Season Opener Could Foreshadow Buffalo Bills Super Bowl Chances 2023

Season Opener Could Foreshadow Buffalo Bills Super Bowl Chances 2023
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Seeking their first NFL championship, the Buffalo Bills Super Bowl chances 2023 are high as the preseason favorites this season.

The Los Angeles Rams are the defending Super Bowl champions.

One of those teams will get their season off to an ideal start when they meet Thursday night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., to kick off the 2022 NFL regular season (8:15 p.m. Eastern, NBC).

The Bills have gone from 1-point underdogs to 2.5-point favorites with FanDuel Sportsbook NY. It’s pretty rare for a defending Super Bowl champion to open the following season as an underdog, particularly at home (more on that later).

But how do teams that win the Thursday night opener fare that season, and what might that predict if the Bills come through for fans of the lone NFL team that plays its home games in New York state?

For those using New York sportsbooks to wager on the NFL for the first time since the state launched mobile sports betting in January, it might be a trend worth watching.

Must be 21+ to participate & present in NY. Gambling problem? Call (877-8-HOPENY) or text HOPENY (467369). Visit for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

How NFL Thursday Night Opener Winners Fare That Season

Year TNF Score Winner’s Record, Playoffs
2021 Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 29 13-4, lost Div. Round
2020 Chiefs 34, Texans 20 14-2, lost Super Bowl
2019 Packers 10, Bears 3 13-3, lost NFC Championship Game
2018 Eagles 18, Falcons 12 9-7, lost Div. Round
2017 Chiefs 42, Patriots 27 10-6, lost Wild Card round
2016 Broncos 21, Panthers 20 9-7, missed playoffs
2015 Patriots 28, Steelers 21 12-4, lost AFC Championship Game
2014 Seahawks 36, Packers 16 12-4, lost Super Bowl
2013 Broncos 49, Ravens 27 13-3, lost Super Bowl
2012 Cowboys 24, Giants 17 (Wed.) 8-8, missed playoffs

The NFL is famously associated with Sundays and Monday nights. But since 2002, the league has opened with a Thursday night game on national network television.

We focused on the past 10 years to see how the winner of the Thursday night NFL opener wound up doing that season.

For anybody interested in the Buffalo Bills for New York NFL betting this season, the trend is a bit of good news, bad news.

The good news is, since 2012 (the lone time that an NFL opener was played on Wednesday instead of Thursday, but we’re counting it because it was still the season kickoff), the winner of the first game in Week 1 has made the playoffs eight times in 10 seasons. They have never finished worse than .500 and have reached the Super Bowl three times.

The bad news is, none of them have taken the Vince Lombardi Trophy home.

The last team to win the Thursday opener and go on to win it all was the 2004 Patriots. New England got that season underway by defeating the Indianapolis Colts, 27-24, on Sept. 9 and closed the season by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21, in the Super Bowl on Feb. 6.

Buffalo Bills Super Bowl Odds

The Buffalo Bills are +600 favorites to win the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona, according to BetMGM Sportsbook NY.

The Bills return quarterback Josh Allen, receivers Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis and tight end Dawson Knox for a potent offense. Buffalo also added eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller – who played with the Rams in the Super Bowl last season after a midseason trade from the Broncos – to a defense that ranked first in the league in fewest yards allowed in 2021.

Buffalo’s defense also led the NFL in fewest points and fewest passing yards allowed last season. Safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer were named All-Pro selections. If the defense is as good as it was last year, the Buffalo Bills' Super Bowl chances 2023 will be as good as those using New York betting apps seem to think.

Defending Super Bowl Champions as Week 1 Underdogs

Year, teamOdds, Opponent ResultCovered?
2022, L.A. Rams +2.5 vs. Buffalo TBD TBD
2016, Denver +3 vs. Carolina Won 21-20 SU and ATS
2013, Baltimore +7.5 at Denver Lost 49-27 No
2003, Tampa Bay +3 at Philadelphia Won 17-0 SU and ATS
2002, New England +2.5 vs. Pittsburgh Won 30-14 SU and ATS
1993, Dallas +2.5 at Washington Lost 35-16No
1988, Washington +2 at N.Y. Giants Lost 27-20 No
1987, N.Y. Giants +1.5 at Chicago Lost 34-19 No
1983, Washington +1.5 vs. Dallas Lost 31-30 ATS only
1970, Kansas City +4 at Minnesota Lost 27-10 No

The Bills are so highly regarded by bettors that they have put the Rams in the unusual position of being a defending Super Bowl champion to open the following season as a Week 1 underdog.

Only nine defending champions in the Super Bowl era, which began with the 1966 season, have begun the next season as underdogs for Week 1. And only three times has that team been an underdog at home; The Rams will be the fourth when they face Buffalo on Thursday.

Defending champs are 4-5 against the spread and 3-6 straight up as underdogs in Week 1.

But three of those four defending champs that covered ATS did so at home – the 2016 Broncos, 2002 Patriots and 1983 Redskins (now Commanders).

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Jim Tomlin has more than 20 years of experience in sports journalism as an editor and writer. He has covered pro and college sports from football, baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, motorsports and more for publications such as the Tampa Bay Times,, and FanRag Sports.

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