Buffalo Bills Season Win Total: Over 6.5

Buffalo Bills

Bet365 football betting line: Over 6.5 +110/Under 6.5 -140 (odds subject to change)
Last season: 6-10
Pick: Over 6.5

The Buffalo Bills need a bounceback season from Mario Williams.
The Buffalo Bills need a bounceback season from Mario Williams.

Whoever said ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ might have been referring to the Buffalo Bills.

The winds of change have blown through Orchard Park once again this offseason. Free agent QB Kevin Kolb has been brought in to replace Ryan Fitzpatrick (Kolb could be challenged for the starter’s job by first-round draft pick EJ Manuel), and former Syracuse coach Doug Marrone replaces Chan Gailey as the Bills’ field general.

But will it make a difference? Marrone is the club’s sixth head coach since 2000, and Kolb or Manuel will be the club’s fifth regular starting QB during that time. Just once in those 12 years did the Bills win more than eight games (nine in 2004), and none of those seasons ended with a playoff appearance.

Enough pessimism. Whoever does start at QB for the Bills will have some weapons at his disposal, particularly explosive running back CJ Spiller and stud receiver Stevie Johnson. Scott Chandler has emerged as a decent tight end as well.

Defensively, the Bills desperately need Mario Williams to return to the dominant form of his days with the Houston Texans. If he does, he could anchor one of the better defensive lines in football, one that registered 30 sacks a year ago. Buffalo hopes to improve on the 20 turnovers it generated last year (a number that ranked 11th in the AFC), which would be a key in masking an inexperienced linebacker corps.

The Bills have been hurt in recent years by playing in a tough AFC East division that included the Patriots, Jets and the occasionally competitive Dolphins. They might finally catch a break in divisional play this year, considering the Jets are a three-ring circus (lined at 6.5 wins this year) and the Dolphins aren’t likely to be anything better than .500. Even New England — which has dominated Buffalo for nearly a decade — is no certainty, with the Aaron Hernandez legal situation clouding the Pats’ depth at tight end.

Still, it appears nothing will come easy this year for Buffalo. The Bills were favoured just three times when Cantor Gaming posted point spreads last month for all NFL games up to Week 16 (versus the Chiefs in Week 9, versus the Jets in Week 11 and at the Jaguars in Week 15). None of those times were the Bills favoured by more than 1.5 points.

On the plus side, Buffalo’s out-of-division schedule is hardly daunting. The Bills are always decent at home, and this season they’ll welcome the Panthers, Ravens, Bengals and Chiefs to Ralph Wilson Stadium. Atlanta is the Bills’ other home game, though that game will be played in Toronto. Winnable road games for Buffalo include visits to the Browns and Jaguars, in addition to dates at Miami and the Jets.

6.5 is a low bar to clear when it comes to season win totals. We’re not sure who will be the Bills’ full-time quarterback by the end of the year, but we think the rest of their parts have enough to pull out seven wins this season.


Buffalo Bills 2013 schedule

1 Sun, Sep 8
  • vs New England
1:00 PM CBS
2 Sun, Sep 15
  • vs Carolina
1:00 PM FOX
3 Sun, Sep 22
  • @ New York Jets
4:25 PM CBS
4 Sun, Sep 29
  • vs Baltimore
1:00 PM CBS
5 Thu, Oct 3
  • @ Cleveland
8:25 PM NFL
6 Sun, Oct 13
  • vs Cincinnati
1:00 PM CBS
7 Sun, Oct 20
  • @ Miami
1:00 PM CBS
8 Sun, Oct 27
  • @ New Orleans
1:00 PM CBS
9 Sun, Nov 3
  • vs Kansas City
1:00 PM CBS
10 Sun, Nov 10
  • @ Pittsburgh
1:00 PM CBS
11 Sun, Nov 17
  • vs New York Jets
1:00 PM CBS
13 Sun, Dec 1
  • vs Atlanta
4:05 PM FOX
14 Sun, Dec 8
  • @ Tampa Bay
1:00 PM CBS
15 Sun, Dec 15
  • @ Jacksonville
1:00 PM CBS
16 Sun, Dec 22
  • vs Miami
1:00 PM CBS
17 Sun, Dec 29
  • @ New England
1:00 PM CBS