2012 NFL Predictions: Las Vegas' Regular-Season Win Totals for Each Team

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor IMay 24, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions: Las Vegas' Regular-Season Win Totals for Each Team

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    Las Vegas sports books are buzzing once again due to the release all 32 teams' win totals for the 2012 NFL season—something that should get the juices flowing for every football fan, especially those who plan to visit the strip before the season-opener on Sept. 5.

    Cantor Gaming opened the NFL futures market for this type of offering on Wednesday morning, with two teams receiving plenty of attention once the numbers were posted on the odds board.

    "Both the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers received solid action towards the under in the early going," Mike Colbert, who serves as the company's vice president of race and sports in risk management, stated in a phone conversation Thursday.

    The negative approach toward the Broncos is by far the most shocking of the two, but there's a lot of uncertainty at to how effective quarterback Peyton Manning will be this year—even in Sin City.

    "By far one of the toughest numbers for us to come up with was the Broncos," Colbert stated. "We just don't know how much he's worth at this time."

    Let's take a closer look at how many wins Manning is expected to produce during his first year in the Mile High City, while also making some early predictions for every other team around the league. 

Cleveland Browns

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    Cleveland always faces an upward battle in the AFC North, especially with the Cincinnati Bengals turning things around in 2011.

    The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers are the class of the division, with both expected to win 10 games or more on a yearly basis.

    The number seems right, but could fall if first-round draft picks Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden fail to sign contracts.

    I don't see that happening, though, and neither does Vegas. 

    Total: Over/Under 5.5 wins

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    I don't anticipate the Jacksonville Jaguars to receive much action in the futures market, which is almost reason enough to place a wager on them winning at least six games.

    The Jaguars picked up just one victory on the road a year ago, handing the downtrodden Indianapolis Colts a 17-3 defeat in Week 10, but that win total must go up in order to cash here.

    Don't be surprised if the team walks out of the Twin Cities with a victory in the season-opener, considering Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is coming off a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee.

    The key factor in handicapping this total is finding out if second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert will be able to connect with the team's top selection from the 2012 NFL Draft. Wide receiver Justin Blackmon may wish he had landed in Cleveland with former college teammate Brandon Weeden when the season is over. 

    Total: Over/Under 5.5 wins

Indianapolis Colts

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    The Indianapolis Colts are coming off a forgettable 2-14 campaign, but may receive a solid amount of action due to selecting Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck with the first overall selection of the 2012 NFL Draft.

    A lot of the betting public may also have an interest in playing the "over" due to the success of Andy Dalton and Cam Newton as first-year quarterbacks a year ago.

    "We tend to lean on the history of the NFL when projected win totals involving rookie quarterbacks," Cantor Gaming's Mike Colbert said. "We do expect more in terms of performance from Luck than Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins)."

    I recommend taking a closer look at the rest of the roster before pulling the trigger—don't get blinded by the hype that's surrounded Luck since he arrived in Palo Alto. 

    Total: Over/Under 5.5 wins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a difficult team to watch in 2011, and when that happens in the NFL, changes are made.

    Raheem Morris is out, and former Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Greg Schiano takes over on the sidelines. Lining up against the Carolina Panthers in Week 1 is definitely going to provide a measuring stick of where the franchise is in the rebuilding process, which is something I'd like to see before pulling the trigger on this total.

    A wait-and-see approach here. 

    Total: Over/Under 6 wins

St. Louis Rams

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    Jeff Fisher re-emerges on the NFL scene after taking a year off from the game, which has me very interested in playing the "over" on this total. He was very successful as the front man for the Tennessee Titans for 16 seasons, piling up 142 career victories in the process.

    The St. Louis Rams were one of the more talked-about teams at this time a year ago, but clearly underperformed due to a variety of reasons in finishing with a 2-14 record.

    I wouldn't laugh at anyone who expects at least a four-win improvement from this franchise in 2012. 

    Total: Over/Under 6 wins

Minnesota Vikings

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    I guess I'll always remember my initial reaction when the Minnesota Vikings selected quarterback Christian Ponder with the 12th overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft:

    It wasn't a good one.

