Sacrifice A Win And Take Under 8 For Buffalo Bills Total Wins

Buffalo Bills

Thursday, July 28, 2016 3:06 PM GMT

Is the 8.5 projected season win total for the Buffalo Bills, currently trading at the sports betting exchange, too high? We preview the NFL schedule and serve up game-by-game NFL picks.

Buffalo Bills 2015 Look Back
After leading the New York jets to a 4-12 SU record in 2014, Rex Ryan's first year with the Buffalo Bills couldn't have gone any better had he scripted it himself. He led the Bills above expectation to a solid 8-8 SU record and a third-place finish in the AFC East. At times, during the season, the Bills even flirted with a potential playoff spot. Although that didn't come to pass when all was said and done, the pairing of Ryan and the Bills was deemed a success in Buffalo.

Naturally, the question is where the Bills go from here in 2016. Will they improve on the .500 mark or will they slip up? According to the NFL betting market, it's (not surprisingly) a downward trajectory that is forecasted. Although the Bills nest on (an above average) 8.5 wins on the NFL odds board the OVER is backed out to +130 NFL odds while the UNDER is fancied at whopping -160 at Bet365.

A similar case , if not worse, actually, is being made for the Bills with Bodog where Buffalo's season win total sits on (smack on .500) 8 wins and the OVER is priced at EVEN money while the UNDER is priced at -130 NFL odds. Indeed, on the strength of Bodog's outlook, it's fair to assume the latter Bills could conceivably finish with fewer wins than they did in 2015. That's telling.

Perhaps it's down to the schedule. The Bills have the tenth toughest NFL schedule with a 0.520 winning percentage (mainstream analysis) in 2016. Compare that to last year when they had the 12th easiest NFL schedule with a 0.480 winning percentage. Arguably, that is a compelling case against the Bills replicating or bettering 2015.

Then, there's Rex Ryan himself. Mercurial, unpredictable and temperament coach if ever there was one in the NFL. His reputation as a second-year coach isn't exactly stellar either – something that might be contributing to the less than enthusiastic outlook. Bringing his brother Rob Ryan on board as the defensive coach is another thing that gives many NFL bettors pause for concern. After all, brother dearest led the New Orleans Saints to the pit of the NFL defensive charts last year. Why wouldn't you want him coaching the Bills' defense, right?

Finally, are we really sold on Tyrod Taylor at quarterback? Sure, he surprised. Raised a few eyebrows along the way, though it's still a legitimate question to ponder whether he can he do it again? The jury is out on that score. Ask yourself another question: who do the Bills have as the backup in the event of an injury to Taylor? Wait for it…drum roll…E.J. Manuel. There's nobody sold on that guy's quarterback credentials (unless they are related to him). If it comes down to pinning hopes on Manuel at any point of the season, the overwhelming consensus will bury the Bills.

For our money, we've gone and buried the Bills anyway. In this early game-by-game preview, we have the Bills performing UNDER the projected season win total. To put it simply: we're not convinced Rex Ryan and Company will replicate their 2015 season in lieu of all the concerns highlighted above.

Week 1 vs. Baltimore (away), Sunday, September 11
Baltimore Ravens are coming off a forgettable season, one which few NFL bettors expect is going to be repeated this year. A trip to M&T Stadium in week 1, therefore, isn't going to be a straightforward as for Rex Ryan and his Bills. Assuming the Ravens are healthy and fit (last year's woes were largely down to piling up injuries), one has to give the edge to the hosts.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 0-1

Week 2 vs. NY Jets, Thursday, September 15
The NY Jets are still smarting from their season-ending loss to the Bills, a loss that effectively eliminated them from the playoffs. This is sure to be a grudge match for the Jets against their former coach. It's a short week. Thursday Night Football under the watchful national gaze. A home opener against a divisional rival. There's no love lost between these two sides. Home advantage does tip it in favour of the Bills, but, Ted Bowles and the Jets will want this W badly. Unfortunately, we can't go against the Bills in good conscience right now (tempted though we are) because the Jets have yet to resign Ryan Fitzpatrick. We're not banking on Geno Smith, let's put it that way.

NFL Picks: Win
Record 1-1


Week 3 vs. Arizona, Sunday, September 25
The Arizona Cardinals are top to bottom better than the Bills. Buffalo have home advantage for this game but that's not enough to have us betting against a viable Super Bowl LI contender in 2016.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 1-2

Week 4 vs. New England (away), Sunday, October 2
Back-to-back games against Super Bowl LI contenders is a tough ask. The Bills do get a reprieve here as Tom Brady will be in the final stages of his four-game suspension. That might be enough to fancy stealing one on the road. Still, the Patriots at Foxboro can't be underestimated. Assuming Jimmy Garoppolo isn't up to snuff would also be a grievous error. Bills defense will relish the opportunity to stare down Brady's understudy – they're coming off a good season. Whether they'll be better in 2016 is up in the air, now that they have defensive guru Rob Ryan making out the plays. We saw his huge success (sarcasm!) in New Orleans, didn't we?

