NFL

Betting the NFL Over/Under Totals

Finally, the NFL is back. The Olympics were great, at least for a few days, but betting on women’s handball made me feel like a complete degenerate. Thank god for football. Along with fantasy, pools, parlays, teasers, and traditional point spread bets, I occasionally like to partake in the season-long over/under prop bet. I tell myself they’re easier to bet because Vegas doesn’t have an opportunity to adjust and that the algorithm I built from scratch (money + addiction = good) is flawless – we’ll see how it goes this year…

It’s fun hopping on a bandwagon emotionally and financially and finding out if your own theories about the league hold up. Or betting on the over for your favorite team, just to make each win that much more satisfying. You can also mix it up with an emotional hedge: betting the under on your favorite team so that the pain of a shit-the-bed season is nullified.

One important thing to consider are the odds on each choice. In an ideal world, choosing either “over” or “under” would carry the same odds (usually around -105, or slightly worse than even to give the house it’s cut). In an effort to induce more betting, the sports books tend to present more attractive win totals, but make up for it by turning the odds against the player (often to around -150).

Most of these were hard. Some weren’t. All lines courtesy of Sportsbook.ag…




BEST BETS

Patriots (O/U is 10.5, Over is -140, Under is +120)

Don’t think twice about this one: take the over. Belichick won 11 games with Matt “the human mannequin” Cassel at the helm for an entire season. Garoppolo is better. And Martellus Bennett is about to remind everyone what a non-sociopathic Aaron Hernandez could have been…

Bengals (O/U is 9.5, Over is +105, Under is -125)

I have a hard time believing this isn’t a ten-win team. I also can’t believe they‘re a Super Bowl contender, but this is only a regular season bet and this is a regular season team. They have a solid QB, a deep, talented roster, and will be supremely motivated after ending last season on a sour note. They won 12 games and they simply haven’t lost enough to fall three games off that pace…




Redskins (O/U is 7.5, Over is -105, Under is -115)

OVER. This may be my favorite bet on the board. The four most important positions on a modern team are QB, coach, cornerback, and left tackle, in that order. Washington should be all set in each spot. Cousins ended last year on a tear, Norman and Trent Williams have shown elite talent, and Jay Gruden appears to possess at least some of his brother’s intelligence without the Chucky smiles or “Quarterback Camps.” Throw in a relatively weak division and 8-8 seems well within reach…

Titans (O/U is 5.5, Over is -185, Under is +160)

Really like the value here for the under. Feels like it should be even. The monkey wrench is Mariota: he could have a monster season running and throwing and will them to six wins. It feels like he has that in him. However, if there was ever someone most likely to hold him back, Mike Mularkey is your man. I don’t believe in Mularkey’s malarkey or his philosophy, and in a division that I expect to be better than advertised, I think Tennessee ends up at the short end of the stick (or whatever that idiotic phrase is)…

Panthers (O/U is 10.5, Over is -105, Under is -115)

It feels like a trendy bet to take the under here. A team has everything go right all season, gets to the Super Bowl, loses, and then everything that didn’t go wrong last year does this year, and they end up missing the playoffs. Very typical. Except I don’t buy it with this team. They play in a soft division and have a stud at QB who is more injurer than injuree, and he’s getting his best receiver back in Kelvin Benjamin. They also have a borderline elite defense. Don’t overthink this one. Take the over…




LIKE IT, DON’T LOVE IT

Broncos (O/U is 9.5, Over is +130, Under is -150)

Suck up the shitty odds. There’s a reason teams work so hard to find help at QB. It’s hard to win without a good one. How this bet goes wrong: Google “Von Miller Playoffs” and the answer will become quite apparent.




Raiders (O/U is 8.5, Over is -125, Under is + 105)

The team is clearly on the upswing. Carr seems ready for at least some kind of leap (hopefully not backwards like his big bro), and their draft made a lot of sense. Add that to the seven games they won last year and a nine-spot feels safe to predict. How this bet goes wrong: three words: Jack Del Rio…

Cardinals (O/U is 9.5, Over is -235, Under is +190)

Obviously the proper number is more like 10.5. The odds are atrocious. Otherwise this goes to the top of the LOCKS. I’d still make the bet, though. They’re a fully loaded veteran team with a well above average coach, a win-now mentality, and some young, hungry talent on D. How this bet goes wrong: Carson Palmer is wearing a surgical gown in mid-October…




Bucs (O/U is 7.5, Over is +130, Under is -150)

Was it smart to shit-can Lovie Smith? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean they won’t get a bump from a new man in charge. This is mostly a bet on Jameis Winston taking a leap, though. There is an entire perception around this kid – deserved or not – that has zero to do with his progression between the lines. He has never not stepped up to the next rung on his career path with flying colors, and the rung he is on now is having a monster second year getting his team above .500. How this bet goes wrong: Jameis is running for his life from day one.




