NFL Win Totals Best Bets With Research

There is no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to sports gambling. After sorting through a decade of U/O win data, though, we have a few that are as close as you’ll get. First, it’s important to point out that the biggest choice you face for the 2018 NFL season isn’t what to bet, it’s which to bet.

By that, we mean to say that identifying the few teams you think are most likely to either go over or under their win projection is the most efficient way to go. Don’t bet on every single team. If you try to guess the U/O on all 32 NFL teams this season, you’d be lucky to break even.

However, if you educate yourself on the select few teams you’re really confident in, you could make out quite nicely. After combing through teams who, over the last 10 seasons, have over or underachieved consistently, we have a few bets that make the most sense in 2018. We in fact, have just four “best bets” for U/O win totals in the 2018 NFL season.

Our best bets to exceed their win projections are:

Atlanta Falcons – 9

Denver Broncos – 7


Our best bets to fall below their win projections are:

Los Angeles Chargers – 9.5

New York Giants – 7


If you’ve read our other two articles talking about the biggest over and underachievers in the NFL over the last 10 seasons, you’ll remember the Falcons and Broncos consistently outperform their projections. There’s reason to believe they’ll do so again this season.

Over: Atlanta – 9

Atlanta plays in a tough division, so getting to nine wins won’t be easy, but their divisional foes face a tougher road. The division-rival Saints have the second-toughest schedule in football based on 2017 team records. Tampa Bay, who will be without QB Jameis Winston for the first four games of the regular season, has the fourth toughest road.

The Panthers and Falcons have equally tough schedules, ranking No. 12 and 13 respectively. A key reason the win total of nine provides great value is that the Falcons could finish at 9-7 and push (earning you your money back). It’s hard to imagine a world where Atlanta finishes with just eight wins unless a key player suffers a major injury.

Over: Denver – 7

Denver seems like an even better bet than the Falcons for a couple reasons. To start, their status as an overachiever was diminished by the fact they greatly underachieved last season. Without 2017 in the 10-year data set, they would have been among the top three overachieving teams in all of football.

Why did they underachieve last year? The simple answer is quarterback play. This offseason,
they acquired Case Keenum, who helped lead the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game last
year. He is not an All-Pro, but he is a significant upgrade over Brock Osweiler/Trevor Siemian at the most important position in sports.

Denver has a defense strong enough to keep them in most games and now they have a gunslinger
who can help them win a few close games they didn’t a season ago.

Add to that the fact the Chiefs will be playing with a rookie quarterback in Patrick Mahomes and
the Raiders will be adjusting to life under new head coach Jon Gruden, and there’s reason to
believe the Broncos may reign supreme in the AFC West once again. The one team standing in their way is Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Speaking of them…

Under: Chargers – 9.5

Oddsmakers love the Chargers this season. They have the Chargers at a 9.5 win projection, which seems high, especially given their 10-year trend of underachieving relative to their win projections.

The Chargers haven’t won more than nine games since 2009 when they won the AFC West with 13 victories. However, they’ve won exactly nine games four times in that span, including last year.
The Chargers were one of the hottest teams in football to end the season, but we’ve seen this
from them before. They’re a team that starts incredibly slow and finishes strong. With an
improved Broncos team in the division, it’s just hard to bank on L.A. winning 10 games this year.

Under: Giants – 7

Finally, there are the Giants, the perennial beneficiaries of East Coast bias. Somehow, this team
that went 3-13 and didn’t significantly improve, is projected at seven wins. Yes, they added
Saquon Barkley to their backfield and Odell Beckham will be back from injury, but Eli Manning struggled mightily last year so Barkley could face a lot of eight-man fronts. Remember when that happened to Todd Gurley in his sophomore NFL campaign? He really struggled.

In a division that generally feasts on itself and, at times, has featured four teams in the 6-9 win
range, the Giants seem to be the worst team of the four. They also have the eighth hardest
schedule in football and it really is hard to see them going at least 8-8 to win you an overbet.
Just like the Falcons are good value, because they can earn you your money back with a 9-7 season, the Giants are good value because they can overachieve at 7-9 and you would still only
push. If they play anything below that level, which is very possible, then you’re in the green.

