Here at SI Gambling, we are going to unveil our NFL betting experts’ win total previews for all 32 NFL teams. Make sure to check out all of them, as well as the rest of our gambling content, at si.com/gambling.
Bills 2018 win total: 6 (over +140, under -160)
Bills 2017 record: 9-7
Key offseason acquisitions: C Russell Bodine, S Rafael Bush, WR Corey Coleman, CB Vontae Davis, CB Phillip Gaines, RB Chris Ivory, WR Jeremy Kerley, DT Star Lotulelei, QB AJ McCarron, DE Trent Murphy, OT Marshall Newhouse
Key offseason losses: LB Preston Brown, CB E.J. Gaines, OT Cordy Glenn, OT Seantrel Henderson, S James Ihedigbo, OG Richie Incognito, WR Jordan Matthews, QB Tyrod Taylor, WR Deonte Thompson, C Eric Wood, CB Shareece Wright
Five things to keep in mind before betting the Bills’ win total
1. This could be the worst offense in the league. With all due respect to LeSean McCoy’s talents, he’s not going to be able to single-handedly carry this group. Plus, he’s going to hit the downslope of his career at some point, and he turned 30 in July. No matter if it’s AJ McCarron or Josh Allen under center, the Bills will likely have a bottom-third quarterback. There’s also a chance that Nathan Peterman, he of the five-interception debut start, gets some time. Charles Clay, Kelvin Benjamin and Corey Coleman are all fine players, but they’re complementary pieces. Even with McCoy around, there’s no one to stir the drink in Buffalo’s offense, and that will be painfully obvious all year.
2. Buffalo has a talented defense. Last year’s first-round pick, corner Tre’Davious White, was a breakout player. With Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde and new Bill Vontae Davis, the Bills could have one of the best secondary groups in the league. It’s deep, too, with Rafael Bush and Phillip Gaines behind the starters. The team used a first-round pick on Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, and immediately stuck him in the middle of the defense. Up front, the team signed former Panther Star Lotulelei, teaming him with Kyle Williams in the middle. Even if the Bills aren’t a contender, this will likely be a tough defense for good offenses to handle.
3. Unless Allen is an immediate star, quarterback is going to be a problem for this team all year. When that’s the case, it’s hard to see a team getting to seven wins. McCarron is fine, but he’s better suited as a backup. He’s the sort of guy you’re happy to have when your starter goes down with a three-week injury, not one you trust to lead you to the playoffs. Allen was the most debated quarterback in the draft this year. While some of the tools, especially the arm, are obvious, the weaknesses, such as footwork and decision-making, are glaring. Allen may eventually prove his doubters wrong, but that case is unlikely to close this year.
4. After Sean McDermott benched Tyrod Taylor last year for no good reason when the Bills were 5-4, how could bettors trust him to handle anything? The Taylor benching wasn’t merely run-of-the-mill coach bungling. It was a situation entirely created by the coaching staff, and then horribly mismanaged. They made a mountain out of a molehill, and then crashed into the mountain instead of going around it. McDermott was the man at the controls the whole time and he’s still there, overseeing what looks like a one of the league’s worst rosters.
5. Let’s assume the two Patriots games are losses. The Bills need to find seven wins in their remaining 14 games to hit the over. Four games with the NFC North will be brutal, and they play both the Vikings and Packers on the road. They match up with the AFC South, which includes a trip to Houston and home games with the Jaguars and Titans. Thanks to their second-place schedule, they’ll also have to play the Ravens and Chargers, who happen to be their first two opponents of the season. After that, they travel to Minnesota and Green Bay, return home for a game with the Titans, and then head back on the road to face the Texans. That has the makings of a 1-5 or 0-6 start, and that’s before either game with New England.
PICK: UNDER 6 wins
Other NFL team betting previews: Raiders, Cowboys, Texans, Broncos, 49ers, Steelers, Cardinals, Browns, Buccaneers, Bengals, Giants, Saints, Packers, Falcons, Chiefs, Bears, Chargers, Dolphins, Eagles, Seahawks