With a lack of live sporting events as a result of COVID-19, the NFL’s off-season news has taken center stage. There have been a number of trades, free-agent signings and franchise tags that have shaped the landscape of the 2020-21 NFL season. As a result, oddsmakers are ready with their season win totals.
This is the first of an eight-part series where we break down the best season win total bets of every division. In this article, we focus on the AFC East. And here are all of our 2020 NFL Over/Under Win Totals Predictions.
(odds courtesy of FOX Bet)
AFC East 2020-21 Season Win Totals
Buffalo Bills (Over 8.5 -133, Under 8.5 +110)
After a 17-year playoff drought from 2000 to 2016, the Buffalo Bills have made the playoffs two of the last three years under head coach Sean McDermott. The Bills appear to be a team headed in the right direction, especially as quarterback Josh Allen continues to develop in his third full season. Buffalo finished the regular season with a 10-6 record last year before losing to the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round.
The Bills have been extremely busy this off-season. Perhaps no move was more important than the trade for a No. 1 receiver in Stefon Diggs. The trade was costly as Buffalo gave up their first-round draft pick (No. 22 overall) along with three other late-round picks.
In addition to Diggs, the Bills re-signed guard Quinton Spain and added veterans Quinton Jefferson and Vernon Butler to the defensive line. Lastly, cornerback Josh Norman is reunited with McDermott who served as his defensive coordinator with the Panthers.
Buffalo’s 10-6 record in 2019 can be attributed in large part to staying healthy throughout the season. The Bills lost just six players to injured reserve all season and finished with the fewest games missed because of injury from their starters.
While the Bills are not as likely to stay as healthy, they added much-needed depth at many positions. Look for Josh Allen to improve his passing numbers with the best skill players around him he has ever had.
For the under to cash, the Bills would need to go .500 or worse. Given that the Bills may very well be the favorites in the AFC East, I am all-in on the over.
Verdict: Take Buffalo OVER 8.5 wins
Miami Dolphins (Over 5.5 -120, Under 5.5 +100)
The Miami Dolphins looked like one of the worst teams in NFL history through the first seven games last season. Just one of their first seven losses came by less than ten points. However, the Dolphins played hard down the stretch and put to bed any notion that they were tanking for the No. 1 overall draft pick. They finished 5-4 in their last nine games, highlighted by a win in New England in Week 17.
The Dolphins have emphasized the defensive side of the ball with their off-season moves. They added former Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones, who forms one of the best cornerback tandems with Xavien Howard. They also added edge rushers Shaq Lawson and Kyle Van Noy to improve a pass rush that finished last in the league with 23 sacks.
Miami’s offensive moves have been less news-worthy. They added running back Jordan Howard and guard Ereck Flowers who struggled for much of his time with the Giants. It will be interesting to see what the Dolphins do with the No. 5 overall draft pick. Most prognosticators assume they will select a quarterback to eventually replace Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Given that the Dolphins finished with five wins last year after being non-competitive for the first two months, the prospects look good for them to improve upon this record. However, if the Dolphins draft a quarterback there is a chance they start him right away. That alone is reason enough to lay off for now until we get more information on their plans.
New England Patriots (Over 9.5 +100, Under 9.5 -120)
The last time the Patriots finished with nine or fewer wins was back in 2002. However, the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2001, 2003 and 2004 so I think their fans forgave them for one poor season.
The obvious reason for oddsmakers setting their win total as low as it has been in the last 18 years is the departure of Tom Brady. As of now, the Patriots are somewhat mute about their quarterback plans heading into this season. They signed veteran Brian Hoyer and currently have Jarrett Stidham atop their depth chart. Stidham has thrown just four career passes. Perhaps the Patriots could sign a player like Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, or Jameis Winston. Either way, there will be an extreme drop-off from what Brady provided them with for the last 20 seasons.
One thing that remains constant for New England is perhaps the greatest coach of all-time, Bill Belichick is still roaming the sidelines. That fact alone has to be good for a handful of wins. Surprisingly, many teams continue to play well the season after a star player leaves. Just take a look at the Chicago Bulls in the two years Michael Jordan left to play baseball.
With so many unknowns surrounding the Patriots entering 2020-21, it is wise to lay off their season win total and see how Belichick and the team respond without Brady under center.
New York Jets (Over 6.5 -120, Under 6.5 +100)
The New York Jets were one of last season’s biggest disappointments, finishing with a 7-9 record. There was much optimism surrounding the Jets after signing running back Le’Veon Bell. However, quarterback Sam Darnold missed three games with mononucleosis and the Jets never got back on track.
The Jets appear willing to move on from free-agent wide receiver Robby Anderson. New York has four new offensive linemen (Greg Van Roten, Connor McGovern, George Fant, and Alex Lewis) that will likely need time to gel together. In addition, the Jets appear to have one of the worst secondary units, specifically at cornerback, in the entire NFL.
Like the rest of the AFC East, the Jets will face an extremely competitive schedule this season. The Jets will host the 49ers and the much-improved Cardinals. In addition, they will travel to Kansas City, Seattle, and Los Angeles to face both the Rams and the Chargers.
Many will be quick to assume the Jets are a good bet for the over considering they finished 7-9 last season. However, a murderous schedule and a non-cohesive offensive line will be the reason they do not reach at least seven wins again.
Verdict: Take New York UNDER 6.5 wins