NFL Division Betting: Buffalo Can End New England's Reign in the AFC East
It somehow feels like the 2020 NFL Draft was yesterday and four years ago at the same time.
With the draft that saw a record amount of money bet behind us, it's time to look forward to the upcoming season. Luckily, FanDuel Sportsbook has well north of 150 props already available for you to choose from.
With this series, I'm going to go division by division and come up with my favorite picks to take home the divisional crown -- as always, the goal is to find some value.
Here's a look at the team I'd bet on to win the AFC East.
AFC East Overview
Before diving in, let's take a look at how the schedules stack up.
|Team||Overall SoS||Games vs. ≥ .500||Avg. Opponent Est. NERD|
|New England Patriots||0.512||8||0.12|
|New York Jets||0.523||11||0.65|
According to Brandon Gdula's schedule rankings -- where he utilizes numberFire's nERD metric in conjunction with FanDuel Sportsbook's win totals -- Buffalo has the easiest schedule in the division while New England is third.
In actuality, the Pats' schedule is a bit skewed on paper due to their three matchups with the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Ravens. Outside of those contests, the Patriots have just one matchup against a team with an over/under of nine or higher -- the Seattle Seahawks.
Bill Belichick and company had a tumultuous offseason...to say the least. The team lost Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton, and some guy named Tom Brady. They did add Beau Allen, Adrian Phillips, Brandon Copeland, Brian Hoyer, and a couple of edge rushers in the draft.
Sure, the loss of Brady is huge, but New England did win 12 games in 2019 despite the fact that he was 18th in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) and 19th in Passing NEP per drop back. More concerning is the fact that 2019's first-ranked defense lost three starters on their defensive front.
Meanwhile, the Bills quietly had themselves a solid offseason. The team didn't forfeit much on the offensive side, added Stefon Diggs via trade, and running back Zack Moss in the draft. Defensively, they did lose Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips but replaced them with Mario Addison, Vernon Butler, Quinton Jefferson, and A.J. Epenesa.
I wouldn't waste my money on the Dolphins or Jets. The Jets are +190 to finish last in their division, that's a bet I'd make.
The Patriots have won the AFC East in 11 straight seasons and 16 of their last 17 -- just insane. This could be the season that streak comes to an end. It's rarely smart to bet against Belichick, but there's plenty of losable games on New England's docket.
While the Pats have dominated the East, the Bills have...not. Buffalo has not won the division since 1995, spanning 24 seasons. Could this be their year?
The Bills went 10-6 in 2019, and five of their six losses were by one score. Buffalo's defense was a top-eight unit in terms of Adjusted Defensive NEP per play, but they were bottom-half offensively, namely pass offense -- 11th-worst.
While Josh Allen won't miraculously turn into a precision-passer, the addition of Diggs should take their passing game to another level -- a level that allows them to come out ahead in those one-score games and take home the division crown.
You can also double-down on this pick by betting New England's finishing being second (+210).