Let’s talk about the Buffalo Bills for a minute just because they’ve been one of the most heavily bet teams to finish below their season win total.
It’s a trend spurred by QB Tyrod Taylor leaving town and A.J. McCarron expected to be the starter this season. McCarron rarely lost at Alabama but is 2-2 in four NFL starts. Bettors aren’t believing in him.
“Buffalo money on the Under keeps coming in,” said Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook manager Ed Salmons. “We’ve gone from 7 under to 6.5 to 6 Under, and it’s not all scalp action. Some of it has been from sharp money.”
Is it warranted? Obviously, Taylor leaving is a big deal from a team that went 10-6-1 against-the-spread last season. But is it possible second-year head coach Sean McDermott isn’t getting enough respect? The Bills made the playoffs last year for the first time since the Music City Miracle after the 1999 season with an anemic offense that averaged only 300 ypg. Only three other teams averaged less offensively.
“They had some turnover on the offensive line, but the defense is going to be really good. I think some of the under play on the Bills is in regard to LeSean McCoy legal issues,” said Sportsbook Radio host Brian Blessing, who covered the Bills on TV in Buffalo for 20 years.
McCoy gained 1,586 yards from scrimmage last season and was basically the entire offense. Earlier this month his ex-girlfriend accused him of orchestrating an attack in Atlanta where she was beaten and robbed. Police are still investigating. No suspension yet, but based on Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension last season the NFL is capable of anything. Veteran Chris Ivory was signed in the offseason as a back-up.
“You’re going to want to play the Under in most Bills games this season,” said Blessing. “I expect them to have some of the lowest totals of the season.”
Last season Buffalo went 9-7 to the Under in the regular season with an average score of 18-to-22 and then lost 10-3 in the playoffs at Jacksonville as a 9-point underdog.
The Bills have drafted six QB’s since Jim Kelly and none had a winning record. Wyoming QB Josh Allen was taken with the seventh overall pick and has looked good in camp so far. But Blessing is expecting a conservative approach from whoever ends up starting and he wasn’t too high on Taylor.
“The bottom line is that Taylor couldn’t win the close games in the end,” Blessing said.
Five of their first seven games are on the road, which could be another reason bettors are chasing the Bills total, but Blessing says they’ll get better along the way.
“The defense will be good all season, but I think as a few weeks go by we’re going to see the offense improve and then they close with four of their final six games at home in the cold,” said Blessing.
The Westgate has a Yes/No prop on the Bills making the playoffs with Yes +500 and No -700 and they’re 40-to-1 to win the AFC and 80-to-1 to win the Super Bowl. The Patriots have won the AFC East the past nine seasons and 14 of the past 15. They are large 1-to-7 favorites to do it again. The Dolphins are 10-to-1 while the Jets and Bills are both 12-to-1.
On another note, bettors are high on the Dolphins pushing them from 6 season wins up to 6.5 Over -130.
“Miami Over has also got some play,” said Salmons. “I don’t think much of them this season, but someone does.”
Which are the MLB teams with the biggest risk?
“We lose to the A’s (30/1 now) a little and a bit to the Cardinals (80/1) as well, but the Rockies (25/1) are the biggest risk so far among those team with a realistic chance,” Salmons said.
The trade deadline is coming up Tuesday and there’s a game changer available.
“(Jacob) deGrom is the best pitcher in the National League, but the Mets don’t hit for him,” Salmons said. “I don’t think he’s won a game in two months. Max Scherzer is the (1/3) favorite to win the Cy Young just because of his wins and strikeouts, but if you put the stats up side by side and covered the names, wins, and strikeouts, it would be hard to make a case against DeGrom (9/4) with his 1.81 ERA. He would make any contender considerably better if traded and their World Series odds would drop significantly.”
When asked what the Dodgers would drop to if they traded for deGrom, Salmons said they would drop to a 4-to-1 favorite, leap-frogging co-favorites Houston and Boston who are 9-to-2. The odds to win the World Series are still in 27 percent theoretic hold range as usual, but there’s a tilt with solid teams given better odds and fringe teams having lower odds. Is that because of the lesson learned with millions Nevada lost in 2011 with the Cardinals?
“Yeah, 2011 were unique circumstances with the Cardinals who were seven games back of the wild card heading into September, but our lower odds on some of the outside contenders are more about two wild card teams coming from each league instead of one,” Salmons said. “It’s easier to make the playoffs now.”