After so much anticipation, the 2023 NFL regular season has finally arrived. The season is kicking off but perhaps the most anticipated game of Week 1 is the Monday Night showdown between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, happening in a few days.
If anything, the game is a microcosm of what many expect this season to be for Buffalo. The Bills – on the cusp of a Super Bowl for the last three years – take on a Jets team that added the legendary Aaron Rodgers and now expect to be contenders in their own right.
But before that opening kickoff, let’s take a closer look at the Bills. We’ll explore how they got here and which bets are the ones worth taking in 2023.
Buffalo Bills to win Super Bowl LVIII
How We Got Here For the Buffalo Bills
The path to this season has been filled with ups and downs for the Bills. The selection of Josh Allen in the 2018 NFL Draft was met with much criticism but has since been lauded as one of the best picks in the history of the franchise.
Allen has since become a perennial MVP candidate, leading the Bills to dominant regular season numbers. But the playoffs have been where things got off the rails. The team lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game in 2020. The divisional round in 2021 would go down in infamy, seeing those same Chiefs erase a late deficit with just 13 second to work with. And the divisional loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2022 may have been the most disappointing of all.
There are hopes that these disappointments, considered to be just another addition to a long history of disappointing playoff results, will act as a point of galvanization. The team has the experience, the skill, and the coaching to get to the next level. But it’s getting closer to being a now-or-never situation.
Buffalo Bills Team Bets
All of that leads us into the 2023 season. The Bills are still considered to be among the handful of favorites to win the Super Bowl at +900 (behind only the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, last year’s Super Bowl participants).
That said, there is a litany of other bets that you should be considering. This has the makings of being a season where the Bills will come up far short of a deep run or will go the distance. Here are a few bets that you should be taking a long look at.
To Win the AFC East (+120)
The AFC East, on paper, should be one of the toughest divisions in the league. After an early upset win at home last year, it looked like the Miami Dolphins would become a real threat to the division. Injuries to quarterback Tua Tagavaiola hampered their progress, giving the Bills an important edge. The Bills would again win the division, going 13-4, while the Dolphins finished second at 9-8. The Jets and Patriots limped along to sub-.500 seasons of their own.
Coming into this season, the competition has been ramped up. The aforementioned Dolphins have Tagovaiola back and he’s presumably healthy. They’ve also added Jalen Ramsey to the defense, though he will miss the first several weeks of the year following a PCL injury. The Jets added Rodgers and a few talented pieces like running back Dalvin Cook. Even the Patriots look frisky with a defense that could be one of the best in the league.
All of that said, the Bills are still the bully on the block. Allen is healthy again. The offensive line looks to be improved and tight end Dalton Kincaid has been receiving a ton of hype throughout the preseason. And the addition of Leonard Floyd on defense, paired with the return of Von Miller, gives the Bills hope that their pass rush can take the next step. For all those reasons and more, expect the Bills to claim their fourth-straight AFC East title.
Buffalo Bills to win AFC East, 2023/24
Regular Season Points Scored Over 459 (+100)
The overwhelming feeling is that Josh Allen had a letdown 2022 season. The focus is rightfully on turnovers, but Allen actually threw fewer interceptions in 2022 (14) than he did in 2021 (15). The fumbles (13 of them) are what most tend to lock in on but the Bills have been working on getting Allen to maximize the effectiveness of his runs by taking off less often and doing a better job at protecting the ball.
There was also the elbow issue that limited him in the second half of the season, but the real question was the play calling. There were many issues with play selection and the over-dependence on Allen’s arm and legs. Even still, the Bills finished fourth in the NFL in points scored with 455.
Coming into 2023, the goal is simple. Allen has been given a potentially dynamic weapon in the rookie Kincaid, a potentially elite Travis Kelce type who can create matchup nightmares. He’s been given better protection, has a potential breakout season ahead for running back James Cook, and rumors are that the play calling will shift to maximize Allen’s talents. All of which means that the Bills should threaten the league lead in points, somewhere in the 470+ range.
Buffalo Bills to score over 459 Regular Season points
To Reach the AFC Championship (+240)
If you don’t have the nerves to put a Super Bowl future on the Bills, this is the next best option. The Bills are going to be among the handful of contenders this year unless things go horribly wrong. Unless Allen, Diggs, and Matt Milano go down, and Von Miller fails to come back, you can conservatively project this team to win 11 games at least.
The Bills are hoping to be on their Michael Jordan trajectory. We all know by now that Jordan wasn’t always the most dominant guy in the NBA, that he and the Bulls struggled to get by the Pistons teams that bullied the league at the end of the 1980s. But it finally happened and by 1991, Jordan’s Bulls overcame the demons to capture their first NBA Championship.
The Chiefs are the Bills’ Pistons. After three years of living in the shadow of Patrick Mahomes and company, the Bills are hoping this is their time. Everyone in Buffalo is saying the right things about how this is the year they’ll bring everything together. They certainly have the talent to get there, now it’s just a matter of staying healthy and getting it down. Count on at least the AFC Championship Game but throw a future down on them doing it all.
Buffalo Bills to reach AFC Championship in 2023/24
Josh Allen Most Passing Yards Regular Season (+1100)
All the talk is rightfully about Allen and whether he can return to his MVP-runner-up status from 2020. What’s crazy is that his 2021 was almost identical – 140 fewer yards, one fewer touchdown, five more interceptions – but didn’t get the love his 2020 year did.
At 27 years old, Allen has been among the elite at the quarterback position for the last three seasons. He has a rapport with the coaching staff, top receiver Stefon Diggs, and has plenty of weapons to work with. Many are expecting a rebound season from receiver Gabe Davis and a step forward from running back James Cook. Not to mention the fact that the Dalton Kincaid hype train is chugging along.
Allen is reportedly healthy after dealing with elbow issues last year. If he can limit turnovers and regain some of the red zone effectiveness he had in 2020 and 2021, the sky is the limit for this offense. For all the talk of Allen having a down year, he still finished 7th in the league in passing yards with 4,283. With a “full power” Allen, don’t be shocked to see him push the 5,000-yard plateau for the first time.
Josh Allen to lead NFL in Passing Yards
Josh Allen to Score 7+ Rushing Touchdowns in the Regular Season (-115)
Allen has been one of the most dominant rushing quarterbacks in the league in perhaps the most non-traditional way. When we think of “traditional” running quarterbacks, we think of Michael Vick, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Fields. Those are dynamic, lightning-fast athletes who can be 70 yards down the field in a few seconds.
Allen is more like the train moving downhill. He’s moving fast, make no mistake, but he’s going to do some serious damage along the way. Here’s something that might shock you: Josh Allen is 9th in the NFL in rushing touchdowns over the last five seasons. He’s got more than Christian McCaffery. He’s got more than Austin Ekeler. He’s got more than Joe Mixon. He has just three fewer than Alvin Kamara.
Over the last three seasons, he’s had 25 rushing touchdowns (on top of 108 passing touchdowns). If the Bills are going to get back to being one of the most dominant red zone teams in the league, Allen is going to need to use his feet and tremendous size to finish a few more drives. It is not out of the realm of possibility to think that Allen could top 10 rushing touchdowns and 50 total touchdowns. No one in the league can combine rushing and passing the way he can.
Josh Allen to score over 6.5 Rushing Yards