Football picksJuly 2, 2021

Betting the Bills: Does 2021 Offer the Best Chance to Win AFC?

Betting the Bills to go OVER last year’s win total only required a 9-7 record. With the departure of Tom Brady, Buffalo saw an opportunity to take over the AFC East but they didn’t stop there. Josh Allen took a huge step forward, leading the Bills to a 13-3 record followed by home playoff wins over the Colts and Ravens. The AFC still belongs to the Chiefs for now, but Allen found a groove and he’s gunning for top spot.

betting the bills to win AFC and Super Bowl odds

Josh Allen led the Bills offense to a 5th overall ranking in 2020, throwing for 4,544 yards and 37 TDs

Betting the Bills: Big Year Ahead

When Sean McDermott arrived in Buffalo during the 2017 offseason, he knew there were certain expectations. A culture that represents the blue collar, lunchpail philosophy of the franchise. McDermott had no problem adopting that workmanlike attitude. In fact, it went hand in hand with the approach he’s taken through eight years as a defensive coordinator in Philadelphia (2009-10) and Carolina (2011-16).

There was also a massive chip on the shoulder of every Buffalo fan, front office exec and player that you have to accept as a part of this culture. The Bills lost four Super Bowls in the 1990s and until they bring their own Lombardi home to 1 Bills Drive in Orchard Park, that sting will never go away.

The Buffalo Bills will never stop fighting.
– Sean McDermott

Odds for betting the Bills to win Super Bowl 56 are now listed at +1400 with online sportsbooks. The only thing causing ripples over the past month is speculation that Aaron Rodgers might transfer into the AFC. It forced bookmakers to tack a few points onto top contenders that are not in the market/running for an elite quarterback.

In the case of Josh Allen, all Buffalo wants is more of the same. With Stefon Diggs (1,535 yards) as his top target, Allen completed 69.2% of his passes last year. Compare that with his rookie season in 2018 (52.8), and second year (58.8), and it’s one of the biggest Year 3 jumps on record. Emmanuel Sanders joined the team in March on a one-year, $6 million dollar deal, and he’ll compete for targets with Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis.

Allen will find a way to make it work and he’s got an excellent stable of backs to keep defenses guessing. Zack Moss and Devin Singletary are backed by Matt Breida, and although injuries are a concern with the former and latter, Buffalo still passed the ball 61.7% of its plays last year (11th most in NFL). Factor in Allen’s mobility, a solid O-Line whose only weakness is at the guard position (and that’s a stretch), and this ground group should be okay.

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Buffalo Bills Odds

I’m tracking NFL offseason betting odds for you throughout the summer. Every time a new team preview is added or the futures market takes a significant swing, I’ll post on social media and you can stay up to date as we countdown to kickoff.

For preseason power rankings and Super Bowl odds, visit my NFL Team Previews HQ!

2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 10.5 OV -170
Pre-draft NFL Win Total Odds: 10.5 OV -120
2020 Record: 13-3
Average Wins 2018-20: 9.7
Odds to win the Division: -140 (1st)
Net Strength of Schedule:  9th best

Betting the Bills to defend their AFC East title costs -140, well ahead of the Patriots (+260), Dolphins (+390) and Jets (+2500). Their win total, which opened at 10.5 OVER -120, is on a one-way ticket to 11 (with juice) and barring an injury to QB Allen, could get their by mid-August.

  • Juice on betting the Bills to go OVER 10.5 wins has increased four times since April.

The Bills strength of schedule sets up well in terms of matchups. The Jets twice, Houston, Carolina and Jacksonville are favorable spots where anyone betting the Bills ATS can expect to lay more than a TD.

They do however catch five teams off seven-plus days of rest and will be at a rest disadvantage four times this season. Buffalo also has two short-week road games, Week 12 at New Orleans and Week 14 at Tampa.

  • Circle Week 12’s matchup at New Orleans for a potential play AGAINST spot.

Buffalo comes off their Week 7 bye to host Miami (divisional). They then go on the road for two at Jacksonville and New York Jets (divisional). Buffalo is home in Week 11 for a playoff rematch vs. the Colts. In Week 12, they go into New Orleans for a non-conference game with a Week 13 divisional home game on-deck against rival New England.

  • Week 13 is the first meeting of the season vs. the Patriots, who Buffalo swept in 2020 for the first time since 1999.
  • From 2000-2019, betting the Bills to lose against the Pats was gold. New England went 24-14-2 ATS (63%) in those games.

Buffalo lost 35 of those 40 games straight up. HC McDermott and the rest of his team will have that Week 13 matchup circled all year and by then, the Saints offense might actually be starting to tick. Buffalo’s non-conference record under McDermott is 10-6 SU and 10-5-1 ATS, so he take these games seriously. Sean Payton is 34-22 SU (61%) in regular season non-conference games, though. He won’t be looking past this Thanksgiving Day home game at all.

The Bills at Saints highlight the American Thanksgiving 2021 NFL schedule with a 8:20 pm ET start.

Buffalo Bills Trends

Buffalo’s two interconference home games this season are against Washington (Week 3) and Carolina in Week 15.

  • The Bills have played OVER the total in 8 of their past 10 home games vs. the NFC.
  • HC McDermott’s home record in September since 2017 is 5-2 SU/ATS including a pair of covers (2-0 SU/ATS) in games where he had to lay -7 points or more.

The Bills open the season at home against Pittsburgh and the current ATS line on that game is Buffalo -6.5 points. They also host Washington in Week 3.

  • Week 3 home favorites laying more than -7 points that opened the season with a home win, and then played away in Week 2 are a 22-15 OVER (60%) play.
  • When playing on the road against a team with a similar W/L record, McDermott’s all-time record in Buffalo is 13-8 ATS (62%). The UNDER is 14-7 (67%).
  • The UNDER is 18-8 (69%) in Buffalo’s past 26 road games on grass when coming off a loss.

Circle the above trend in Week 6 when the Bills play in Tennessee following a road stop in Kansas City.

Bills Bottom Line

HC McDermott’s specialty is defense and this group is poised to make a big step forward in 2021. Overall, the Bills D was 12th in DVOA last year ranking slightly better against the pass. One of the big things was consistency and given Buffalo’s schedule, there aren’t many major letdown spots other than that Week 12 game at New Orleans (see above).

Buffalo drafted linemen early in the 2020 and `21 drafts, so betting the Bills front seven to increase their pressure gets a checkmark. Matt Milano also inked a four-year deal to keep him in Buffalo and when healthy, he and Tremaine Edwards are climbing the ranks. Milano needs to be on the field, where his versatility shines. The Bills played with favorable down and distance in a lot of situations last year and are a strong candidate to hit double-digit wins again. With a secondary ranked Top 5 at Pro Football Focus, this team has very few weaknesses.