AFC East Betting: Bills-Patriots Action Heats Up As Race Tightens

New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty (32) celebrates with cornerback Jalen Mills (2) and safety Adrian Phillips (21) and cornerback Joejuan Williams (33) after an interception against the Atlanta Falcons
Image Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

A month ago, the battle for the AFC East title seemingly had all the unpredictable drama of Ross and Rachel getting together in the final season of Friends. As in, it wasn’t a question of if the Buffalo Bills would win back-to-back division titles but when.

Well, in the span of a few weeks, things have radically changed in the AFC East odds market. The Bills are 2-2 in their last four games (including a desultory 9-6 Week 9 loss to the Jaguars).

Conversely, after a 2-4 start — the partial result of breaking in rookie quarterback Mac Jones — the Patriots have reeled off five consecutive SU and ATS wins. The latest: Thursday’s 25-0 shutout of the Falcons as a 6.-5 point favorite, a fitting final score in that New England’s average victory margin during its ongoing winning streak is … 25 points.

Buffalo (6-3, 3-0 AFC East) now leads New England by mere percentage points heading into Sunday’s home game against the Colts, while the Patriots (7-4, 2-1) currently possess the most wins of any AFC East club.

With New England closing the gap on the Bills in the past month, oddsmakers have closed the gap between the rivals in the AFC East betting race.

As recently as Week 7, WynnBet had Buffalo at -2,000 to win the division and the Patriots at +1,100. Following New England’s blowout of Atlanta, the Bills are all the way down to -400 at WynnBet, while the Patriots are +300.

“In terms of handle, we have about 75 percent of the money on Buffalo to win the division and 20 percent on New England,” said Sawyer Johnson, a trader at WynnBet. “In terms of tickets, the Bills are at 62 percent and the Patriots at 30 percent.”

A Numbers Game

Buffalo Bills wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders (left) and Stefan Diggs (right) celebrate after a touchdown
Image Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The fact the Bills still are clear favorites to win the AFC East even though they’re in a virtual dead heat with New England — and even though the teams have two upcoming head-to-head matchups — might seem strange. But remember: The Patriots to this point have played two more games.

Buffalo will pick up one of those games Sunday against the Colts, then things will even out after Week 14 when New England finally has its bye.

Interestingly, that bye comes a week after the Patriots travels to Buffalo for the season’s first meeting between the two squads. Prior to that, New England hosts the first-place Titans next week, while the Bills follow up Sunday’s battle against Indianapolis with a trip to New Orleans.

Following their first head-to-head encounter with the Patriots, the Bills face the Bucs (road) and Panthers (home), while New England comes out of its bye and takes on the Colts (road) before welcoming Buffalo to Foxborough for a Week 16 rematch.

Both teams end the season with virtual layups: The Bills close with the Falcons and Jets, while the Patriots get the Jaguars at home before finishing at the Dolphins.

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones drops back to pass and looks down the field for an open receiver
Image Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Given that the schedule strength is similar for both teams the rest of the way, it’s safe to project that the two head-to-head clashes will go a long way toward deciding the division champ.

For what it’s worth, Buffalo swept last year’s two meetings, winning 24-21 at home and 38-9 at New England. However, prior to that, the Patriots (mostly led by some guy named Brady) owned the Bills, going 34-4 from December 2000 through December 2019.

Jones might have to do his best Brady impersonation and sweep Buffalo down the stretch to get the Patriots back to the top of the AFC East mountain. That’s because if the teams finish with the best record, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head results. The second tiebreaker is division record — a tiebreaker the Bills currently own and likely would continue to own if they split the two games against New England.

Bottom line: What looked to be a complete runaway two weeks ago has turned into an exciting two-horse race that quite possibly won’t be decided until the final week of the regular season.

So which team would Johnson and his colleagues behind the counter at WynnBet like to see come out on top in the AFC East? Turns out, although both tickets and money are significantly slanted in the Bills’ favor, Wynn Bet’s risk room is fine either way.

“We have been high on the Patriots all year, so their sudden improvement didn’t catch us by surprise,” Johnson said. “We are in a good position if either team wins the division.”

Oh, Yeah — Those Other Two

New York Jets cornerback Arthur Maulet (left) tackles Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (right)
Image Credit: Kevin Wexler-USA TODAY Sports

And, yes, we know, both the Dolphins (3-7, 1-2 AFC East) and Jets (2-7, 0-3) are still mathematically alive to win the division. As such, you can still bet on both — at astronomical odds — to claim the AFC East title.

However, we’d advise you to use that money on a holiday gift for a loved one or make a charitable donation. Both would be smarter investments, as there’s a good chance the Jets will be eliminated before your Turkey Day leftovers have been plucked from the refrigerator … and the Dolphins soon after that.

Jay Clemons
Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media's national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out,,, The Players' Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's pre-eminent award for Best Football Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and now American Affiliate's Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta. And for the betting community, covering the last two years of the sports calendar (2019-20 / 2020-21), Clemons enjoyed a rock-solid winning rate of 59.6 percent with point-spread and over/under selections (NFL, college football and college basketball.)