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 1-3

Week 5 vs. Los Angeles (away), Sunday, October 9
The Los Angeles Rams have one of the worst travelling schedules by our reckoning. Flitting back and forth across the nation. By week 4, the Rams will have played three away games and, not least, faced two of the toughest NFC West teams – Seattle (home) and Arizona (away). That makes this game a bit of a tossup, even though the Rams have home advantage. Then again, this could be a let-down game for the Bills – a game they should win but don't. Chalk it to travel or simply taking a perceived weaker opponent for granted.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 1-4

Week 6 vs. San Francisco, Sunday, October 16
LeSean McCoy was a really unhappy lad last season. Well, that's putting it mildly. Fuming, more like. To be summarily traded out of Philadelphia to the Buffalo Bills by Chip Kelly, without so much as a personal thank you, good bye party or parting gift. Heck, he wasn't even consulted. This is going to be personal. McCoy has a score to settle. The Bills lost in Philly 23-20 last season. He gets another crack at a Chip Kelly team, one that's a mess right now.

NFL Picks: Win
Record 2-4

Week 7 vs. Miami (away), Sunday, October 23
The Dolphins have several individual pieces that are very attractive but the sum total of its parts hasn't produced a competitive team in recent memory. It's hard to begin considering they might be competitive this year when they'll have a rookie head coach under the headset, their third coach in the last 12 months. Bills are dialled into this rivalry. The Bills defense own Tannehill.

NFL Picks: Win
Record 3-4

Week 8 vs. New England, Sunday, October 30
He's back. Tom Brady. Does one really need to say any more?

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 3-5

Week 9 vs. Seattle (away), Monday, November 7
After a visit from Tom Brady and the Patriots, the Bills pack up and head west to CenturyLink for a date with Russel Wilson and the Legion of Boom (Doom, more like). The NFL schedulers aren't playing nice with Rex Ryan and the Bills. Tough trip. Tough loss.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 3-6

Week 10 BYE

Week 11 vs. Cincinnati (away), Sunday, November 20
It's nice the NFL schedule spaces out this tough portion of the schedule, sticking a bye week in between away dates with Seattle and Cincinnati. Not that it will help the Bills an awful lot, you'd think. It's a 1 PM EST time game at Paul Brown stadium; 1 PM EST Andy Dalton is reliable as a Swiss clock.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 3-7

Week 12 vs. Jacksonville, Sunday, November 27
The Jacksonville Jaguars figure to be a much improved side in 2016. A lively, hopping offense and a better defense means they can't be taken for granted. If they could stun the Bills last season in London, coming from behind to win 34-31 at Wembley Stadium, imagine what they could do this time around with a better roster. (Consider the Bills' defense might not be as good under Rob Ryan this season too). As such, this registers as a tossup in our books and we wouldn't be surprised if the Jaguars pull out another win. However, given home advantage for the Bills and the frigid weather in Buffalo this time of the year, we're tipping it to the hosts.

NFL Picks: Win
Record 4-7

Week 13 vs. Oakland (away), Sunday, December 4
The Oakland Raiders are a team on the rise according to the many NFL betting experts. A trip out west to the O.co Coliseum isn't what it used to be: a sure win. These Raiders can play and they'll certainly fancy their chances against a Bills team that doesn't always rise to the occasion.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 4-8

Week 14 vs. Pittsburgh, Sunday, December 11
Week 14 ushers in a three-week home stretch as the season hurtles towards the finish line. The first of these games serves up a visit from the Pittsburgh Steelers – so not a straightforward game at all. It's hard to bank on the Bills in a mismatch of such proportions, from elite quarterback to high octane offense and solid defense the Steelers are better than the Bills in many key categories. So long as the Steelers are healthy – particularly Big Ben, LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown – we can't see a win by the hosts.

NFL Picks:
Record 4-9

Week 15 vs. Cleveland, Sunday, December 18
Cleveland Browns are happy to see the back of Johnny Manziel and eager to close the book on the past. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem much to be excited about for the future, even the much-talked about analytics approach is met with blasé interest. Should be an easy win for the Bills.

NFL Picks: Win
Record 5-9

Week 16 vs. Miami, Saturday, December 24
The Miami Dolphins descend on Buffalo on Christmas Day. The Bills swept the Fins convincingly last season, winning 41-14 and 33-17. Buffalo could very well pull off another double over Miami in 2016.

NFL Picks: Win
Record 6-9

Week 17 vs. NY Jets (away), Sunday, January 1
Last season, the week 17 clash between the Bills and Jets had playoff implications for the latter. It seems Rex Ryan expects it to have similar such implication in 2016. This time for the Bills. Oh dear, that's big talk. The 22-17 win over the Jets last term came in Buffalo. This time, the Jets have home advantage and redemption uppermost on their minds. Heck, even if – to indulge Rex Ryan for a moment – this game does have playoff implications for the Bills there is nothing to stop the Jets doing to the Bills what they did to them. A taste of their own medicine you could say.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 6-10

NFL Season Win Total Projections for the Bills: According to our way too early game-by-game rundown, the Bills are set to take a step back. Our predictions lean towards a 6-10 SU mark by week 17, which falls in line with the NFL betting outlook that tips the Bills to go UNDER the 8 or 8.5 wins projected across sports betting platforms. Naturally, backing the 8.5 wins gives NFL bettors more wiggle room to play with – in case the Bills do replicate the 8-8 SU record in 2015 -- than the 8 wins offered by Bodog, amongst several other bookmakers. The price is better in the latter scenario though. Going UNDER 8.5 wins at the high -160 price is not a worthwhile bet in our books. Better bang for your buck is to sacrifice a win essentially and take the UNDER 8 at -130 NFL odds.

NFL Picks: UNDER 8 at -130 at Bodog