NFL Regular Season Wins 2019: Buffalo Bills
2019 NFL WIN TOTALS
TEAM: BUFFALO BILLS
LINE: 6.5 WINS
MY PICK: OVER
LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE (1=Low, 10=High): 10
This is one of the plays I’ve been the most confident in my 20-year sports betting career. I like it a lot. I do believe the Buffalo Bills are underrated and flying under the radar.
As you can see in this video, I am putting my money where my mouth is; I have wagered around $7,000 USD in physical sportsbooks in the state of New Jersey.
Here is why I believe the Buffalo Bills should go on to win at least seven games in the 2019 NFL regular season.
1. Easy Schedule
There are two common ways to assess a team’s strength of schedule.
The first method is the most popular, yet not the most accurate. Basically, you are looking at the 2018 record of all 16 opponents. Based on this approach, the Bills have the 9th easiest schedule in 2019.
The second method consists of adding up the 2019 win totals, as set by Las Vegas linesmakers, of all 16 opponents. That’s a more accurate reflection of how difficult a team’s schedule really is. Why? Because the 2019 win totals account for many key factors like the offseason moves, the draft and injuries.
For example, the Cleveland Browns acquired some fairly big-name players like Odell Beckham Jr., Kareem Hunt (albeit suspended for the first eight games of the season) and Sheldon Richardson. These guys had nothing to do with the 7-8-1 record last season, but linesmakers certainly accounted for their acquisition when setting their win total at 9.5.
Key injuries can also have a big impact. Let’s take the San Francisco 49ers. They struggled in 2018 and finished with a 4-12 record. However, losing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a season-ending injury on week #3 played a huge role in their debacle. He’ll be ready to go for the start of the 2019 season. Obviously, linesmakers took notice when setting the line at 8.5. What do you believe is a more accurate assessment of the true strength of the 49ers; their 4 wins in 2018, or their projected 8.5 wins by Vegas? The answer seems pretty obvious to me!
That being said, if we use the 2019 win totals of all 16 opponents to evaluate each team’s strength of schedule, we end up with Buffalo having the 5th easiest schedule in the league.
In conclusion, no matter how you look at it, the Bills definitely have a favorable schedule in the upcoming season.
2. Players at Key Positions are Young
Quarterback, middle linebacker and cornerback represent important positions for any football team. The starters at these positions for the Bills are all very young. Therefore, they are much more likely to improve than to regress.
Let’s start with the quarterback position. Josh Allen is going to enter his second season in the NFL. When he was selected 7th overall in last year's draft, I have to admit I did not like the pick.
He was known to have ideal size and a cannon for an arm. However, his biggest flaw was accuracy, which is a critical aspect when you are playing QB in the NFL. I disliked the pick even more considering the Bills traded up to get him, sacrificing valuable draft capital in the process.
After seeing him play in his rookie campaign, I have to confess he did much better than I expected. If you look at his numbers, you won’t be flaggergasted. However, you need to keep in mind that he had one of the worst (if not THE worst) supporting cast in the NFL.
His offensive line was awful; he just kept running for his life (and showed great mobility, by the way). His receiving corps was filled with guys that seemed to have butter fingers and that also couldn’t get separation. Allen had very little help in 2018 but, as I’ll discuss later on, that’s about to change. I expect him to take big leaps.
Having a solid middle linebacker also plays a big role towards having a solid defense. With the 16th overall pick last year, Buffalo took Tremaine Edmunds from Virginia Tech. He was one of the youngest guys selected in the draft at only 19 years old. In his first season in the NFL, he looked lost at times but also made great plays. He has probably learned a lot and I expect him to make some nice strides in 2019.
Finally, having a shutdown cornerback is getting increasingly important in today’s NFL where the passing game is king. Tre’Davious White, Buffalo’s first round pick in 2017, is just that. Casual fans may not know him very well because he plays in a small market, but he’s extremely good. He has played all 16 games in each of his first two seasons in the league and he, too, should be even better with experience.
3. Smart Free Agent Acquisitions
The Bills made some non-sexy, yet smart acquisitions on the free agent market. They did not get a flashy player like Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell or Odell Beckham Jr. That’s a good thing because that contributes to the Bills being so underrated. But they obtained many players at positions of big need.