    Ponder played in 11 games during his rookie campaign, throwing for 1,853 yards and 13 touchdowns, while also getting picked off 13 times.

    It's also important to note that the NFC North is going to be a dog fight this year, with the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers all needing to sweep their season series against the Vikings.

    I'm not a fan of this team, and don't expect a three-win improvement from last year's 3-13 record.

    Total: Over/Under 6 wins

Washington Redskins

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    Heisman Trophy-winner Robert Griffin III was taken with the second overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, but Las Vegas has tempered expectations for the former Baylor Bears standout.

    "I expect Griffin III to struggle in his first year," Cantor Gaming's Mike Colbert commented. "His tendency to run also leaves him open to injury."

    I recommend staying far away from this total unless you're simply a fan looking for a little action.  

    Total: Over/Under 6.5 wins

Arizona Cardinals

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    For some reason, I really like the Arizona Cardinals' chances to improve upon their 8-8 record from a year ago.

    I'm not going to get too involved until head coach Ken Whisenhunt decides on a starting quarterback, but Las Vegas doesn't see much separation between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton anyways.

    I will say that I absolutely love second-year cornerback Patrick Peterson, someone who could earn Defensive Player of the Year honors in the not too distant future.

    Total: Over/Under 7 wins

Oakland Raiders

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    The addition of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to the AFC West division is the main reason the Oakland Raiders aren't expected to improve upon their 8-8 record from 2011.

    Oakland may also be seen as a value play if Manning is unable to deliver in the Mile High City, especially with its own quarterback having time to ease into the 2012 campaign.

    I wasn't a fan of the franchise acquiring Carson Palmer during the middle of the season after an injury to Jason Campbell, but it may be time to forgive and forget in the betting market.

    I'll have to wait until I see a healthy Darren McFadden in the preseason, though.  

    Total: Over/Under 7 wins

Tennessee Titans

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    Playing the Tennessee Titans "over" their regular-season win total is going to be a popular discussion in Las Vegas over the next couple months, as everyone is quick to point out that running back Chris Johnson wasn't ready to play in the early going in 2011.

    Johnson didn't arrive in training camp last year until inking a new $53.5 million deal, causing him to rush for more than 100 yards just four times in 16 games.

    Due to my belief that the public isn't expecting a two-game drop-off from last year's 9-7 record, I can only recommend the "under" at this time.

    It wouldn't surprise me if the Titans landed right on this number at the end of the season, though. 

    Total: Over/Under 7 wins

Seattle Seahawks

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    This is a very important year for Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, and he knows it.

    His fate is sealed with how productive former Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn can be over the next two years—a signing that I wasn't a big fan of.

    Playing in the NFC West provides some opportunity, especially if you don't expect the San Francisco 49ers to repeat their 13-win performance from a year ago. The Seahawks may have dropped both meetings with the 49ers in 2011, but they held their own in those contests.

    Total: Over/Under 7 wins

Buffalo Bills

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    Which Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to show up in 2012?

    The Buffalo Bills fell in love with his early play a year ago, leading to a six-year contract extension in the middle of the season.

    It seemed to be a genius maneuver after the team moved to 5-2 after a 23-0 victory over the Washington Redskins in Week 8, but then a seven-game losing streak quickly followed.

    The signing of former Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams may overshadow the inconsistencies of Fitzpatrick at the quarterback position, as almost everyone expects a major improvement from a defense that ranked 25th in the league in yards allowed a year ago.

    Pass for now. 

    Total: Over/Under 7 wins

Carolina Panthers

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    Cantor Gaming's Mike Colbert called Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton an "absolute stud," which is why I was a bit surprised at the opening number for this team.

    There's no doubt in my mind that Las Vegas will be rooting against Newton for the entire season, as plenty of "over" money will follow the hype.

    I still wouldn't blame anyone for expecting at least eight wins. 

