NFL AFC East 2023 Sports Betting Preview
Football is just around the corner and we now get a chance to dive into the divisions. The AFC East was one of my favorite divisions in football last year. We had two explosive offenses - the Bills and Dolphins, and we had two solid defensive teams - the Patriots and the Jets. I think there is a ton of potential for this to be the most competitive division in all of the NFL. Let's take a look at how we should bet these teams this season.
Buffalo Bills, 13-3 last year, 1st in division
The Bills were the talk of the NFL for a lot of reasons last season. We had Josh Allen on a war path for most of the first portion of the season. Then Damar Hamlin collapsing on the field dominated headlines for months. Thankfully, he is back at training camp and doing what he needs to do. Stefon Diggs is their top receiver and continues to be one of the better targets in the NFL. They need to get a bit more out of the running game in order to help Allen fully develop that offense, but they are likely to put up a ton of points no matter what. I have some questions about their defense and how good it can be. They seemed to have dropped a bit over the course of last season. The Bills have a 10.5 hung for their win total this season, and looking at their schedule, they seem to have 10 games that they should win without a doubt. 11 games seems to be a real possibility and even 12 games seems possible. I'll take the over on the 10.5 games.
Miami Dolphins, 9-8, 2nd
The Dolphins started the season looking like they were going to do nothing but rack up points. Then starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was injured. They have a strong enough backup in Teddy Bridgewater, but he also got injured in one of the games. They lost all three games without Tagovailoa and the entire year was streaky for them. They won three, lost three, won five, lost five. I suppose that is consistency if nothing else. Four of their five losses during the last losing streak of the season were one-score games at least which is encouraging. The good news for them is that all of their main offensive weapons are back this season and should be able to maintain the pace that they had last season. Their defense will be a question mark to a certain extent. Last year, the defense did end up allowing more points than they scored, but it was 397-399 so it wasn't drastically different. This year, the books have the Dolphins listed at 9.5 wins. I'm not sure I really expect them to do more than nine games, and looking at the schedule, I think the Dolphins end up winning at most 9 games. If the defense does take a big step forward, they could prove me wrong, but I'll probably lay off this because there are a couple of swing games that I'm just not confident in it one way or another.
New England Patriots, 8-9, 3rd
The Patriots somehow find ways to make their seasons winning ones. Bill Belichick is probably one of the main reasons for that - he does a great job of being a mastermind. The team has an accurate, but somewhat average quarterback in Mac Jones. Their running game is nothing spectacular, and their wide receivers are probably better than they've had in quite some time. Juju Smith-Schuster isn't the receiver he used to be, but he joins the team and they have to hope he can stretch the field. I really like DeVante Parker, but he wasn't very consistent last year. The defense should be good regardless of who is on the field. Belichick's game plan tends to keep them in a game and take away the opponent's best option. The line on them this season is 6.5 games which puts them as the worst in the division for win totals according to the book. I am looking at eight wins in my opinion. I think the over 7.5 is a nice option at +140. I do think seven games is very realistic for them unless they purposefully decide to throw in the towel on the season.
New York Jets, 7-10, 4th
Nothing happened to the Jets roster from last season to this season, did it? Of course, you already know that Aaron Rodgers is now under center for the Jets. We know that they are going to improve offensively. I think Rodgers has a goal this season of trying to prove that he is still the dominant quarterback that everyone knows. He looked pretty uninterested last season and the lack of enjoyment seemed pretty obvious from the entire team. He seems to be making a good enough connection with the team and most reports have been positive. He doesn't really have any stud receivers, but he has a history of making receivers better. Their defense should be solid enough that Rodgers may not have to be perfect in order to get them victories. This season the books have them listed at 9.5 wins. They won seven games last year without Rodgers, is he worth three more wins this season? I'm not so sure. If I had to, I'd take the under on their wins, but I prefer to just stay off this one altogether.
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