The Rundown’s NFL Bet of the Week: Can the Bills Circle the Wagons vs. the Dolphins?
Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Allen, Sean McDermott
After reaching the AFC Championship on the back of a prolific offense last season, the Buffalo Bills underwhelmed a lot of their fans and bettors when the Josh Allen-led unit mustered just 16 points in a Week 1 home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was a disappointment to be sure, but there are a lot of positives Buffalo can take from that game, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a resurgence from the offense this weekend in Miami.
For starters, Pittsburgh’s defense is shaping up to be one of the best in the league; the linebacking corps of T.J. Watt, Devin Bush, Joe Schobert, and Melvin Ingram is going to cause problems for opposing offenses all year; the Joe Haden-led secondary is going to be stingy against the pass. There’s no shame in being somewhat ineffective against them.
And while the Bills failed to get in the endzone save for one time last week, the offense wasn’t bad by any means against that strong defense. Allen threw for 270 yards and that one score, finding Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley a combined 17 times for 129 yards.
Perhaps more encouraging was that Devin Singletary, who wasn’t very effective in 2020, rushed for 72 yards on 6.5 yards per carry before Buffalo had to abandon the run in the fourth quarter. Not bad against those linebackers.
The Dolphins’ front seven, on the other hand, didn’t get any stronger this offseason. Kyle Van Noy, a consistently underrated defensive player, went back to New England after one season in Miami, and the pieces the team added to replace him don’t inspire much confidence.
But even considering last year’s Dolphins’ defense, there’s a chance it was actually somewhat overrated. Sure, they were sixth in the NFL with 21.1 points allowed per game, but they averaged just 9.3 points allowed against the Jaguars, Jets (twice), Bengals (without Joe Burrow), and Patriots (twice). When you factor out those poor offenses, their average jumps up to 27.9.
That second figure includes the two occasions they played the Bills last season when Buffalo dropped 31 points on them in Week 2 and 56 (!) in Week 17. Across those two contests, Allen threw for 639 yards and seven touchdowns while completing 70% of his passes.
Even if Singletary isn’t able to get it going on the ground again this week, his team has some nice depth options in Zack Moss and the newly added Matt Breida.
While the Bills defense wasn’t bad against Pittsburgh, it might be better to stay away from them for one more week to ensure they can shut down the Dolphins’ offense, which didn’t look too shabby against the Patriots’ solid D.
As such, betting on Buffalo’s offense to rebound by taking the over on their team total would seem to be the prudent move. You’re getting a solid number to do so too; this current figure should be pretty easily attainable if the Bills get in the endzone at least three times, which oddsmakers have currently juice up to -190.
The team total is also catching steam in the betting markets, so get it while it’s hot.
Pick: Bills Team Total Over 24.5 (-120)