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A third place finish a year removed from reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1999 isn’t what Sean McDermott envisioned for his Buffalo Bills entering the 2018-19 season. Unfortunately, that’s exactly how it played out with the defense by and large the main reason why the team was even able to accumulate six overall wins. Those that bought into the team totals market early on ended up cashing tickets at 6.5, but those that waited after it went down a full game to 5.5 at online sportsbooks were forced to rip up tickets. Be that as it may, the linemakers and the betting public look to be bullish on Josh Allen and company heading into the regular season. With Buffalo averaging 7.3 wins over the last three seasons, it comes as no surprise to see the current win total check in at 7. What is surprising however is the fact that heavy vigorish is attached to the over which paints the picture of the Bills actually competing for a playoff spot in the AFC.
After possessing one of the worst offenses the league had to offer a short season ago, upper management made it a point to go out and give their prized quarterback some new toys to play with this upcoming season. The additions of John Brown and Cole Beasley should pay dividends immediately with the former able to beat defenses with breakneck speed and route running, while the latter is likely to become Allen’s go-to target on third down tries with him being the ultimate possession receiver. Also thrown into the mix were veteran running back Frank Gore and Alabama product T.J. Yeldon. With Allen already being one of the bright young stars at the quarterback position, it would be a huge shock if buffalo was unable to dramatically improve upon its No. 30 ranked total and scoring offense in 2019-20.
The story is much different on the defensive side of the ball where Buffalo has thrived since the new coaching staff came to town. Under the leadership of Leslie Frazier, Buffalo possessed the league’s No. 1 rankled pass defense and No. 2 ranked overall defense in 2018-19. While it did have some issues defending the run evidenced by it conceding just under 115.0 yards per game, it still only surrendered 4.2 yards per carry ( No. 10). Newcomer Ed Oliver is expected to help better the run defense, and he gets the benefit of joining a group that returns 10 of 11 starters with all the major tacklers back in the fold. That includes Tremaine Edwards whose 80 tackles led the way. The unit has been flapping its gums throughout the offseason stating it wants and expects to be the No. 1 ranked stop unit in the NFL.
Should the defense actually go on to live up to those expectations, it could really be a fun season for the city of Buffalo in 2019-20. Their Week 1 battle with the Jets on the road will set the tone right from the get go. If they can topple New York and take two from the Giants and Bengals, that Week 4 home tilt against the AFC East rival New England Patriots will be a big one! After managing a 7-9 record against the spread last season, look for the Bills to fatten up NFL bettors’ bankrolls more often this season.