AFC East Outlook
July 22, 2013
AFC East division odds
The New England Patriots have owned this division since 2001 as they’ve claimed the division title in 10 of the 12 years since then. They are one a four-year streak of winning this crown and at -400 to do so again, oddsmakers believe that 2013 will be the 5th straight year we see the Patriots as one of the top four playoff seeds in the AFC.
When you have a guy like Tom Brady behind center it’s tough to argue that point. Even though New England won’t have five of their top six receivers from last year to start the season, Brady has had no problems in the past chucking it to new faces on the outside. They will get TE Rob Gronkowski back at some point and although there are a few tough blocks in the schedule, the Patriots should find a way to win this division again.
Miami (+450) is getting plenty of action to dethrone the Pats though and many pundits are excited with all the moves the Dolphins have made to improve their team this off-season. However, I’m still not a believer in Ryan Tannehill at QB and I see him falling into that dreaded sophomore slump this year.
Buffalo (+1300) and New York (+1800) are still a year or two away from being serious contenders but of the two at these long odds, I think you’ve got to like the Bills chances a bit better. They benefit from getting a 4th place schedule this year and if they get solid QB play from Kolb or the rookie E.J. Manuel this year they will surprise quite a few folks.
But with this being the Patriots division to lose, these prices just don’t warrant a bet on any of the four teams at this moment. New England is an organization that should have little issue putting the Aaron Hernandez story behind them once the season starts, and only if they stumble out of the gate and the price significantly drops from -400 would I suggest betting on the Patriots.
AFC East season win totals
That being said, there are some season win totals for these four teams that provide much better value.
New England is listed at 11 wins (under -145) and while they are expected to win the division, they won’t need 11+ wins to do so. A 1st place schedule brings tough opponents like the Broncos, Texans and Ravens to New England’s dance card and they will have to face the rest of the AFC North (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland) as well.
The AFC East teams are also matched up with the NFC South this year which means Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa and Carolina will face off against Tom Brady and co. Other than possibly the Carolina game, not one of those contests will be easy for the Pats, especially with two Super Bowl contenders (Atlanta, New Orleans) and Darrelle Revis sharing all his secrets with his new Tampa teammates.
Just looking at all those games it’s easy enough to see at least five losses for the Pats in that span, especially when you consider how unlikely it is they sweep their own division too. The juice may be a bit steep at -145 but the only play here is the under.
Take New England under 11 wins
I mentioned earlier that Buffalo could surprise a few people and with a win total at 6.5 (over +105), they’ve got the schedule to do it. Yes they play all the same tough teams I listed for the Pats (minus Houston and Denver) but they have a favorable schedule in the final month and a half in terms or weather and opponents.
Buffalo avoids their cold winter for over a month in Nov/Dec as they have a bye week, home game in Toronto, and then play @ Tampa and @ Jacksonville. They host Miami the following week on Dec 22nd and we all know about Miami’s struggles playing in the cold late in the year. That alone is a stretch that could see Buffalo earn 3 wins and they could easily sweep the dysfunctional New York Jets this year. They would only need to get a couple more wins before that to get over this number and with Cleveland and Oakland still on the card, there are plenty of opportunities for Buffalo to do so.
Take Buffalo over 6.5 (+105)
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