I mentioned earlier how the wide receivers were bad in Buffalo last year. Kelvin Benjamin was a huge disappointment. Zay Jones was inconsistent. Robert Foster provided some hope by showing signs of improvement towards the end of the season, but he still only caught 27 passes last year. Andre Holmes did not scare defenses either.
Acquiring Cole Beasley from Dallas is going to be of big help to a young quarterback like Josh Allen. Beasley is a slick guy who always seems to get open, especially on short third down situations. John Brown, who played four seasons in Arizona before joining the Ravens for just one year, is a steady guy and a good fit for deep targets with a strong-armed quarterback like Josh Allen. At 29 years old, he has a good mix of experience and youth.
The 2018 offensive line must have kept GM Brandon Beane up for several nights because he went out to acquire many guys in the market: Spencer Long, Ty Nsekhe, Jon Feliciano, Quinton Spain and LaAdrian Waddle. All of those guys will fight for a starting job, or at the very least provide some quality depth. Overall, the group is much improved.
The coveted prize, though, was the acquisition of center Mitch Morse from the Kansas City Chiefs. At 27 years old, he is in his prime while providing some veteran leadership, which should help a young quarterback like Allen.
Tight end remains a position of weakness for Buffalo. They signed Tyler Kroft from the Bengals, but he recently broke his foot and is expected to miss the start of the regular season. It was unclear anyway how much he would contribute to the offense. He will compete with a bunch of guys that are also question marks.
Obviously, when betting on a team whose win total is set at 6.5, you cannot expect that team to be loaded at every position.
4. Great Draft
If you are GM Brandon Beane, the first two rounds of the 2019 draft must have felt like Christmas had come early. They got a couple of bargains at positions of need.
Sometimes a guy falls off the draft board for various reasons, and a team picks him even though he does not play at a position of need because he simply represents the best player available. In the case of the Bills’ first two selections, it was the best of both worlds.
With the 9th overall pick, Buffalo took DT Ed Oliver. He was mocked to go as high as third (to the Jets) by some experts, while practically never lower than the 9th spot. He represented great value. He was named the top interior defensive lineman in all of college football in 2017 and he racked up some great numbers despite playing out of position at nose tackle for the Houston Cougars. Who knows how high his ceiling is? Defensive tackle had become a position of need for the Bills after the announcement of the well-deserved retirement of a true leader, Kyle Williams.
The Bills also held the 40th overall pick. When the Carolina Panthers traded up to the 37th spot, the Bills executives were crushed because they were convinced Carolina would grab OL Cody Ford from Oklahoma. When they chose Greg Little instead, there was a sense of great relief. Brandon Beane immediately called the Oakland Raiders and made a deal to acquire the 38th pick. Buffalo sacrificed a 5th round pick to move up just two slots in order to secure the acquisition of the big fellow from Oklahoma.
I typed “NFL mock draft 2019” in google and looked at the first five or six results. All of them had Cody Ford taken in the first round. There’s no doubt the Bills got a steal, and like I said earlier offensive line was a huge source of concern for Buffalo.
5. Final Arguments
The Bills finished the 2018 season with a 6-10 record. In other words, by betting the over we are hoping they can win just one additional game in 2019. Few people realize that Buffalo went 5-6 with Josh Allen as their starting quarterback, compared to 1-4 without him. Allen was there when the Bills staged one of the biggest upsets in recent memory by beating the Vikings in Minnesota as 17-point underdogs.
Pinnacle is the online sportsbook I respect the most. They are rated #1 in my list of best online bookies. Their lines are known to be very sharp. At the time of writing (May 24th, 2019), Pinnacle has the over set at -168 versus the under at +140. If you watched the YouTube video I mentioned at the beginning of this article, you saw that I got average odds of -133 from my five bets, which is great value compared to what Pinnacle has!
Here’s a final piece of advice: do not bet the Bills to win more than 6.5 games at any price. Personally, I do not recommend wagering on odds that are lower than -150. If you are more familiar with decimal odds, that’s the equivalent of 1.667.
Ladbrokes and Unibet had -118 on the over recently, but the odds changed to -150 and -167, respectively, in the past few days. FanDuel moved from -125 to -165 after I placed my bet last weekend. DraftKings went from -134 to -165 following my plays. There is still good value with Bet365 at -130, which is one of the few that has not changed its odds too much. Take advantage of this opportunity if you can.
Thanks for reading!