The Buffalo Bills are a team that rarely gets mentioned when people discuss the elite teams in the NFL this year. When discussing potential Super Bowl matchups, most will mention teams like the Patriots, Packers, Saints, Chiefs and 49ers. There is good reason for that, of course. All of those teams are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
The Bills are an afterthought, however, despite the fact that they have put up a 6-2 record through their first 8 games of the season. That is actually tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the second-best mark in the AFC, trailing only New England (8-1). Perhaps the Bills get overshadowed because they share a division with the Patriots. Perhaps people are also wary to buy into a franchise that has won a grand total of zero playoff games since 1995.
While New England may well go on to win the AFC East and earn a first-round bye, the playoffs are still a very attainable goal for the Bills this season. Just qualifying for the postseason is a goal for every team at the beginning of the year, but why stop there? If the Bills are good enough to get into the playoffs, who’s to say they can’t go all the way and win Super Bowl LIV?
Needless to say, oddsmakers aren’t too bullish on the Bills to get out of the AFC. Despite being 4 games over the .500 mark 8 games into the campaign, Buffalo is still listed with middling odds at just about every legitimate super bowl betting site. The most common number is around +7000, which is amazing value for a 6-2 team.
It’s really a numbers game. The Bills have worse Super Bowl odds than teams like the Chargers (+6500), Panthers (+6600), Eagles (+2200), Rams (+2400), Colts (+4500) and Texans (+2400). None of those teams are sure bets to even qualify for the playoffs. I’d stop short of saying Buffalo is a lock to make it, either, but the odds gap between these teams should not be as wide as it is.
If nothing else, the Bills are a worthwhile long-shot bet to win the Super Bowl at their current odds.
Oddsmakers and those that follow the NFL tend to overlook the Bills because Buffalo has enjoyed a pretty easy schedule to this point. While that is undoubtedly true, the team still has to go out there every week and actually win the game. We see massive upsets every single week in the NFL. The fact that the Bills have gone out there and taken care of business against the teams they should beat isn’t something we should be holding against them.
Yet, they still get very little respect for what they have accomplished to this point. As a bettor, that is something you can use to your advantage. It’s not unreasonable to think that Buffalo’s odds may get even longer between now and the rest of the season.
So far, the Bills have beaten the Jets, Giants, Bengals, Titans, Dolphins and Redskins. Those teams have combined for just 8 wins all year. Their 2 losses have come at the hands of the Eagles and Patriots, who have a combined record of 13-5.
Of course, it’s also worth noting that the schedule doesn’t get much more difficult moving forward. Buffalo’s next 3 games will come against the Browns, Dolphins and Broncos. They also have a game with the Steelers and another against the lowly Jets before the season ends. If the Bills win every game they should win the rest of the way, they can get all the way to 11 wins entering the postseason.
It’s hard to imagine oddsmakers will be buying into the Bills even if they do manage to win 10 or 11 games on their way into the playoffs. So, it stands to reason that Buffalo could still make for a very appealing betting option at long odds once the playoffs actually get underway in January.
Once you get into the playoffs, anything is possible. Let’s not forget that the Jacksonville Jaguars nearly beat the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game 2 years ago.
Once you get past New England, the AFC is bereft of obvious Super Bowl contenders. The Chiefs were a trendy pick before the season, but Kansas City has dealt with injuries and inconsistent play thus far. The Ravens look good now, but there are still questions about whether Lamar Jackson can lead a team to the Super Bowl, especially this early in his career.
The Texans, Colts, Chargers and Steelers are all flawed teams. It’s hard to say that the Bills’ flaws are any more damaging than the flaws of any of those squads. Why throw your money away betting on a team like the Chargers when you can get a legitimately better team like the Bills at even more favorable odds?
Running and Defense
Some will wonder about Josh Allen’s accuracy, but his ability to affect a game with his legs is rare for a quarterback in this day and age. Buffalo also has a strong traditional rushing attack featuring grizzly veteran Frank Gore and nimble rookie Devin Singletary. John Brown is a viable deep threat in the passing game, while Cole Beasley is a workhorse underneath.
If the Bills are to make a surprise appearance in the Super Bowl, it will be because of their stellar defense. Buffalo has allowed just 2,370 total yards this season, which is the third-fewest in football. The Bills’ 11 takeaways ranks in the top-half of the league, as well. If Buffalo can improve their pass-rushing production (20 sacks is near the bottom of the league), the defense doesn’t have any apparent weaknesses.
“Defense wins championships” is a cliché, but there is plenty of truth to it. The Patriots’ defense has garnered plenty of buzz this season, and people are jumping all over themselves betting on New England to win another title. The Bills’ defense has plenty of its own talent, which is part of the reason why Buffalo makes for a very intriguing Super Bowl betting option.
We have seen plenty of teams win Super Bowls while relying on a consistent ground game and a dominant defense. Having a superstar quarterback is probably the easiest path to a title, but it’s far from a necessity. QBs like Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson and Mark Rypien have won Super Bowls in the past. Josh Allen is not worse than any of them.
The Bills are very familiar with the Patriots, which can’t hurt Buffalo in a hypothetical playoff matchup. Buffalo is one of the few teams that has enjoyed at least a little bit of success against New England over the course of the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. That familiarity could play into the Bills’ hands if they wind up meeting in a playoff game early next year.
The lack of quality teams in the AFC combined with the underrated strengths of the Bills’ roster makes them an intriguing long-shot bet to win the Super Bowl this season. You won’t find many 6-2 teams with odds around +7000 in most years, which presents a unique betting opportunity. Take advantage of the odds while you can. It’s certainly not the most likely outcome, but there are reasons to believe that this could be the year the Bills finally get over the hump.