AFC East Betting Preview: The Bills Should Be Even Bigger Favorites
If there is ever a downtime for the NFL, this is it. Between the draft and the start of training camps, this is one of the rare stretches on the calendar when there isn't something big happening.
That doesn't mean we have to check out from the action.
FanDuel Sportsbook offers a robust futures market, including odds for each division winner as well as win total odds for every team. With rosters fairly set for most squads, now is a great time to lay some futures bets.
Let's take a look at the AFC East and see where there's betting value to be had.
Bills to Win the Division (-180)
According to our numbers, the Buffalo Bills are clearly the best team in the AFC East. In fact, they're the best team in football.
Our nERD-based rankings have Buffalo at the top of the heap with a nERD of 7.54 -- which is their expected margin of victory against an average opponent on a neutral field. The next highest-ranked AFC East team is the New England Patriots, who slot in 19th with a nERD of 0.23, with the Miami Dolphins (20th, 0.16) right behind them.
While we might be a tad low on the Pats, FanDuel Sportsbook has New England listed at -174 to miss the playoffs, and the Patriots' win total over/under is just 8.5. In short, they aren't expected to be all that great.
So, the Bills -- who led the NFL in point differential last season (+194) -- are the only AFC East squad in the top-18 teams, per nERD. We have them ranked first in the NFL on defense and second in offense. They're the total package.
Buffalo is priced as a -180 favorite to win the division, making them the second-heaviest division favorite behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are -300 to take the NFC South. But our model sees the Bills as even bigger favorites as we project them to win the AFC East 71.2% of the time, which falls in line with a -247 price. The -180 price implies odds of just 64.3%.
New York Jets Under 5.5 Wins (+134)
In truth, I think the 5.5 line is pretty spot on. Our model does, too, as we project Gang Green for 5.8 wins. The reason I like the under is the pricing. There is -160 juice on the Jets winning at least six games while the under sits at +134. I think this is much closer to a coin flip than those numbers imply, which leads me to the plus-money side.
The Jets can take a step forward this year and still be really bad -- because they were awful in 2021. And you can say that exact same thing for Wilson.
New York's -194 point differential was the second-worst in the league (just 10 points better than the Jacksonville Jaguars' -204 clip), and their defense gave up a league-worst 29.6 points per game.
As for Wilson, among signal-callers who attempted at least 200 passes, he tied for 30th in adjusted net yards per attempt with a mark of 5.3. He finished with 9 touchdowns and 11 picks. Big yikes.
The Jets' schedule doesn't help, either. The other AFC division they're matched up with is the AFC North, which should be very strong, and Wilson will see a string of stout defenses early on, including the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers in three of the first four weeks. Things lighten up toward the end of the campaign, but if Wilson gets off to a miserable start, the Jets' season may never get off the ground.
On paper, the Jets improved on both sides of the ball this offseason, and while they might get to six-plus wins, I don't think they should be priced as -160 to do so. It's as simple as that. I'll take the value with the under.