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Bills Have Enough to Prove Bettors, Oddsmakers Wrong

Aug 03, 2018 5:42 PM EDT
  • The Bills made the playoffs last season with a 9-7 record, but their 2018 Vegas win total has been set at 6, with juice on the under.
  • By looking at their point spreads for the upcoming season, we can calculate Buffalo's projected record for the upcoming season.
  • With a projected total of 6.4 wins, there's value in betting the 'over' on the Bills win total this year.

Bills Mafia celebrated the end of a 17-year long playoff drought last season, after a 9-7 season that significantly exceeded expectations. Entering last season, the Bills’ win total was set at 6.5 (u-150) and over bettors were able to cash in by Week 14. Despite that success, their expected win total is actually lower this season.

Oddsmakers are expecting no more than six wins from Buffalo in 2018, as they’ve set the total at 6 with juice as high as -170 on the under (Bovada).

Even with the hefty price, bettors are still hammering away at the under, making this one of the few opportunities to take a contrarian over on a win total.

As Mark Gallant pointed out last week, win total bettors are very over-happy, with 25 of the 32 team totals receiving more than 50% of bets on the over. The Bills actually have the least popular over in the league, as only 24% of bettors have faith in Buffalo to surpass six wins.

Perhaps that number should be higher, though.

Our strength of schedule analysis gives the Bills the third-easiest schedule in the entire league, and has Buffalo gaining close to a full win based on that schedule.

On top of that, point spreads for the 2018 season have been out for some time now, and by converting those into win probabilities, we can generate a more accurate win total, or at least shed some light on an inconsistency that offers betting value.


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Week 1: at Ravens

CG Tech line: BUF +3.5

Approx. win probability: 35.73%

2018 won’t start with many winnable games for the Bills. As an underdog of more than a field goal in Baltimore, they have about a 35% chance to start the year 1-0.

Projected record: 0.36-0.64

Week 2: vs. Chargers

CG Tech line: BUF +1

Approx. win probability: 48.75%

Home field advantage makes this a virtual  to a toss-up, but Buffalo still has less than a 50% chance of winning. Despite that, they’re more likely to be 1-1 than 0-2 through two games.

Projected record: 0.84-1.16

Week 3: at Vikings

CG Tech line: BUF +10

Approx. win probability: 16.44%

This will be the Bills’ second-toughest game, according to oddsmakers. As a 10-point dog, Buffalo is barely given a shot to win this game. They likely go into Week 4 at 1-2.

Projected record: 1.01-1.99

Week 4: at Packers

CG Tech line: BUF +9.5

Approx. win probability: 18.89%

It doesn’t get any easier here, as they’ll face the other NFC North juggernaut on the road in Week 4. They have less than a 20% chance of winning at Lambeau field.

Projected record: 1.20-2.80

Week 5: vs. Titans

CG Tech line: pick’em

Approx. win probability: 50%

They’re technically not favored, but finally the Bills have another winnable game on their schedule.

Projected record: 1.70-3.30

Week 6: at Texans

CG Tech line: BUF +6

Approx. win probability: 29.35%

The difficult first half of the season continues in Week 6, as Buffalo will have to face what should be a much improved Texans team on the road. Their record through six games will most likely be 2-4.

Projected record: 1.99-4.01

Week 7: at Colts

CG Tech line: BUF +2

Approx. win probability: 46.51%

They’d probably be favored in this matchup if it were in Buffalo, but being on the road makes the Bills a two-point dog against the Colts.

Projected record: 2.46-4.54

Week 8: vs. Patriots

CG Tech line: BUF +4.5

Approx. win probability: 32.74%

Buffalo is only a 4.5-point dog at home against the Pats. Of course, that won’t be the case in Week 16 in Foxboro, but oddsmakers think the Bills can win this game about a third of the time. At the halfway point in their season, they’re still projected under three wins, but their record trends to 3-5.

Projected record: 2.78-5.22

Week 9: vs. Bears

CG Tech line: BUF -1.5

Approx. win probability: 52.5%

For the first time all season, the Bills are favored in Week 9. It’s only by a point and a half, but that gives them a 52.5% chance at a win.

Projected record: 3.31-5.69

Week 10: at Jets

CG Tech line: BUF +1

Approx. win probability: 48.75%

The Bills are a one-point dog on the road against the Jets, meaning they’re likely to come out with one win in their final two games heading into the bye.

Projected record: 3.80-6.20

Week 11: Bye

Projected record: 3.80-6.20

Week 12: vs. Jaguars

CG Tech line: BUF +4.5

Approx. win probability: 32.74%

The matchups don’t get easier coming off the bye, as the Bills will face last year’s AFC South champs in Week 12. That means they’ll win this game less than a third of the time, according to oddsmakers, and puts their projected record at 4-7.

Projected record: 4.12-6.88

Week 13: at Dolphins

CG Tech line: BUF +1

Approx. win probability: 48.75%

Weeks 13-15 offer a three-game stretch of winnable games for Buffalo. As a one-point dog in Miami, they should win this game close to half the time. This spread should also come in handy in determining the unset Week 17 line.

Projected record: 4.61-7.39

Week 14: vs. Jets

CG Tech line: BUF -4

Approx. win probability: 65.77%

The Bills’ most winnable game comes in Week 14. As a four-point favorite, Buffalo should win this game 65% of the time, putting their projected win total over 5 with three games to go.

Projected record: 5.27-7.73

Week 15: vs. Lions

CG Tech line: pick’em

Approx. win probability: 50%

The Lions, like the Bills, won nine games last season. While this game is in Buffalo, it’s still a pick’em. That half-win, however, means the Bills’ most likely record is 6-8 entering Week 16.

Projected record: 5.77-8.23

Week 16: at Patriots

CG Tech line: BUF +10.5

Approx. win probability: 13.98%

Buffalo’s toughest annual test comes in Week 16 at Foxboro. As a 10.5-point dog, we can’t add much to the Bills’ win total. Still, entering the final week of the season they will have likely already reached their win total.

Projected record: 5.91-9.09

Week 17: vs. Dolphins

CG Tech line: N/A

Projected line: BUF -1

Approx. win probability: 51.25%

The Bills were a one-point dog in Miami, meaning they’d probably be something like a 3.5-point favorite at home against the Dolphins in a typical matchup. Of course, Week 17 games aren’t typical, which is why they’re left off the board. I still think it’s more likely that Buffalo would be favored, but we’ll bring it closer to a pick’em to play the conservative side.

Projected record: 6.42-9.58

Based on this analysis, the Bills are projected to win nearly 6.5 games, yet their total is set at 6 with juice on the under. With over juice as high as +140, there’s some significant value to be had for bettors willing to take a chance on Buffalo.

They may not return to playoff form in 2018, but oddsmakers — at least through their point spreads — think the Bills are certainly capable of winning six games this season.

Credit:

Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Josh Allen (17).

Follow Danny Donahue on Twitter
@dannyjdonahue

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# BETS
-3
45
-2.5
43.5
41
-9.5
40.5
-7
59
-14.5
60
-13
-9.5
47
-9.5
46.5
43.5
-11
43
-10.5
46.5
-7
46
-6
54
-3
54.5
-3
48
-3
47.5
-3
47
-3
47.5
-3
-3
38
-3
37
44
-13
45
-12
51
-10
51
-7.5
-3.5
47.5
-3
47
48.5
-4.5
48
-3
43
-5.5
41.5
-6