After Patriots’ Opt-Outs, Bills Are Odds on Favorite to Win AFC East

By in NFL on
6 Minute Read
AFC Buffalo Bills NFL logo

Since March, when Tom Brady left the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills made many significant offseason moves, NFL betting sites have been alternating between these two teams as the favorites to win the AFC East division.

By the Summer, the Bills pulled ahead with most online sportsbooks only to see the Patriots return to the top of the favorites for the division after signing Cam Newton to “compete” for their starting quarterback position.

However, just like a juicy daytime soap opera, the odds and public sentiment have shifted once again. And also like the soap opera’s main character returning from a certain death, the Bills are back as the odds on favorite to win the division.

Yet, it wasn’t because of player acquisitions that Bills moved up and the Patriots fell down a notch with oddsmakers. Instead, it’s due to all of the football players opting out of the 2020 season.

With health concerns still wreaking havoc on the country, the NFL and NFLPA agreed prior to training camps that players were allowed to opt out of this season.

So far, no other team has had more players opt out than the New England Patriots. These departures have not only caused online betting sites to question New England’s chances this year, bun fans and pundits as well.

Let’s take a closer look at these football odds and see if this division is really up for the taking or if the Patriots will win it once again.

AFC East Betting Odds

The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:

  • Buffalo Bills (+100)
  • New England Patriots (+160)
  • Miami Dolphins (+700)
  • New York Jets (+900)

New York Jets (+900)

The New York Jets are the longshot in the AFC East this year and that was before the last two weeks where the team lost three of their top players.

First, the Jets traded Jamal Adams to the Seattle Seahawks, which left a huge void in their secondary. Not to mention, he was an on-field leader and catalyst for the defense’s success.

Fortunately for the team, they got a huge bounty in return including multiple first round picks. Yet, that doesn’t help with this season.

Another key loss to the team was when they released one of their best offensive linemen in Brian Winters to save cash. Making that move sting even more is the fact that Winters is reportedly signing with the Bills.

Lastly, the Jets top defender linebacker CJ Mosely has opted out for the season. He leaves a whole in the middle of the defense that won’t be easily replaced. Mosely is one of the most notable players in the NFL to sit out the 2020 season.

With the loss of these two defenders, and a lackluster group of skilled players on offense, the Jets are easily the worst team in the division.

Vegas has the Jets win total at an Over/Under of 6.5 wins. The Under is favored at -130 odds and I would have to agree.

Miami Dolphins (+700)

Unlike the rest of the teams in the AFC East, the Dolphins haven’t had any players opt out as of this writing. In fact, they’re just one of eight teams in the entire NFL to not lose a player to the covid opt out clause.

Of all the teams in the AFC East, the Miami Dolphins have the highest roster turnover due to an abysmal 5-11 record last year. Between the 2020 NFL Draft and the offseason signings, the Dolphins have a completely revamped team with plenty of talent.

They will be the sleeper in the AFC East this year. However, with all of those new pieces, Miami will need probably another year before they’re a realistic contender to win the division.

Good news for Miami is that rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa passed his physical and will compete for the starting QB spot during training camp.

Like the Jets, Miami is listed with an Over/Under of 6.5 wins. The Over is favored at -130 odds. I do see this team being around .500 and I wouldn’t be surprised if they finished 9-7. Yet, I would still caution anyone wanting to jump on these large odds. This team needs more time to become real contenders.

New England Patriots (+160)

As mentioned, no other team in the league has been hit harder with opt outs than the New England Patriots. And, it’s not only backup players or practice squad members that are sitting out the season, but key starters that are doing so as well.

Before we get to the opt outs, let’s take a look at the players that have already left the team via free agency. Of course, we all know that Tom Brady took his talents to Tampa Bay, but he wasn’t the only starter to depart.

Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts left the team and went to divisional rival Miami. Jamie Collins decided to head to Detroit instead of staying with New England.

Starting defenders Patrick Chung and Dont’a Hightower were two major names that decided to opt out this season. The loss of Hightower means that pretty much all of New England’s top linebackers are gone.

Starting offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who has two Super Bowl rings with the team, also opted out. This will leave a huge hole along the offensive line for whichever QB ends up getting the starting job. Brandon Bolden, Danny Vitale, and Najee Toran bumped the total to eight players opting out.

Not only does this team have numerous holes on defense, they will be trying to replace Brady on offense. Yet, their overall talent level on offense is closer to the Jets than the Bills at this point.

New England is in trouble. They’re at risk of not making the Playoffs for the first time since 2008. Additionally, they’re at risk of not winning the division this year. Heading into 2020, the Patriots have won the AFC Division in 16 of the last 17 seasons.

The Patirots have an Over/Under of 9 wins. Currently, the Under is favored at -135 odds. They’re ceiling is 10-6, but they will be lucky to even get to 9-7.

Buffalo Bills (+100)

Like the Jets and the Patriots, the Buffalo Bills have also had players opt out this season. Starting defensive tackle Star Lotuleile and veteran DB E.J. Gaines have decided to sit out this season.

However, unlike New England and New York, the Bills have plenty of depth at these two positions and aren’t in danger of suffering any drop offs in on-field production. That can’t be said about the Jets and Patriots who don’t have the talent to replace their players opting out.

Like the Dolphins, Buffalo also had a busy offseason bringing in double digit free agents in order to make a push for contending in the AFC Conference and winning the AFC East division.

Buffalo already had a Top 5 defense last year and they arguably upgraded it even more by adding linebacker AJ Klein, DB Josh Norman, and defensive linemen Jefferson and Addison.

Yet, it’s the offensive move that Buffalo made in March which shook up the AFC East division. That highly talked about move was trading for #1 wide receiver Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings.

The Bills now have a strong trio of receivers to go along with good young tight ends, and a dynamic backfield with Singletary and Moss. This is the most talented offense in the division and projected to be Top 5 in the AFC.

But, it all comes down to QB Josh Allen who many believe is poised to make another step forward in on-field progress and help this team become a legitimate Playoff contender.

This is Buffalo’s best chance of winning the AFC East since the 1990’s. They’re listed with an Over/Under of nine wins. The Over is favored at -130 odds.

Can the Bills circle the wagons and claim the divisional crown?

Who Will Win the AFC East in 2020?

As you can see, sports betting websites believe the Bills will win more than nine games and that the Patriots will win less than nine games based on the betting odds. Furthermore, these same sites like BetOnline, have Buffalo now as the odds on favorite to win the AFC East.

The Patriots have a tougher schedule than Buffalo. In fact, as of now, New England is projected to have the toughest schedule in the league based on the 2019 records for each team. Additionally, they could end up going 1-4 to start off the season and head into their bye week.

Cam Newton is a great acquisition, provided that he’s fully healthy. And, that’s a big question mark because he’s been hampered by injuries the last two years.

Defensively, the Bills will be better than the Patriots this year due to New England’s departures and the Bills’ arrivals. Offensively, Buffalo has a better o-line, receivers, running backs and tight ends. I would even argue that Allen is as good as Stidham and as good as Newton if he’s not 100%.

With that said, 2020 is the year that the Buffalo Bills finally end New England’s stranglehold on the division. Take Buffalo to edge out the Patriots and a surprising Dolphins team for the AFC East crown.

Who Will Win the AFC East in 2020? –Buffalo Bills (+100)
Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...

View all posts by Rick Rockwell
Email the author at: [email protected]