    Total: Over/Under 7.5 wins

Miami Dolphins

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    The Miami Dolphins' season will likely be determined on the success of running back Reggie Bush as he prepares for his second year in South Beach. He put together his first 1,000-yard season (1,086) in 2011, while also catching 43 passes for 296 yards in 15 games.

    Bush will have a hard time replicating those numbers if rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill earns the starting job during the preseason. I'm going to sit this one out until I see a clear edge in either direction. 

    Total: Over/Under 7.5 wins

Cincinnati Bengals

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    This was easily one of the more surprising NFL totals to come out of Las Vegas, considering the Cincinnati Bengals finished with a 9-7 regular-season record and earned a playoff berth in 2011.

    Whenever a situation like this arises in sports betting, I always recommend taking a negative stance against the number.

    The public can't fathom the idea of the Bengals finishing with a losing record with quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green entering their second year, so smallest of leans to the "under."

    Total: Over/Under 7.5 wins

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Romeo Crennel is set to begin his first full season as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, as he handled the responsibilities on an interim basis following the firing of Todd Haley after a 37-10 blowout loss on the road to the New York Jets in Week 14.

    Early-season injuries resulted in opening the 2011 campaign with three consecutive losses, but the team rebounded to finish with a 7-9 record.

    The AFC West is wide open, which is why I'm not surprised by this number. Kansas City is capable of returning to the playoffs for the second time in three years.

    Total: Over/Under 8 wins

Dallas Cowboys

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    It's now or never in Dallas, but isn't that always the case?

    I have a slight lean to the "over" on this total due to predicting a nine-win season for the Cowboys 10 days ago.

    Don't go overboard. 

    Total: Over/Under 8.5 wins

New York Jets

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    Few teams will be covered more than the New York Jets this season, with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow battling it out for snaps under center.

    I was a bit surprised by this number, but not entirely shocked, either.

    Sanchez may not be the franchise quarterback everyone is waiting for, and I'm not expecting Tebow to be the savior like he was in Denver last year.

    Too tough to call at this moment in time.. 

    Total: Over/Under 8.5 wins

Atlanta Falcons

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    I was really high on the Atlanta Falcons last year entering the 2011 NFL playoffs, which led to a look of disbelief on my face when they were handed a 24-2 road loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Wild Card Round.

    Pure emotions may lead me to play the "under" in this offering, but I can't let that get in the way of making a conscientious decision.

    Quarterback Matt Ryan needs to do a better job than the 71.1 quarterback rating he posted the last time we saw him, or the Falcons will not reach this number.

    Total: Over/Under 9 wins

Chicago Bears

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    Matt Forte wants a long-term deal—and I want to see it before I start figuring out if the Chicago Bears will win nine or more games.

    If all the pieces come together for this team during the offseason, I wouldn't be surprised to see a double-digit win total out of the Bears in 2012. Before Jay Cutler's season-ending injury, few NFL squads put together a better five-game stretch than this one did a season ago. 

    Total: Over/Under 8.5 wins

San Diego Chargers

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    Being a Southern California native, I've heard my fair share of people predicting a Super Bowl berth for the San Diego Chargers over the years.

    Quarterback Philip Rivers is still the star of the show, but going above this total will come down to the performance of third-year running back Ryan Mathews. This team is very dangerous if he's able to surpass his 1,091 rushing yards from a year ago.

    The Chargers also will not be threatened by the Denver Broncos now that they have quarterback Peyton Manning, as they held their own against him during his time in Indianapolis.

    Very playable. 

    Total: Over/Under 9 wins

New York Giants

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    The defending Super Bowl champions continue to be disrespected, but that's not a reason to fire on the "over" in this offering.

    I'm not a fan of inconsistency, as it creates a world of doubt.

    But don't get blinded by New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning lifting his second Lombardi Trophy, considering the team's 9-7 regular-season record in 2011.

    I can see both scenarios playing out for this squad, which has me passing quickly on this number.   

    Total: Over/Under 9.5 wins

Denver Broncos

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    How many wins is Peyton Manning worth?

