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NFL betting preview: No. 23, Buffalo Bills

Updated August 13, 2019 - 6:41 pm

This is the 10th in a series of 32 NFL team betting previews in 32 days leading up to the league’s Sept. 5 season opener. We’ll count down the teams from the lowest season win total to the highest.

The Buffalo Bills have made the biggest jump in NFL season win totals, soaring to 7 after opening at 6 before April’s NFL draft.

Sharp bettors backed the Bills at CG Technology sportsbook, and handicapper Brian Blessing also thinks Buffalo, where he spent 25 years as a sports reporter, will surpass its win total.

“They can win eight or nine. Anything less than a .500 season would be a disappointment,” said Blessing, host of Sportsbook Radio on KSHP-AM 1400. “All the talk is about (quarterback) Josh Allen. But the hidden nugget is their defense. It has a chance to be really good.”

Buffalo finished second in the league in total defense last season and first in passing defense. It returns 10 of 11 defensive starters and added defensive end Ed Oliver with the ninth overall pick in the draft. Oliver will join a defense featuring leading tackler Tremaine Edmunds, top pass rusher Jerry Hughes and rising cornerback Tre’Davious White.

The Bills, who went 6-10 last season after going 9-7 and making the playoffs in 2017, also bolstered their offense around Allen, who rushed for 476 yards and five touchdowns in the final six games of his rookie year.

“Obviously Allen’s development is crucial, but last year he was running around by himself,” Blessing said. “He had no offensive line and wide receivers. In free agency, all they did was get offensive linemen and wide receivers.

“Allen, in the last month last season, a light bulb went on. Now he’s got better players around him.”

Buffalo revamped its offensive line, with former Kansas City Chiefs center Mitch Morse a key addition, and added wideouts John Brown and Cole Beasley to a receiving corps with Zay Jones and Robert Foster.

On paper, the Bills have one of the NFL’s 10 easiest schedules. They open the season with road games against the Jets and Giants, then play five of their next six games at home.

“They have to start fast,” Blessing said.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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