The Buffalo Bills are a terrific 11-4 against the spread in their past 15 Week 1 games and catch a break in facing a short-handed New York Jets team on Sunday with Buffalo as a 6.5-point favorite. The Jets will be without their two best defensive players from the Week 1 opener last year in Jamal Adams (traded) and CJ Mosley (opted out). However, the underdog is 8-2 ATS in the past 10 meetings.
Armed with a more explosive offense featuring trade acquisition Stefon Diggs and rookie Zack Moss, the Bills are gunning for their first AFC East title and first playoff win since 1995. And the schedule-makers are expecting big things. Buffalo got four prime-time games, one short of the maximum, on the 2020 NFL schedule.
Under Sean McDermott, Buffalo has earned two Wild-Card berths in three seasons, losing in the first round each time. Whether the Bills end New England's 11-year stranglehold on the division -- and thus earn a home playoff game for the first time under McDermott -- likely will depend on a brutal four-game stretch toward year's end.
From Weeks 13 through 16, the Bills visit San Francisco on Monday Night Football, host the Steelers on Sunday Night Football, visit Denver and then visit the Patriots on Monday night. Those are three difficult road games plus a physically demanding home test versus Pittsburgh.
Under McDermott, the Bills are 14-8-2 (64 percent) ATS on the road in the regular season.
BUFFALO BILLS BETTING PROFILE
2019 record: 10-6 (second, AFC East)
2019 against the spread: 9-5-2 ATS
2019 ATS margin: +3.0, sixth-best
2019 Over-Under: 4-12 O-U
2020 strength of schedule: Tied for fifth-toughest; Bills' opponents combined for a .525 winning percentage last year (134-121-1).
WILLIAM HILL 2020 BUFFALO BILLS FUTURES ODDS
Win total: 9 (both -110)
To make playoffs: Yes -190, no +160
Division: +125 win AFC East
Conference: +1200 to win AFC
Super Bowl: +2500 to win SB 55
MVP: QB Josh Allen +5000
Defensive Player of the Year: CB Tre'Davious White +5000, DL Ed Oliver +10000
Coach of the Year: Sean McDermott +1800
Offensive ROY: RB Zack Moss +3300
Defensive ROY: DE A.J. Epenesa +1400
SportsLine Model's projection: 9.0 wins (pick is push)
Week 1 vs. NY Jets, 1 p.m. ET: The Bills are 1-3 SU and ATS in the last four home meetings.
Week 2 at Miami, 1 p.m. ET: Buffalo is 6-2 ATS in its last eight as a road favorite in Miami, including a
37-20 win last year while laying -7.
Week 3 vs. LA Rams, 1 p.m. ET: Under McDermott, the Bills are 10-6-1 (63 percent ATS) as favorites.
Week 4 at Las Vegas, 4:25 p.m. ET: Under McDermott, the Bills are 14-8-2 (64 percent ATS) on the road.
Week 5 at Tennessee, 1 p.m. ET: The Bills have won and covered three straight meetings, holding the Titans to 32 total points in those victories (2015, '18, '19).
Week 6 vs. Kansas City, 8:20 p.m. ET (TNF): Under Sean McDermott, the Bills are 4-7 ATS as home underdogs, getting outscored in those 11 games by an average by 11.4 points.
Week 7 at NY Jets, 1 p.m. ET: The Bills have won and covered four of their past six visits.
Week 8 vs. New England, 1 p.m. ET: The Bills are 1-9 SU and 3-7 ATS in the last 10 home meetings.
Week 9 vs. Seattle, 1 p.m. ET: Buffalo is 10-6 ATS in its last 16 November home games.
Week 10 at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. ET: The Bills are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five November road games.
Week 11: Bye
Week 12 vs. LA Chargers, 1 p.m. ET: Under McDermott, the Bills are 16-12-2 ATS playing outside their division.
Week 13 at San Francisco, 8:15 p.m. ET (MNF): Buffalo is 17-26 SU all-time on Monday Night Football.
Week 14 vs. Pittsburgh, 8:20 p.m. ET (SNF): These teams played on Sunday Night Football last year in Pittsburgh, with the Bills (+1) winning 17-10 to clinch a playoff berth.
Week 15 at Denver, TBA: The Bills have covered five straight (4-1 SU) versus the Broncos, winning last year's home matchup 20-3.
Week 16 at New England, 8:15 p.m. ET (MNF): Buffalo is 3-17 SU in its last 20 visits, but 3-2-1 ATS over the last six.
Week 17 vs. Miami, 1 p.m. ET: Buffalo has won three straight and seven of eight home meetings (6-2 ATS).
EXPERT PLAY FROM SENIOR ANALYST LARRY HARTSTEIN (60 percent ATS last year): A.J. Epenesa +1400 to win Defensive Rookie of the Year
The 6-6, 280-pounder should have gone in the first round; he'll have a big chip on his shoulder. And he gets the luxury of playing with an elite defense, meaning he won't get too much attention. That should enable Epenesa -- who racked up 22 sacks, eight forced fumbles and seven passes defensed the past two years at Iowa -- to make plenty of big plays. Oddsmakers know Epenesa got drafted too late; that's why he's tied for third on the odds board, way ahead of many first-rounders.
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