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Buffalo Bills Have the 4th-Best Odds to Make the NFL Playoffs Among All 32 Teams

Hans Themistode

by Hans Themistode in NFL Football

Updated Apr 1, 2020 · 1:02 PM PDT

Bills QB Josh Allen on the move
Josh Allen has taken steps forward in his sophomore season, but it's Buffalo's defense that's really turned the team into a playoff favorite. Photo by Erik Drost (Wikimedia) [CC License].
  • The Buffalo Bills (4-1) continued there remarkable season with a 14-7 win over Tennessee in Week 5
  • They now possess the fourth-best odds in the entire NFL to make the playoffs
  • Is the hype warranted or is this an overreaction to a fast start?

Who saw the Buffalo Bills being a playoff team this year? Outside of the residents of upstate New York, almost no one.

Through five games, they have raced out to an impressive mark of 4-1. Oddsmakers have taken note of their fantastic play, giving them the third-best odds to make the NFL playoffs in the AFC, and fourth-best in the league, as a whole.

Odds to Make 2019-2020 AFC Playoffs

Team Odds to Make Playoffs Odds to Miss Playoffs
New England Patriots -10000 +1600
Kansas City Chiefs -1400 +650
Buffalo Bills -300 +250
Baltimore Ravens -175 +105
Houston Texans -165 +125

*Odds from 10/09/2019.

Can we expect Buffalo’s hot start to continue?

Road To The Playoffs

When the 2019 schedule for Buffalo was released, the Bills’ 2019 win total was set at just 6.5. They are three wins from cashing with 11 games left to play.

Not only did the Bills defeat both New York-based teams on the road in Weeks 1 and 2, but they also gave the Patriots a scare in Week 3 (16-10 loss).

A Week 5 win against the Tennessee Titans on the road gave even more credence that this team is legit, especially on defense.

When we take a look at their remaining schedule, it is clear that they won’t have the most arduous route to making it to the postseason.

Two games against the winless Miami Dolphins to go along with matchups against the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos all but ensure an 8-8 season, at the absolute worst.

Winnable games against the Browns (road, Week 10),  Steelers (road, Week 15), and Jets (home, Week 17) make a 10-win season eminently achievable.

Biggest competition

Winning the division isn’t happening. They might be just one game behind the Patriots in the loss column but don’t expect them to overtake the Pats  for the top spot. As mentioned, New England already won at Orchard Park, giving them the early tie-breaker over Buffalo.

But if the regular season ended today, the Bills would be safely in the playoffs. Their 4-1 record gives them sole possession of the first Wild Card in the AFC, and they have at least a two-game lead on every team except Oakland and Indianapolis.

[Buffalo’s] 4-1 record gives them sole possession of the first Wild Card in the AFC, and … at least a two-game lead on every team except Oakland and Indianapolis.

The Bills’ biggest challenger for the first Wild Card is likely to be Indy. The Colts are fresh off an impressive win over the team that many believe will win it all this year in the Kansas City Chiefs. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett is having a great year and they still have plenty of time to catch up.

Getting caught by Indy wouldn’t put the Bills out of the playoffs, of course. They’ll need to be passed by two teams.

While I can’t see Oakland being a playoff contender (they have a -20 point differential and rank 18th in DVOA at FootballOutsiders.com), the Browns (2-3) could turn things around.

For as dysfunctional as the Cleveland Browns (2-3) have looked all year, there is no denying the talent they possess in Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr, Myles Garrett, and a long list of other Pro Bowl-caliber players. They are better (at least on paper) than their record suggests and still have four games with the winless Bengals and 1-4 Steelers on their schedule, plus a road date with the laughable Dolphins.

Outside of those two teams, it is difficult to see the Bills being passed in the standings.

The Los Angeles Chargers have plenty of talent but it is doubtful that they will put it all together under supremely underwhelming coach Anthony Lynn.

The Steelers won’t challenge without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, especially now that backup Mason Rudolph is on the shelf, as well.

What’s the Best Bet on the Bills’ Playoff Odds?

Betting Buffalo to make it at -300 is only good value if the Bills have more than a 75% chance to make the postseason. That seems high, given preseason expectations and the fact that we’re only through Week 5.

But the down nature of the rest of the AFC, coupled with Buffalo’s relatively easy schedule, make this team a reasonably wager at that price. Barring major injuries, this defense isn’t going anywhere.

The unit, which ranks third in Defensive DVOA, will ensure Buffalo plays in a boatload of one-score games the rest of the way. Even if they only win five of their final 11 games, they’ll be 9-7, which should be good enough to make the playoffs in the AFC.

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