MNF Picks: Buffalo Bills vs. San Francisco 49ers

by | Dec 2, 2020 | nfl

Buffalo Bills (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS)

Week 13 NFL

Date/Time: Monday Night Football, December 7, 2020 at 8:15PM EST

Where: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

TV: ESPN

Point Spread: BUF -2.5/SF +2.5 (BetOnline - AWESOME live betting platform!)

Over/Under Total: 48

The Buffalo Bills come to State Farm Stadium to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. The Bills moved to 8-3 with a nice win and cover against the Chargers at home on Sunday, 27-17. It was a good way to come off the bye, and the Bills now look to put the finishing touches on their playoff case but face a tough road task against a Niners team that gets another bad development, as covid restrictions have forced them to play their home game in Glendale, Arizona. They showed signs of life, going to 5-6 on Sunday with a 23-20 road-win over the LA Rams. Can they take it to .500, or will the Bills be too much to handle?

Niners Hanging in There

It’s hard to recall a team getting so battered on the injury front, as at this point, it’s almost futile going through all the different personnel setbacks this team has suffered this season. And yet, they are not going away. They have seen enough pieces file back into rotation on both sides of the ball to give them a little more bite. Working without Jimmy Garoppolo and a bulk of their offense, that side of the ball screeched to a halt. It wasn’t much better on defense, where key guys were missing left and right. Watching them on Sunday, they’re far from the conference-winning team of last season. But Nick Mullens is a backup with some experience, and with Deebo Samuel, Jerick McKinnon, and now Raheem Mostert back in the fold, there is some semblance of order. And between some returnees on defense and the development of youth, they looked really good on Sunday.

The win over the Rams on Sunday saw a defense that may have found a second wind. With a bye the previous week and a Thursday game, they have played just twice since November 5, giving them a chance to get a little healthier. Their “D” was big on Sunday, with Richard Sherman back in the fold making a pick, while rookie Javon Kinlaw paid off with a pick-six. Kerry Hyder and Kevin Givens both recovered fumbles, as the D-line was huge on the day. With improved secondary play, this defense could help the Niners get on a little roll.

Tough Spot for the Bills?

For the second time in three games, the Bills take to the road for a big game, the last time not seeing it work out in this very stadium as they fell prey to an Arizona hail-Mary in the last second. On the surface, it would appear they have the edge. They’re 8-3, relatively intact, and looking to take over the AFC East. But they wouldn’t be the first good team this season to be muted out of their conference on a long road trip. To their credit, however, they have won three times away from home this season, and it should be four if not for the Cardinals’ miracle.

The San Francisco defense looked improved on Sunday but will be tested more severely by a Buffalo offense that can hit high notes and doesn’t deliver a lot of clunkers. Josh Allen is a dynamic force, with 22 touchdowns through the air and another six on the ground. Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, and Allen lead a strong run-attack, with Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley strong through the air. With a ton of other support weapons, it’s a full cast. At the same time, they’re playing a San Fran defense that did pretty well with a similar offense in the Rams, beating them for the second time of the year last week.

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But Not So Fast…

It’s possible that the Buffalo defense has been made to look worse than it is by some of the tough opposition they have faced. In games against the Rams, Titans, Chiefs, Seahawks, and Cardinals, their defense was sometimes exploited. Against offenses that are less-than-premier, we see a different group. The beef up front really starts to resonate, as we saw on Sunday when they curbed the Chargers’ run-game while being very disruptive. On Sunday, AJ Klein and Ed Oliver both had sacks. Tre’Davious White had another pick. San Francisco can manage to be effective even in its current state. But this is also a spot where a Buffalo defense might again be in the proper context to thrive.

With the extra wild-card spot, the 49ers are still in the mix. But when you look at what got them there last season, sure, it was about defense. Well, that side of the ball isn’t as good, but it could at least be serviceable even with the losses. The offense, however, is really strapped. Last season, they had a wealth of variety—standout receivers, a great tight end, various backs who can do damage, and Jimmy G working his magic touch. Now it’s Mullens, Mostert, Samuel, and then the list starts to fall off quickly. With wins over the Jets, Giants, Cardinals, and Rams (twice), they have to be respected, but is this a level where they are a little out of their depth?

Lay the Points on the Bills

It’s hard to disregard the inner-resource of a Niners squad that is doing a lot better than other teams would be doing amidst similar conditions. But with this latest scheduling quirk, this is the fifth game out of six where they’ve been on the road. With one home game since October 18, you wonder if they’ll start to wilt with this game now moved to Arizona. I just see the Bills’ offense being a little too much for the 49ers in this spot. I like the Bills to win and cover the spread on MNF.

Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Buffalo Bills minus 2.5 points. Make the Bills a +17.5 underdog by inserting them into a GIANT 20 point NFL teaser at BetAnySports!