    Until you can answer that question, I recommend staying away from this total.

    Many will quickly jump at the opportunity in playing this number due to the Denver Broncos finishing with an 8-8 record last year.

    I suggest looking back at some tape of some improbable fourth-quarter comebacks by Tim Tebow, while also taking into account that the Broncos were outscored by 81 points during the regular season.

    The early action is on the "under," but a double-digit win total is not out of the question if Manning is able to deliver.    

    Total: Over/Under 9.5 wins

Detroit Lions

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    Las Vegas at its best right here.

    The natural progression for an up-and-coming team is for it to surpass its win total from a year ago, but the NFL often works in mysterious ways.

    I'm definitely not playing the "over" with star wide receiver Calvin Johnson landing on the Madden 13 cover.

    No way, no how. 

    Total: Over/Under 9.5 wins

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    It's no surprise that the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers have the same win total; many measure them as equals on the gridiron.  

    "We consider the Steelers to be slightly stronger than the Ravens," Cantor Gaming's Mike Colbert stated to me over the phone on Thursday. "But it's really a coin-toss between the two of them." 

    I don't see any value in playing either side.

    Total: Over/Under 10 wins

Baltimore Ravens

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    The Baltimore Ravens missed out on a golden opportunity to reach last year's Super Bowl, falling 23-20 to the New England Patriots on the road in the AFC Championship Game.

    That may have been linebacker Ray Lewis' last shot, especially if Terrell Suggs suffers any setbacks in recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.

    I'm passing on this total, as I'm projecting a 10-win season for the Ravens in 2012. 

    Total: Over/Under 10 wins

New Orleans Saints

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    It's very difficult to get a handle on what to expect from the New Orleans Saints this year—even for Las Vegas sports books.

    "The Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints were by far the two most difficult teams to set a win total for," Cantor Gaming's Mike Colbert commented. "The Bountygate issue, and Drew Brees not being signed long term brings up a lot of questions for the Saints."

    The roster has plenty of talent to overcome the offseason struggles, but I'm going to stay far away from this one. 

    Total: Over/Under 10 wins

San Francisco 49ers

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    The 2011 San Francisco 49ers surpassed everyone's expectations in finishing with a 13-3 regular-season record, which will surely result in plenty of "over" tickets being sold on this offering.

    I have a lot of respect for second-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, but it's not out of the question that the 49ers drop their first two games on the schedule against the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.

    Don't get involved in playing this total if you have similar thoughts of an 0-2 start.  

    Total: Over/Under 10 wins

Houston Texans

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    The Houston Texans are certainly capable of winning their second consecutive AFC South title, especially with the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars in full rebuilding mode.

    Defense was the name of the game under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips in 2011, as the Texans finished fourth in the NFL in allowing just 278 points.

    A high level of uncertainty surrounds the other side of the ball, though, as wide receiver Andre Johnson and quarterback Matt Schaub were often watching from the sidelines due to injury last season.

    There are too many unknowns for my liking. 

    Total: Over/Under 10 wins

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Few teams have the type of talent that the Philadelphia Eagles possess, but playing a total of this kind really depends on the health of quarterback Michael Vick.

    I've already written that I can't recommend a play on the "over" due to this factor alone.

    High risk, high reward.   

    Total: Over/Under 10 wins

Green Bay Packers

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    The Green Bay Packers finished the 2011 regular season with a 15-1 record, scoring 560 points in the process.

    Any team with that type of firepower is a candidate to win 12 or more games, but let's also remember that the Packers were 10-6 in their Super Bowl-winning season two years ago.

    I believe the number is exactly where it needs to be. 

    Total: Over/Under 12 wins

New England Patriots

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    There's no way that the New England Patriots fail to win at least 12 games during the 2012 NFL regular season—at least that's the impression you'll get from the comments found in the article I posted on this very subject on Wednesday.

    Everything points to the Patriots going "over" this number.

    Revenge. Brady. Gisele—maybe not that last one.

    Proceed with caution.  

    Total: Over/Under 12 wins