Calling all bettors! The Buffalo Bills have won 76% of their regular-season contests the past three years, but they haven’t made it past the AFC title game. How will free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft impact their chances of winning Super Bowl 58? The following betting odds are based on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Buffalo Bills Super Bowl 58 Odds and Futures
Last February’s early odds for Super Bowl 57 offered clues on what sportsbooks were thinking and how that wove into the thinking of the broader betting market.
For example, the Kansas City Chiefs were the top favorite (+650 odds) of winning this year’s Super Bowl, while the Bills were No. 2. Not too shabby as far as year-long predictions go.
But the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers were Nos. 3 and 4, respectively — though, in fairness, Davante Adams’ status in Green Bay remained unclear at that point. The Tennessee Titans (No. 9) and Denver Broncos (No. 10) clearly underwhelmed. The Eagles weren’t even in the top third.
Looking to next season, Buffalo once again has the second-best odds of winning it all (+700), behind only the defending champion Chiefs (+600). Let’s examine the Bills’ 2022 campaign and how bettors should respond ahead of Super Bowl 58.
Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and Other 2022 Season Takeaways
There’s nothing inherently flawed about the Bills. Yes, they could improve in many areas, but which team couldn’t?
In fact, most franchises probably would trade places with Buffalo if they could. The Bills have one of the best young quarterbacks in Josh Allen, who might end his career among the elites in both passing yards and rushing yards.
His receiving corps includes one of the game’s top receivers, Stefon Diggs, who seemed to get better at age 29. Allen enjoyed a 120+ QB rating when targeting Diggs. For context, that was slightly better than Kirk Cousins’ rating when throwing to MVP finalist and Offensive Player of the Year Justin Jefferson.
The Bills were second in yards per carry, led, of course, by Allen. However, we can’t ignore the backfield duo of Devin Singletary and James Cook, who combined for 1,326 yards on 266 totes — an impressive 5.0 ypc. This offense was No. 2 in scoring for many reasons, and these reasons should be sustainable in 2023.
Then there’s a defense that was second in points surrendered. Although not quite as dominant as the year before, losing Von Miller in Week 12 didn’t help. The 33-year-old legend already had racked up eight sacks before suffering an ACL tear early in Buffalo’s Thanksgiving Day game versus Detroit.
Not coincidentally, Buffalo had only 12 sacks in those final six games, including in Miller’s abridged Thanksgiving performance. With Miller healthy and active for 10 games, they had 30.
But I want to zoom in on Buffalo’s non-Diggs receiving corps because I believe that’s the locale of the missing piece — a difference-maker that can help propel the Bills past Cincinnati and KC and into the Super Bowl.
The answer might be soon-to-be 24-year-old WR Gabe Davis, who took an important step forward in his third NFL campaign. However, it wasn’t the sizable step some of us had envisioned. That’s no knock on Davis. He’s incredibly talented and proved his worth with a 48-836-7 receiving line during the regular season and an 8-147-1 line in two postseason outings.
Yet, as Allen’s clear-cut No. 2 target, Davis’ status isn’t as secure as it might appear. His anemic 51.6% catch rate was due partly to his deep-ball role. But we cannot ignore his troubling nine drops on only 93 looks, including six interceptions on his watch.
Allen’s QB rating when targeting Davis was 80.8 — a surprisingly pedestrian mark for a big receiver with solid speed in an offense that’s otherwise hard for opponents to shut down. Among all wideouts with more than 50 targets last season, only Corey Davis had a worse catch rate (50% on 64 looks).
2023 Offseason Moves
Buffalo’s Davis might take another step forward in the fourth year of his rookie contract. Or, he might remain a boom-bust No. 2 option.
If the former, then the Bills have the offensive personnel to make a title run. If the latter, then hopefully, they’ve identified the need ahead of free agency and the draft, so they can secure a more reliable No. 2 that’s become imperative for championship-aspiring franchises.
Surely, the Bills will make several moves — some more notable than others. But keep close tabs on their passing-game situation, and whether they’re comfortable entering 2023 with Diggs, Davis, Isaiah McKenzie, Khalil Shakir, and Dawson Knox as their core receivers. I believe they know they’ll need more.
NFL Free Agency
March 20 Update: Among 2021 starting RBs, few lost more value in 2022 than Damien Harris. His 202-929-15 rushing line two seasons ago set him up nicely for a huge payday entering a contract year. Instead, the Patriots stubbornly held onto him at the trade deadline, missed five of the next seven games with injuries, and abruptly fell behind Rhamondre Stevenson on the backfield depth chart.
I believe the Bills made a brilliant move letting Devin Singletary walk and swapping in the faster and bigger Harris. He fills a desperate team need. Buffalo was No. 1 in red-zone TD efficiency in 2021. Last year, they declined by more than six percentage points, dropping to No. 9 in the league. Harris gives them a chain mover and exceptional goal-line weapon.
In the coming weeks, we’ll update this section with breaking news on other key Bills arrivals and departures through free agency and trades, how it impacts their Super Bowl odds, and how it might inform our decision to bet on them to win it all.
In early May, we’ll update this section on key Bills draft picks and UDFA signings, with an eye toward any instant-impact players who could help cement them as preseason Super Bowl favorites.