Buffalo Bills 2021-2022 Season Preview, Odds and Win Totals

Bills quarterback Josh Allen (right) had multiple celebrations with his top wide receiver Stefon Diggs (left) during the 2020 season.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen (right) had multiple celebrations with his top wide receiver Stefon Diggs (left) during the 2020 season. / JAMIE GERMANO/ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND

Other than falling short for a trip to the Super Bowl, it’s difficult to find any concrete negatives from the Bills’ 2020 season.

They took home their first division championship in 25 years, won two playoff games against quality teams like the Colts and Ravens, and Josh Allen transformed his game into a top-tier NFL quarterback.

Allen’s breakout season in his third year cannot be understated. He went from a solid quarterback in Year 2 to a noteworthy MVP candidate in 2020, completing 69.2% of his passes, throwing for 37 touchdowns (and rushing for eight more), passing for 284 yards/game and finishing with a quarterback rating of 107.2.

He also developed a new best friend in the passing game, as newly acquired wide receiver Stefon Diggs led the league in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1535).

Heading into 2021, Sean McDermott has seen his team get better every season since 2018. 13-3 may be difficult to improve upon, but the Bills have the talent to potentially make it happen.

Buffalo Bills 2021 Team Outlook

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Allen’s consistent development has been synonymous with the team’s ascension the last three seasons. Going from 6-10 in his first season, to 10-6 and ultimately 13-3. Allen has taken massive leaps in almost every statistical category as a passer, while still remaining one of the more dangerous running weapons at the quarterback spot. Now with a brand new six-year contract extension, the Bills have Allen locked up until his age 32 season, where he’ll have a chance to break the bank yet again.

Buffalo finished as the second best offense in the NFL a season ago in both points scored as well as total yards. Nobody converted on third down more than the Bills last year, leading to sustained drives, and keeping their defense fresh. 

Their offensive line was ranked in the top 10 by Pro Football Focus at the end of 2020, and while Allen took 26 sacks last year, many of them were a result of looking to extend plays. As he continues to evolve as a passer, those numbers should descend.

At running back, the tandem of Zack Moss and Devin Singletary will continue, but the Bills added further depth in Matt Breida who always seems to put up numbers, but has never been able to stay healthy. For fantasy players, it might be best to avoid Buffalo’s run offense completely, with no real indication of who will get the bulk of the carries.

Stefon Diggs remains an elite level wide receiver after his massive 2020 season, but the Bills would like to see more support from the rest of his teammates. Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis remain on the roster after solid seasons, and longtime veteran Emmanuel Sanders has been added to the mix as well after playing in New Orleans last year.

At tight end, Dawson Knox remains the top receiving option for now, despite only catching 24 balls for 288 yards and three touchdowns.

Defensively, the Bills took a step back from 2019 where they were second in the league in points against. In 2020, they finished 15th, but the overall numbers were somewhat deflated after some bad early performances against the Dolphins (28), Rams (32), Titans (42). They also had Star Lotulelei opt-out due to COVID and linebacker Matt Milano unable to stay healthy. 

This season, they basically return their full starting unit, led by Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison up front. Jordan Poyer and Tremaine Edmunds led the Bills in tackles a season ago and should pair up well again with Milano in the middle of their linebacking core.

Lastly, in the secondary, Tre’Davious White still remains one of the top shutdown corners in the NFL, but saw his play dip in 2020 from an elite year in 2019. White, along with Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer at the safety spots could help Buffalo’s defense return to a top 10 unit.  The team is also rumored to be in the mix for Jaguars corner C.J. Henderson.

Buffalo Bills 2021 NFL Draft

The Bills added to the strength of their talented, yet aging front four with Gregory Rousseau, a defensive end out of Miami with pick No. 30 in the first round. Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season, but was brilliant in 2019 with 15.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman, finishing first team All-ACC. They grabbed another edge rusher out of the ACC in Round 2 with Carlos Basham Jr. from Wake Forest.

