.
We saw the Eagles and Cowboys play a 40-34 game last week despite two great defenses and the presence of a backup quarterback (Gardner Minshew for the Eagles). This is just the modern NFL where the best teams are more likely to have the best quarterback play, so the game comes down to getting that one key turnover or stop to decide the game.
A 27-24 or 30-27 game here would likely be an instant classic. Let’s root for that and bet on that over to hit.bet on NFL with draftkings >
Frequently asked questions about the Bills vs. Bengals game in Week 17
The game is being played at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Since Josh Allen’s breakout year in 2020, the Bills are 23-17-3 ATS (57.5%) as a favorite, the third-best record in the league. They are 10-8-1 ATS (55.6%) as a road favorite in that time. The Bengals are 7-4-1 ATS as a home underdog since 2020.
Since 2020, the Bengals are 35-16-1 ATS (68.6%), the best record in the NFL and nearly 10 full percentage points above the Packers (58.8%), the next closest team. As an underdog since 2020, the Bengals are 19-9-1 ATS (67.9%), the fourth-best record.