Last Updated Jan 03, 2023, 6:02 PM

Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals Picks, Predictions, Odds

Week 17 of the NFL season will conclude on Monday night with a heavyweight AFC clash between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. Coverage begins from Paycor Stadium in Cincy at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.


The Bills and Bengals have both already clinched playoff spots. So, it certainly isn’t desperation time for either of these squads. But with just two weeks left to play, the top seed is still up for grabs in the AFC, with Buffalo, Kansas City, and Cincinnati all sitting within one-game of each other entering Week 17. 

Cincinnati posted a relatively shaky start to the season, highlighted by Joe Burrow and co. dropping three-of-five matchups out of the gate. But make no mistake, this has arguably been the best team in football since their opening skid, considering the Bengals have posted wins in nine of their last ten games, and they’ve now won seven straight.

The Bengals certainly weren’t the most popular pick to represent the conference in last year’s Super Bowl, which wasn’t all that surprising, considering their offense always stood a small step below other top shelf contenders like Kansas City and Buffalo, and their defense ranked in the middle of the pack allowing over 22 PPG.

This Bengals’ team is much different now, though, considering Cincy’s defense ranks Top 10 in the league across most major statistical categories this season, which potentially sets this squad apart from the rest of the bunch when combined with an offensive unit capable of standing toe-to-toe with the best of the best, currently ranked sixth in scoring at 26.1 PPG on the year.

But when everything is firing on all cylinders for Buffalo, personally, I still believe the Bills are the best team in the AFC. 

However, they’ve consistently shot themselves in the foot with turnovers all season, which has caught up to them in some of their tougher matchups, highlighted by the Bills ranking 31st in the league in giveaways with 24 on the year, and they turned the ball over seven times in their trio of losses to the Dolphins, Jets, and Vikings.

Regardless of their turnover issues, though, the Bills still comfortably stand amongst the top teams in football, and I have no problem with them being favored to win this year’s Super Bowl, nor favored to win this game.

But quite frankly, I think Cincy is playing better football at the moment, and it feels much better to back a squad that actually takes pride in its ball security. The Bengals currently rank sixth in the league in giveaways with just 17 on the season, and a huge chunk of those came during their wonky five-turnover performance against Pittsburgh way back in Week 1.

So, in a heavyweight matchup in which both teams have a puncher’s chance at winning, and their respective in-game execution likely serving as the main differentiator between them, I’ll roll the dice on the Bengals as short home underdogs on Monday night.

Score Prediction: Bengals 28, Bills 24
Best Bet: Bengals ML (-105)

Take the Bengals ML!


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Date: Monday, January 2, 2023
Matchup: AFC East vs. AFC North
Venue: Paycor Stadium
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Time-TV: NBC, 8:20 p.m. ET


It’s no secret that the Bills have a decent shot at winning this game, given the fact Buffalo enters Monday night’s matchup as short road favorites over the Bengals at Paycor Stadium. 

And rightfully so, as Buffalo is probably the most complete squad in the AFC, currently ranked Top 5 in the league in scoring on both sides of the ball at 28 PPG and 17.5 PPG, respectively

However, the Bills certainly aren’t bulletproof, which was on display in their trio of losses, along with their four wins by slim margins of four points or less against the Baltimore, Kansas City, Detroit, and Miami.

There’s certainly no shame in escaping with narrow victories against top shelf squads like Buffalo has consistently done throughout the year. 

But hypothetically, if Buffalo let a few of those close ones slip away and, instead, teetered on the edge of playoff contention, we’d probably view this turnover-prone Bills squad in a far more critical light, especially following the season-ending injury to Von Miller.

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The Bengals are 5-0 ATS in their last five home games. (Getty)


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The Bengals rode the coattail of their offense averaging over 27 PPG all the way to last year’s Super Bowl, which was usually enough to compensate for their middle of the road defensive unit surrendering a lofty average of 22 PPG throughout their campaign.

However, Cincy’s defense has improved by leaps and bounds this season, and now that the Bengals rank Top 10 in the league in both points allowed and overall time of possession, this squad is feared on both sides of the ball, and they’re no longer reliant on jackpot performances by Burrow in order to compete at the highest level.

Regardless of who you like this Monday, I would advise treading with caution. This is a primetime matchup between two of the best squads in the AFC, and there’s a good chance they’ll meet again in just a few weeks, for a contest with much heavier implications. 

So, in a matchup where both of these coaches will likely hold their cards a little bit close to the vest, and save a few of their best punches for a future meeting, it’s tough to ignore the value in backing Cincy as a home underdog here.


  • The Bills are 3-6 ATS in their last nine games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in nine of Buffalo's last 13 games.
  • The Bills are 6-0 SU in their last six games.
  • The Bengals are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in four of Cincinnati's last five games.
  • The Bengals are 7-0 SU in their last seven games.
  • The total has gone OVER in seven of Cincinnati's last ten games against Buffalo.
  • The Bengals are 5-0 ATS in their last five home games.
  • The Bills are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games against Cincinnati.
  • The Bills are 12-4 SU in their last 16 games against Cincinnati.
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