The Bills doubled up on the same position again, this time in the third and fifth rounds with offensive tackles Spencer Brown from Northern Iowa, as well as Tommy Doyle from Miami (Ohio).

Buffalo Bills Team Odds: Division (-155), Conference (+550), Super Bowl (+1200)

Buffalo enters 2021 as the dominant favorite to repeat as AFC East champions at -155 odds over at WynnBET Sportsbook. New England (+320), Miami (+340) and the New York Jets (+1500) round out the rest of the division. 

The Bills are second to only Kansas City (+240) for the top spot in AFC championship odds at +550, and come in at +1200 odds behind the Chiefs (+475) and Tampa Bay (+650) to win Super Bowl 56.

Buffalo Bills Regular Season Win Total: 10.5 WINS | OVER (-155), UNDER (+135)

Ben Heisler: 

I worry that the Bills may have peaked a tad bit early in their trajectory, and it may be difficult to replicate a variety of factors that went right last year.

Josh Allen is in the conversation of elite quarterbacks in the NFL. While I don’t expect that to change, I do anticipate him taking a slight step back as the league makes their passing game a heavier priority to shut down compared to the previous two seasons. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss have had multiple seasons to showcase their talent, and Buffalo hasn’t made either of them priorities. Just go back to the AFC Division game against the Ravens, where the Bills had just one rushing attempt in the first half. If their opponents dare them to run on them, maybe the Bills respond and adjust, but it’s certainly not what they’d like to do.

They still remain the class of the AFC East, but I expect more competition from Miami and New England this season with their improvements to their roster. The Jets will be improved as well, but not to the point where anyone needs to take them as a viable threat.

I’ll take the plus-value and fade the Bills win total this season, and add some extra coin on 10 wins.



Donnavan Smoot:

Buffalo should be over the moon right now. Josh Allen signed his record-breaking extension and gave the Bills some clarity about the franchise moving forward. 

The Bills are going to have a successful season, but they still may see a little regression. Buffalo won 13 games behind the second-best offense in the league (No. 2 in scoring in yards). Most of those wins came on the strength of the passing attack. The Bills had the third most passing yards and touchdowns last year, but were middle of the pack in rushing. If Allen and Stefon Diggs don’t have a league-leading connection, that offense is due for a step back. 

Defensively, the Bills were also average. They were 16th in yards allowed and 14th in points allowed. A passable defense is great when the offense is elite, but the Bills are going to need that side of the ball to step up if they want to compete for a Super Bowl. 

Buffalo finished the season on a 9-1 run, which will be hard to replicate. I expect the Bills to come down to Earth based on natural regression and the AFC East making some improvements this offseason.

The AFC East should easily belong to the Bills, but it won’t be as much of a cakewalk as last year. I like the Bills and their potential, but their record might not be as pristine as it was last year.



Peter Dewey: 

The Bills have locked up Josh Allen for the long term and they expect him to make them a Super Bowl contender for years to come, starting in 2021. Buffalo took advantage of Tom Brady leaving the AFC East in 2020 and Allen led the Bills to a 13-3 record and a division title. 

"It's definitely a spot where it's surreal to be in right now," Allen said about his extension. "I'm just thankful that we could get it done and now we can focus on going out there and earning it. And making sure they understand that I know they didn't pay me for what I've done. They did this because they expect me to continue what I'm doing and expect me to go win this team some championships."

If Allen lives up to his contract, we can expect the Bills to be a perennial contender in the AFC, especially in a division that has a lot of questions at quarterback. Rookies Mac Jones and Zach Wilson both could end up starting most of the season for the Patriots and Jets, and Tua Tagovailoa has yet to prove himself in Miami. 

That should help the Bills pick up a few easy wins in 2021, and with the 17-game schedule I’m taking them to match last year’s win total at +600 odds at WynnBET. 

Buffalo faces the 10th-easiest schedule in football by last year’s win percentage, and it’s hard to see the Bills regressing after keeping most of their core intact heading into this season. 



