bet365 NFL Odds, Preview: Bills Vs. Cowboys (Dec. 17)

The Bills pulled off a 20-17 win at Kansas City last week to revive their Super Bowl hopes, but their playoff viability still is teetering as they prepare for a matchup with one of the hottest teams in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys.

The venue could be key, however, as this 4:25 p.m. ET game will be played at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, where the favoured Bills are 5-1 this season. Even more vital is where it won’t be played: Arlington, Texas, where the Cowboys are riding a 15-game home winning streak and where their high-octane offence tends to do its most impressive work.

Bet on Bills vs. Cowboys

DAL +2.0
BUF -2.0

The weather forecast – steady rain – also could play into Buffalo’s hands, as it tries to slow down the Cowboys’ offence with a defence that has been dented by injuries to key contributors. Dallas has plenty to play for – a win or tie clinches a third straight playoff berth – but still has to prove it can play as well away from home as it has inside its domed stadium. The Cowboys are coming off an emotional rout of divisional rival Philadelphia, 33-13. Even away from home, they’ll pose a challenge for a Bills’ defence that now is missing four key cogs.

Bills vs. Cowboys odds

Bills Moneyline Odds+135
Cowboys Moneyline Odds-155
Spread oddsBills -2.0
Over/Under49.5 points (over -110, under -110)
Time/DateDec. 17, 4:25 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: Fox

All odds courtesy of

About the Cowboys (10-3 SU, 9-4 ATS, 8-5 o/u)

As great as Dallas has looked winning five straight, it’s worth noting that four of those five wins came at home and the other was in Carolina, against the 1-12 Panthers.

The Cowboys have outscored their opponents 279-108 at home, but on the road, they are 3-3 and have eked by their opponents by a total of 17 points. In preparation for the forecast, Dallas practiced with wet balls on Thursday.

If he only played home games, quarterback Dak Prescott would easily be the NFL MVP and he’s in the running as it is. At most sportsbooks, he in fact, is the frontrunner for the award (+150 at Bet365, just ahead of San Francisco’s Brock Purdy at +170). Amazingly, Prescott would be only the second Cowboy ever to win the league’s MVP award, joining Emmitt Smith in 1993.

Prescott leads the NFL in passing touchdowns with 28 and has had two or more in seven straight games, the longest streak by any QB in the league this season. His QB rating is 34 points lower on the road than at home.

During this five-game winning streak, the Cowboys are averaging 40 points though four of the five wins were against non-playoff contenders.

The team had a virus rip through its practices this week, with three players sitting out practice Thursday because of it. Edge rusher Micah Parsons played through flu-like symptoms on Sunday.

About the Bills (7-6 SU, 5-7-1 ATS, 4-9 o/u)

Even after last week’s clutch win, the Bills are 11th in the AFC standings and are one of six teams with a 7-6 record. The Bills might have to win out to win their fourth consecutive division title. It helps that they finish the season vs. the Miami Dolphins, who they already beat once this season.

To secure a playoff berth, they will likely have to beat either the Cowboys or Dolphins as well as the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers, against both of whom they should be sizeable favourites.

Quarterback Josh Allen can’t match Prescott’s passing touchdowns, but he does lead the NFL in total touchdowns with 35. Sunday will mark the third matchup between the outright passing touchdown leader and the outright offensive touchdown leader since the 1970 NFL merger. Allen’s passer rating is 32 points higher at Highmark Stadium than when he’s playing on the road.

The Bills’ defence already has been staggered by the loss of linebacker Matt Milano and cornerback Tre’Davious White. Now, it is dealing with the loss of two more key contributors in safety Micah Hyde and defensive end AJ Epenesa. Bills coach Sean McDermott told reporters Hyde might be headed to injured reserve due to a neck injury.

These losses will be felt deeply. Hyde has two interceptions, five passes defensed and 49 tackles this season. He’ll be replaced by Taylor Rapp. Epenesa, 25, is having the best season of his career, with a team-high 6.5 sacks.

Betting Mismatch

The Cowboys’ most dominant runs seem to come with their most dominant offensive lines and this year is no exception. Much of what they’re doing has to be attributed to one of the best fronts in the NFL.

To keep Dallas contained, Buffalo is going to have to put serious pressure on Prescott without Epenesa and that won’t be easy against a Dallas line that ranks second in the NFL in pressure rate allowed at just over 28% of dropbacks. With Epenesa out, Buffalo might need a big game from veteran Von Miller and it likely will promote Kingsley Jonathan to the starting lineup to keep pressure coming from the other side.

The Bills rank third in the NFL with 42 sacks, but their top guy can’t go in this one and Dallas protects Prescott about as well as any team in the league.

James Cook (BUF) over 51.5 rushing yards


Key Injuries

The Bills haven’t been the same defensively since Matt Milano and Tre’Davious White sustained season-ending injuries earlier this season and now they are without Hyde (neck), who was ruled out of Sunday’s game. They also won’t have Epenesa (ribs). CB Taron Johnson likely will go in this one, but TE Dalton Kincaid (thumb and shoulder) is questionable.

The Cowboys are fairly healthy except DE Wiliami Fehoko Jr. (knee), who is on injured reserve. CB Stephon Gilmore (illness), WR Brandin Cooks (illness), WR Jalen Tolbert and RB Rico Dowdle (ankle) are listed as questionable.


Forecasts are calling for steady rain in the afternoon and temperatures of about 7 C at kickoff, with winds out of the northwest between 16 and 32 km/h.

  • The Cowboys are averaging 19.8 points in the first half, the most in the NFL. It’s the second-best first-half scoring average in league history after the 2007 Patriots.
  • Dallas blitzes at the sixth-highest rate in the league (at 36.7%).
  • The Bills are 6-4 as moneyline favourites.
  • Micah Parsons ranks eighth in the NFL with 12.5 sacks, but he leads the league in quarterback pressures with 82. He is -190 to record a sack.
  • James Cook is riding a four-game streak of eclipsing 100 total yards from scrimmage after rolling up 141 last week. He is -115 to eclipse 77.5 total yards here.

Wagers To Consider

  • As much as factors seem to line this up in Buffalo’s favour – their desperation, the discrepancy of the Cowboys’ play away from their home – this is too good an opportunity to get one of the three best teams in the NFL as an underdog. Consider taking Dallas and the points. The guess is they’ll hear all the chatter about their inability to win outside the dome. Note their underdog status and get up for this one.
  • Cook’s emergence in recent games should give Buffalo’s coaches enough reason to continue trying to use him as a centrepiece of the attack. Dallas has a ferocious pass rush but is just 16th against the run. That total-yards total is high, but quite doable for Cook here.