It feels like Christmas morning when the odds on NFL win totals come out. Football is the best sport to bet win totals on because it is only a 16, I mean 17 game season. That means every game counts, and a single uncharacteristic game can bust a bet. It’s also the most accurate indicator of expectations for each team going into the season. To celebrate the glory of NFL win totals being released, here are my favorite, and least favorite numbers.
Arizona Cardinals: 8 Wins (Over)
Is this some sort of sick joke? Is there a conspiracy to make me look like a fool. I recently wrote an entire article about how sexy of a bet the Cardinals are after their offseason moves. They got a lot better, and their star players are primed to make the leap into superstardom. They went 8-8 last year! Do you really think they’re going to go 8-9 this year? No. If you want to learn more about why the Cardinals get me so jacked up, please read what I wrote about them. For now, just take the over and cook yourself a cash omelet for breakfast.
Carolina Panthers: 7.5 Wins (Under)
Everyone take a moment and think about this. Kyler Murray is the QB for the Cardinals. Sam, “draft bust” Darnold is now the QB of the Panthers. AND YET, NFL win totals have them only separated by 0.5! This should show you how much of an opportunity you have to make money betting on these. Last year the Panthers went 5-11. The year before, they went 5-11!
Darnold is right in the same wheelhouse as Bridgewater, and may even be a downgrade. Yes, they get Christian McCaffrey back. Yes, the defense is very young. But bad quarterback play kills you. It just does. After two 5 win seasons, I can’t see them hitting the 7.5 mark with Darnold at the helm. I would take the under and expect a 6, MAYBE 7 win season at the most.
Cleveland Browns: 9.5 Wins (Over)
Do. You. BELIEVE? I do. After being the laughing stock of the NFL for years and drafting professional partier Johnny Manziel, the Browns have arrived. With Baker Mayfield at the helm, this team went to the playoffs, Tik Tok danced all over JuJu and the Steelers (sorry Pittsburgh fans), and came pretty close to beating the Chiefs! Oh, did I mention they went 11-5? And who did they lose this offseason? No one. If anything, they got back Odell Beckham Jr. from an injury.
Yes, he may be traded. But if he is, the Browns will address other needs, hopefully at the linebacker position. And if he’s not, then he will serve as another elite weapon for Mayfield. The O-line is one of the best in the league. So is the running game. Myles Garrett will be a DPOY candidate all season, and the young secondary will likely up their game. This team is better than they were last year, and the Ravens are the only threat in the division. I expect an 11 win season, and could easily see 12 happening.
Jacksonville Jaguars: 6.5 Wins (Under)
This is all Trevor Lawrence hype. That’s all it is. 6.5 wins? Are you kidding me? They only won one game this season. ONE. They don’t even deserve a participation trophy. I know Trevor Lawrence is expected to come into the NFL like Thanos and snap opponents into dust, but it’s not gonna happen this quick. This team had the second worst defense, and third worst offense last season.
One guy with amazing hair isn’t going to change that. And they didn’t add enough in free agency to make a significant difference either. This team has a super bright future but they are so young and inexperienced. The weak offensive line is going to bother Lawrence, as will the lack of weapons on the outside. I’m thinking more in the 4-5 win range, and even 6 would still be a successful under bet.
Dallas Cowboys: 9.5 Wins (Over)
I am putting myself directly in the crossfire with this pick. The single worst thing you can do when writing about sports is hype up the Dallas Cowboys. But screw it, I got Dak fever! Prescott is a monster. In the four games he started and finished last season, the Boys averaged 32 points per game. Dak threw for 1,700 yards and 9 touchdowns in those games.
This offense, when healthy, is dominant. And that’s the key, health. The offensive line was super banged up last year. They get Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins back. Zeke will have a bounce-back year. The receiving corps is one of the best in the league, and Ceedee Lamb is only getting better. They will be one of the best offensive units in the league from top to bottom.
The defense is a question mark. It sucked last year. Really sucked. But I’m optimistic. The defense was awesome in 2018, and a lot of the key pieces are still there. Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Demarcus Lawrence are still on the roster. They added Keanu Neal in free agency, and Trevon Diggs is a promising young corner. On paper, this unit seems solid and I expect them to go defense with the 10th overall pick and beef it up even more. The offense will be awesome, and the defense has to be better. I know this team gets a lot of hype every year, but I really think they will finally put it together.