Iain MacMillan:

I wasn’t a believer in Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills heading into the 2020 season, but now I’m officially sold. Does that mean that I’m going to mush them and they’re going to be a disappointment this season? Possibly.

But the Bills 13-3 record last year was no fluke, and they had the statistics to back it up. They were fourth in the NFL in yards per game (385.4), third in points per game (29.9), and fourth in third down conversion percentage (46.64%).

Their defense is what kept them from being a Super Bowl team, as they were average in most areas including 14th in opponent points per game (23.2) and 17th in opponent yards per game (362.7). They didn’t do much in free agency to address this issue, but they spent their first two draft picks on defensive ends Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr. in hopes that they can help the Bills defense take the next step.

Buffalo still plays in the weakest division in the AFC, and they have a favorable schedule which should lead them to another successful season. I’ll take the over 10.5 wins.



Will the Buffalo Bills Make the Playoffs? | MISS THE PLAYOFFS (+270), MAKE THE PLAYOFFS (-400)

Ben Heisler: 

Buffalo is absolutely a playoff team, even if the division becomes more difficult in 2021. The built-in regression from a 13-3 season should still allow for the Bills to remain at the top of the AFC East, especially with a bottom-10 schedule.

Allen and Stefon Diggs were among the league’s best QB/WR combinations last year, but have the Bills done enough to get Diggs more help? I’m not sure they have. Meanwhile, the Patriots have made major adjustments to improve their lackluster offense from a season ago, and the Dolphins expect a big step forward from Tua Tagovailoa, especially with their improved wide receiving core of DeVante Parker, free agent Will Fuller, and first round pick Jaylen Waddle.

The Bills get in, and likely as division champs, but it won’t be as easily as from a season ago.


Donnavan Smoot:

I can confidently say that the Bills are going to make the playoffs by way of a division championship. The AFC East is better than it was last year, but the rest of the teams aren’t ready to compete on that level. The Patriots’ season completely depends on quarterback play, and the Dolphins need to figure out how to develop Tua Tagovailoa.

Buffalo will probably the No. 2 or No. 3 seed, but I doubt it gets back to the top of the conference. With the Browns, Ravens and Titans -- not to mention the Chiefs -- set to improve this year, the Bills are going to have a tough time keeping them away from the top seed. 


Peter Dewey:  

The Bills are -155 favorites on WynnBET to win the AFC East this season, and I’d certainly take that before picking them to make the playoffs at -400 simply for the value, but Buffalo is going to be a playoff team unless Allen gets hurt in 2021. 

The Bills have an elite offensive attack, as they scored the second-most points and tallied the second-most yards in the NFL last season. Allen and Stefon Diggs have established a great connection on the outside, and the addition of Emmanuel Sanders should make the offense even more dynamic. 

There are too many question marks in the AFC East for me to pick another team to win the division, so I expect Buffalo to capture another division title en route to a playoff berth.  


Iain MacMillan:

The Bills won’t need to worry about the New York Jets or the New England Patriots when it comes to challenging them for the AFC East crown, but the Miami Dolphins could turn some heads this season. The Dolphins have taken strong steps forward through the past couple of years, and they boasted one of the youngest rosters in the NFL in 2020. Buffalo should still win the division, but the Dolphins could prove to be a challenge.

Even if they don’t win their second straight AFC East title, the AFC is generally a top heavy conference. With seven playoff spots available, it’s hard to imagine the Bills not being able to grab at least one of them. A good head coach and an explosive offense can take a team a long way, so barring a major injury, I’d be shocked if we don’t see the Bills in the postseason again this year.


Every day from the start of NFL Training Camp, the BetSided team of Ben Heisler, Donnavan Smoot, Peter Dewey and Iain MacMillan are breaking down the win totals, playoff and Super Bowl odds for every team in the NFL.

Check back Wednesday at 1 p.m. EDT when we preview the betting outlook for the Miami Dolphins and check out our earlier team-by-team betting previews.

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