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Over or Under? AFC East Win Totals

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are favorites to win the AFC East, but can they win 12 games?

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are favorites to win the AFC East, but can they win 12 games?

21 days to go!

In three weeks, the NFL kicks off proper with its first round of Sunday fixtures. 32 teams will vie for a spot in the playoffs with the ultimate hope of being victorious at Super Bowl XLVII.

Before then, BettingSports.com will be covering every aspect of football getting you ready for the new season. Today, we take a look at the AFC East and the win totals on offer, providing our opinion on whether to take the over or under. We begin with the division favorites.

Note: All odds are provided by Bovada and are accurate as of August 18.

New England Patriots

Schedule_NEWin Total: 11 | Over: +135 | Under: -165

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots gave bettors a scare earlier this week. The two-time Super Bowl MVP exited practice Wednesday with a knee injury, forcing sportsbooks to shut down their AFC Futures. While all appears well again – Brady had a solid performance in Friday’s 25-21 preseason win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – the incident shows that any team is just one injury away from having a very different season to what is expected in 2013.

New England is once again expected to be a contender this season. The Patriots currently sit at 9/1 to win Super Bowl XLVIII, joint third with the Seattle Seahawks. In terms of the win total though, bookmakers currently have the team at a modest (for New England) 11 wins.

The Patriots have finished with fewer than 12 wins in just three of the last 10 seasons, and one of those seasons included Matt Cassel at the helm. Simply put, the Patriots always look good to win more than 11. But can they do it again this year?

Despite the departures of Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez and the uncertainty surrounding Rob Gronkowski’s health, the Patriots still look to have enough to successfully navigate the AFC East, although a repeat of last year’s 6-0 record may not be as forthcoming. History has shown us that even when the Patriots look weaker, Bill Belichick finds ways to win, manufacturing highly-productive players from lesser known names.

Outside of the division, road trips to Atlanta, Houston, Cincinnati and Baltimore could go a long way to deciding the Pats’ fate, as could a home meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers (Nov. 3) and a Sunday Night Football showdown with the Denver Broncos at Foxboro (Nov. 24).

Verdict: Take the over. Based on those tough games, there’s a good chance that the Patriots will go 11-5. But fortune favors the brave so take the over; the Patriots are more than capable of showing those upstarts how things are done.

Miami Dolphins

Schedule_MIAWin Total: 8 | Over: EVEN | Under: -130

With new head coach Joe Philbin and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, last year’s Miami Dolphins side took a huge step in the right direction. A 7-9 record doesn’t pay respects to what was a tough defensive side. This year, the Dolphins will be looking to take another step forward. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, the NFL schedule may have other ideas.

Miami faces the toughest schedule of any AFC East team, and that schedule will be rough from Week 1. Trips to (tougher-than-you-think) Cleveland and Indianapolis in the first two weeks will be followed by games against the Atlanta Falcons (home), New Orleans Saints (road) and Baltimore Ravens (home). A bye in Week 6 could realistically be accompanied by a 0-5 record. After that, winning nine (to cover the win total) is going to be tough.

Even if the Dolphins pick up some upset wins in that opening portion of the schedule, the team will be up against either already good opposition (New England, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh) or improving opposition (Tampa Bay, Carolina) which adds to difficulty factor. Division rivals Buffalo may be the only ‘easy’ fixtures on the schedule.

Verdict: Take the under. The Dolphins will improve but that barbaric schedule doesn’t translate to nine wins.

New York Jets

Schedule_NYJWin Total: 6.5 | Over: +130| Under: -160

To put things simply, the New York Jets are a conundrum. If you believe all of the talking heads, the odds makers and, most of all, football fans, the Jets are destined for a Top 10 pick in next year’s NFL Draft. After a dismal campaign last season, it’s not hard to see why this is the going consensus. But is the consensus accurate?

Prior to last season, the Jets recorded four straight seasons with a .500 record or better. Looking back further, after finishing 1-15 in 1996, the Jets have been .500 or better in 12 of 16 seasons. That’s a fairly lengthy stretch of competence. So what if 2012 was just a blip on the radar?

This year, the Jets will face a stiff schedule but it winning seven (to beat the win total) doesn’t look out of the question. Games against Tennessee (road), Oakland (home) and Buffalo (home and especially road) look winnable, which leave the team looking for three wins. Depending how teams shape up, those wins could come against Miami (home), Tampa Bay (home) and Cleveland (home). All three of those teams certainly have the potential to win, but could just as easily fall away. Then there’s the potential for upsets. A steady and focused Jets team, like those in 2010 and 2011, could make some noise.

Verdict: Take the over. The Jets without distraction may at least tread water this season. While distraction might be hard to avoid, the lure of a bigger payout for taking the over makes sense in this one.

Buffalo Bills

Schedule_BUFWin Total: 6.5 | Over: +110 | Under: -140

Remember this time last year when it looked like the Buffalo Bills – who signed Mario Williams and Mark Anderson and re-signed Stevie Williams – might be about to make some noise in the AFC East? Well, that didn’t exactly go according to plan.

Unlike last year, this offseason, Buffalo hasn’t exactly fooled anybody into thinking it’s a contender. The club has brought in rookie QB E.J. Manuel and that’s about all. This year, odds makers have little respect for the Bills, who are 150/1 (joint 28th) to win the Super Bowl. Fans have even less respect.

But can the Bills win seven games? Simply put, no. Three of the last four seasons have seen the Bills finish with six wins. The fourth saw just four wins. This team is no better than any of those sides. The team’s schedule doesn’t make things any easier either.

The Bills have exactly one opponent who you would be confident putting money on them against; the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, the Bills have won just five road games in the last three years, so betting against the Jaguars might be a bad idea too. Sure, the Bills could pick up an upset here or there, but there’s more chance of the team going 0-16 than winning seven.

Verdict: Take the under. Until the Bills prove they can win on the road, don’t back them for anything. Anything.

For more NFL team prop bets from Bovada, click here.

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