It seems that sports books are putting out NFL futures odds earlier and earlier each season. And
this week, I found a list of NFL season win total odds arrive on my desk. I love totals, so I really
can’t resist making some NFL season win totals predictions.
Here are seven teams that stand out as potential opportunities—though I would really have to
have a good reason to bet these this early when so much is uncertain:
San Francisco 49ers (‘over/under’ 10 wins)
The under is heavily favored here (-135 as I write). I’m a contrarian by nature, and I like the
Niners and what they are doing a lot, so I’ll happily take the over here.
There is some risk of a letdown after last year’s success—and the disappointing way it ended.
However, I’m not concerned.
I really believe in Jim Harbaugh and what he is doing. I like Alex Smith, believe in the step
forward he took last year, and think he will really benefit from the stability he is experiencing for
the first time in his career and from the upgrade in his receiving staff. I like the defensive depth.
The schedule could be easier, but it is manageable. This team will be a factor, and there is
value in the over.
New York Jets (o/u 8.5)
Under. Way, way under.
The Jets are a major circus, and I have little faith that they are going to be able to turn things
around and put together a good year.
There are skill deficits in key places and a coach who has a very loose grasp on control. They
face an improved division as well.
This is a team that could be headed for disaster, and I want to be in position to just point and
Kansas City Chiefs (o/u 8)
Last year everything that could possibly go wrong for this team did. Injuries were a frequent
occurrence, and the firing of Todd Haley in week 13 only capped the chaos.
They should be healthier this year, though, and Romeo Crennel is a popular and competent
coach. When they had as many issues as they did last year and still finished 7-9, then the over
here is certainly possible.
They have all sorts of talent to draw on, and have upside.
Buffalo Bills (o/u 7)
For the first time in a long time, the Bills are coming into this season with swagger.
Landing Mario Williams was a major coup, and the optimism that created has seeped into all
aspects of the team.
The defense was the biggest issue last year, and that has been improved. Their coaching is
better suited to the situation than I gave them credit for before last season, and they have sound
quarterbacking and decent offensive talent.
I think there is a good chance that they will be the second-best team in their division, and I’d
lean to the over. Quite a strong lean.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (o/u 6)
Last year I was bullish on the Buccaneers, so their 4-12 record was one of the biggest
disappointments in the league. Everything that could have gone wrong did, and it cost Raheem
Morris his job.
I’m not convinced that Greg Schiano was the right choice as his replacement—his
performance at Rutgers was inconsistent, and he’s a bit of a nut case. A change was definitely
needed, though, and the team should respond to that.
There is some talent on the team, and they should be able to improve significantly if Josh
Freeman can remember that he doesn’t have to throw every other pass to the opposing players.
I don’t think they’ll be a playoff contender, but they have a good shot at meeting or exceeding
this total. The under is favored, so that makes the over attractive to me.
Indianapolis Colts (o/u 5.5)
This one, to me, is a total no-brainer. Andrew Luck is the real deal and has a long, great career
ahead of him. It will start slowly, though.
There is a massive talent deficit on this team, and that’s going to take more than one strong
draft to overcome. Luck is going to provide the inconsistency expected from a young player on
a bad team, and the defense certainly isn’t going to be in a position to save his skin. It’s going to
be a long year.
The problem here, of course, is that mine isn’t exactly a controversial or unique opinion, so all of
the value has been bet out of the under.
Seattle Seahawks (o/u 7)
I’m not generally optimistic about the Pete Carroll-era—he’s a college coach who has too
much of an ego to recognize his best spot. That makes it hard for me to respect this team.
Even if it weren’t for that, there is a bigger issue. I get really nervous when a team doesn’t have
a clear, standout starting quarterback. Carroll signed Matt Flynn, and it seemed like he would be the choice. But then he flirted with drafting a quarterback early, picked up Russell Wilson, and
seems to still have loyalty to Tarvaris Jackson.
If he can’t seem to buy into his options under center than it’s hard for me to do so. I’ll be a bear
and take the under.