How To Bet AFC East Futures Odds: Expect Josh Allen, Bills To Dominate Again In 2021
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Allen
Action’s Director of Predictive Analytics, Sean Koerner, simulated the 2021 NFL season 10,000 times to project win totals and playoff odds for every AFC East team in order to identify early value on their futures.
2021 AFC East Projections
|New England Patriots||15.5%||35.2%||37.5%||11.8%|
|New York Jets||1.5%||7.7%||19.3%||71.5%|
Bills Win Total Projections
|Make vs. Miss Playoffs||83.8% vs. 16.2%|
Josh Allen is coming off a breakout season where he finished as runner-up for the 2020 MVP award.
Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll deserves a ton of credit for Allen’s Year 3 breakout. Not only did he turn the Bills into a pass-heavy offense (second-highest early-pass down frequency), but he also dialed up more play-action dropbacks for Allen (led the league with 217). Daboll created an offensive scheme that was able to unlock the young QB’s massive potential.
Neither Daboll nor defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was plucked away from another organization to become a head coach, meaning both will return to Buffalo for the 2021 season. That is a big reason why I lean on the Over 11 wins for the Bills. They maintain the continuity of being one of the best-coached teams in the league.
Their Pythagorean expected win total of 10.6 makes their 13-3 record last season seem a bit lucky. However, I like to also look at Game Time (Leading) that Football Outsiders tracks. Last season the Bills led for 38:02 of game time on average, translating to roughly 13.1 wins based on my expected wins metric. It’s likely the Bills played softer defense with the lead — which hurt their point differential — but were every bit as dominant as their 13-3 record would indicate.
Lean: Over 11 (-110) at FanDuel
Dolphins Win Total Projections
|Make vs. Miss Playoffs||49.5% vs. 50.5%|
Tua Tagovailoa’s rookie season was a disappointment almost any way you slice it. Here is where he ranked in a few key metrics I like to look at for QBs (out of 43 qualified passers):
- ANY/A: 5.4 (32nd)
- QB Rating: 87.1 (29th)
- EPA/play: (31st)
Tua was a below-average quarterback as a rookie, but he was above average when comparing him to other rookie seasons. Since 2010, there have been 42 rookie QBs to attempt 200+ passes; here is how Tua stacked up against his peers:
- ANY/A: 5.4 (18th)
- QB Rating: 87.1 (13th)
Considering Tua was coming off a significant hip injury and entered the league with a COVID-deleted offseason, I’m willing to cut him some slack. However, I expect him to make considerable progress this year, especially with Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle added to the mix.
The Dolphins’ offensive line is a huge question mark considering they will have three second-year players in the starting lineup. It could prevent them from posting 10+ wins, but their above-average defense will keep them above .500 and they’ll finish 9-8.
Plays: Under 9.5 (+105) at DraftKings
Patriots Win Total Projections
|Make vs. Miss Playoffs||45.2% vs. 54.8%|
The Patriots did not enjoy the first season of the post-Tom Brady era. They finished with a 7-9 record, failed to make the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade, and Brady won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers 一 in their home stadium no less. Therefore it wasn’t surprising to see Bill Belichick go on a $170 million spending spree in free agency and use the Pats’ first-round pick on a QB (Mac Jones).
They overpaid a handful of players in free agency. Nelson Agholor, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are all quality additions, but not enough to make this a 10+ win team. As a result, I’m projecting New England to finish under 9.5 wins 60.2% of the time.
Pick: Under 9.5 (+110) at DraftKings
Jets Win Total Projections
|Make vs. Miss Playoffs||6.9% vs. 93.1%|
The needle is pointing up for the Jets organization long term. Adam Gase is out and Robert Saleh is in. The coaching change will have an immediate positive impact on the team’s culture and decision making. However, I think this team is still a year or two away from ending its decade-long playoff drought. Zach Wilson comes into Year 1 oozing with talent but was a late bloomer in college and may need a year or two to adjust to the NFL.
After ranking 28th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against the pass last season, the Jets secondary remains a huge concern. It’s the main reason why I’m in line with sportsbooks and have the Jets with the third-lowest win total (six).
The Jets will be a team to look out for in 2022 as they will have the third-most cap space entering next offseason, which should allow them to finish their rebuild as Wilson plays out his rookie contract. Therefore, I expect them to be a serious playoff contender as soon as next season.
I’m passing on their win total.