The NFL season will kick off in five days, so I'm back with my crystal ball to forecast which team will hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February. Last year was not a good one for me in this Super Bowl futures department, as I had the Baltimore Ravens to win the 2022 championship. Unfortunately, the Ravens would suffer injury-after-injury, including losses to their entire backfield. Although they got off to an 8-3 record -- good enough for the top spot in the AFC -- they lost their last six games of the season, primarily due to QB Lamar Jackson's late-season injury which caused him to miss the final four games.
The experience of the Ravens last season should serve as a reminder that futures bets are awfully hard. Yes, it's true that I've had spectacular success on my futures bets over the years. But the fact remains that long-term bets are often spoiled by injuries. Still, that won't deter me from pulling the trigger on a team this season, and I'm going with Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. Currently, the Bills are +650 at PointsBet, and I think all the pieces are in place for Buffalo to finally break through to win its first championship. Indeed, Buffalo was (in my opinion) the best team in the NFL last year. Unfortunately, it left 13 seconds too many on the clock after it seemingly scored the game-winning TD against Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes took advantage, and pulled a rabbit out of his hat for the Chiefs to tie the game. And then KC proceeded to win in overtime, with Allen never touching the ball again.
One good thing did come out of that defeat, and that was the NFL changing its overtime rule for Playoff games. Now, both teams will get at least one possession.
However, the playoff format introduced last season will continue, and that is a key reason why I like Buffalo. Now, only two teams in the league get an all-important bye into the quarterfinals. So, it's critical to earn the #1 seed in the AFC and NFC conferences to reduce the number of games needed to win from four to just three.
Buffalo has the decided advantage going into the season because it will enjoy an easier schedule than its biggest rival, Kansas City. The Chiefs play in perhaps the most difficult division in football, and have to play the Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders twice each. In contrast, Buffalo's division rivals are the New York Jets, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. And that's a key reason why Buffalo's Season Wins total has been posted at 11.5 wins, while Kansas City's is lower, at 10.5 wins.
If the Bills can snag the #1 seed, they'll surely be difficult to defeat at Highmark Stadium in the Playoffs, as they're 16-4 SU at home, and 12-6-2 ATS the past two seasons. And they're 12-1 straight-up, and 8-4-1 ATS at home in the playoffs since 1981.
With last year's hard lesson always fresh in their mind, this post-season, the Bills won't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Instead, I expect them to not leave any room for error (not even 13 seconds), and believe they'll absolutely steamroll their opponents. Take the Bills at +650 to win the 2023 Super Bowl.
Good luck, as always,