Texans (O/U is 8.5, Over is even, Under is -120)

Going against the grain slightly here. I believe O’Brien and Osweiler have both proven to be competent at a minimum, and with the weapons involved (Watt, Hopkins, Clowney, Miller, Miller, Fuller), a winning record is more than likely. The odds are even. Simple as that. How this bet goes wrong: Osweiler is the next Matt Flynn…

Colts (O/U is 9.5, Over is +160, Under is -185)

The poor odds kept this one off the top list. Lot of disadvantage to eat on the short side for a team with a QB this talented. That being said, I’m personally a little bearish on the anointed savior of the QB position, at least compared to expectations. And bearish isn’t strong enough to describe how I feel about Mr. Pagano. How this bet goes wrong: Luck cleans up his decision making and produces the monster season everyone predicted for him last year…

Saints (O/U is 7.5, Over is +110, Under is -130)

Sean Payton seems kinda creepy right? He has that plastic surgery-ish look to him lately. Anyway, he seems to have lost this team and their personnel decision making is all over the map. How this bet goes wrong: Drew Brees…




Packers (O/U is 10.5, Over is -150, Under is +130)

When in doubt, bet on good QBs and injury luck evening itself out. The division and schedule are also attractive. How this bet goes wrong: Eddie Lacy starts eating fried food again…

Falcons (O/U is 7.5, Over is +115, Under is -135)

Is Matt Ryan good? Eh. Do you trust this team? Me neither. So eat the 35% with a smile and just be happy you get to cheer against this defense. How this bet goes wrong: Dan Quinn proves himself an above-average NFL head coach…

Chiefs (O/U is 9.5, Over is -125, Under is +105)

I’m probably a sucker on this one: don’t pay attention to me.

EHHH

Jets (O/U is 7.5, Over is -120, Under is even)

Their roster is more attractive to me than their schedule.




Ravens (O/U is 8.5, Over is +115, Under is -135)

Going with the “good coach + good QB = ten wins” formula. Also nice to get some positive odds to offset some of the blows I’ve taken.

Lions (O/U is 7, Over is -115, Under is -105)

Wasn’t really digging what they had going on when Calvin Johnson was still in the building, isn’t gonna get much better this year…

Vikings (O/U is 9.5, Over is -145, Under is +125)

Sure, they have a well-rounded roster, a top-five all-time tailback and seemingly competent coach. But this is really a (very tentative) bet on Teddy Bridgewater.

Chargers (O/U is 7.5, Over +110, Under is -130)

Five wins sounds about right. I just don’t believe in this franchise. The Bosa negotiations are a bad omen.




49ers (O/U is 5.5, Over is even, Under is -120)

They won five games with a middle school gym teacher (Jim Tomsula) as head coach, so Chip Kelly and the underrated Blaine Gabbert should be good for six. Right?




STAY AWAYS

Dolphins (O/U is 7, Over is even, Under is -120)

Impossible to know what kind of impact new coach Adam Gase will have…

Bills (O/U is 8, Over is +115, Under is -135)

Might be tempted to bet on the push if odds were available (and attractive, obviously). They weren’t here. Otherwise, either direction is a total crapshoot. I like Tyrod Taylor’s game though…

Browns (O/U is 4.5, Over is -140, Under is +120)

I like the plus value on the under, this being the Browns and all. But this potential RGIII/Josh Gordon reunion under the watchful eye of Hue-ball Jackson has got me questioning that rationale…




Steelers (O/U is 10.5, Over is -105, Under -115)

At gunpoint I would take the over. Fortunately, we have a no-guns policy at TheLead HQ…

Jaguars (O/U is 7.5, Over is -120, Under is even)

Another trendy pick to go over. My heart tells me that’s the way to go. But my head tells me never to bet on the Jacksonville f**king Jaguars. Plus, their schedule is really tough…

Giants (O/U is 8, Over is -135, Under is +115)

Unless you have really strong feelings about the Ben McAdoo era, take a pass. Would either six or ten wins really surprise you here? A good candidate for a push if the odds are right…




Bears (O/U is 7.5, Over is +110, Under is -130)

Very tempting to bet against Jay Cutler just on general principles. It feels like a sucker’s bet, though. Chicago has too many variables that could go either way and John Fox is usually good for a game or two…

Eagles (O/U is 6.5, Over is even, Under is -120)

On one hand, they will be motivated after getting rid of Chip Kelly. On the other, they are a complete question mark at QB and coach. That means a no-go in my book…




Cowboys (O/U is 9.5, Over is +110, Under is -130)

Feels like a 9-7 or 10-6 team to me. No strong feeling either way…

Seahawks (O/U is 10.5, Over is -135, Under is +115)

I’m worried about Pete Carroll plateauing and the offense struggling with limited weapons and a shitty line. The home-field advantage is enough to scare me into inaction…

Rams (O/U is 7.5, Over is +185, Under is -220)

After three episodes of Hard Knocks, it is now apparent why Jeff Fisher is so mediocre. Just compare him to the dynamic Bruce Arians on Amazon’s All or Nothing. It’s no contest in terms of leadership. But the Rams tend to win a game or two they shouldn’t and these are pretty bad odds to eat. There’s enough value elsewhere on the board…

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