NFL Defensive Player of the Year Odds

JJ Watt                         5/1

Joey Bosa                    11/2

Aaron Donald                11/2

Khalil Mack                   11/2

Von Miller                     9/1

Jalen Ramsey               14/1

Luke Kuechley               22/1

Cameron Jordan            22/1

DeMarcus Lawrence      22/1

Chandler Jones             30/1

Calais Campbell            33/1

Fletcher Cox                 33/1

Myles Garrett                33/1

Harrison Smith              33/1

Bobby Wagner              35/1

Tyrann Mathieu              40/1

Xavier Rhodes              40/1

Bradley Chubb              50/1

Jadaveon Clowney        50/1

Myles Jack                   50/1

Marshon Lattimore         50/1

CJ Mosley                    60/1

Deion Jones                 66/1

Eric Berry                      75/1

Everson Griffen             75/1

Malik Hooker                 75/1

Telvin Smith                  75/1

Marcus Peters               75/1

Stephon Tuitt                80/1

Kwon Alexander            85/1

Roquan Smith               85/1

Keanu Neaul                  90/1

Other players available on request

Data provided by Bovada

Notes: Two of the top four players still do not have contracts. (Aaron Donald, Rams; Khalil Mack, Raiders)

Jalen Ramsey is the only secondary player with odds better than 33/1 where safeties Harrison Smith and Bobby Wagner sit. 

Five Players With Favorable Preseason Awards Odds

So we’ve got you prepared to bet on the preseason, but that’s still a couple weeks away and you’re growing impatient. All good, you can still throw some money down on NFL action right now, but even if you’re successful you won’t get paid out for those bets until the new year.

Futures odds are available all over the internet to those who think they know how certain teams and/or players will fare in 2018. Last week, we combed through those numbers to identify five particularly enticing teams that might be worth gambling on this summer. This week, we’re looking at player awards odds.

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (+3300 to win MVP)

Merely reaching his prime at the age of 30, Stafford has played the best football of his career in the post-Calvin Johnson era. Now he’s about the same age as Matt Ryan was in Ryan’s MVP season in 2016, and Stafford is coming off the highest-rated campaign of his nine-year career.

That makes him a hell of an intriguing bet at +3300, odds that are lower than 15 other NFL quarterbacks including Jimmy Garoppolo (who has started seven NFL games), Deshaun Watson (who has started six and is coming off a torn ACL) and Andrew Luck (coming off a lost season due to a major shoulder injury).

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (+4000 to win MVP)

It’s a little silly that 17 quarterbacks have better MVP odds than the reigning offensive player of the year.

Gurley’s odds were never going to be high because he’s not a quarterback and quarterbacks have won MVP in 10 of the last 11 seasons. But the only non-quarterbacks to win the award this century were Shaun Alexander, LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson, all of whom — you guessed it — played running back.

And Gurley is undoubtedly the most MVP-worthy back in the league entering 2018. He’s coming off a year in which he won offensive player of the year at the age of 23, and in that stacked Rams offense he could be in a position to build on a 2,093-scrimmage-yard, 19-touchdown campaign.

Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky (+9000 to win MVP)

Obviously Trubisky is extremely unlikely to win MVP in his second season, but the 2017 No. 2 overall pick could certainly be in a position to break out with a Jared Goff-like 2018 campaign. He’s surrounded by new weapons and should benefit greatly from new head coach Matt Nagy, and there were signs he was coming around late in his quiet rookie campaign.

Considering that Jameis Winston is at +5000, Patrick Mahomes is at +5500 and Blake freakin’ Bortles is at +6600, +9000 for Trubisky is worth at least a throwaway bet this summer.

Denver Broncos RB Royce Freeman (+1800 to win offensive rookie of the year)

Running backs have actually won three of the last five offensive rookie of the year awards, and it never hurts to look beyond first-round picks in this case. Neither 2013 winner Eddie Lacy nor 2017 winner Alvin Kamara were top-60 draft picks, and 2017 runner-up Kareem Hunt was a third-round selection.

Freeman could be this year’s Kamara or Hunt. The third-rounder out of Oregon is ready to make a huge impact after serving as a four-year starter in the Pac-12, where he went over 1,300 yards on three occasions and averaged 5.9 yards per carry. He’s got the frame, the strength and the résumé, and the team’s decision to release C.J. Anderson in April indicates Freeman will have a shot at playing a substantial role right away.

Nine rookies have better OROY odds than he does.

New Orleans Saints DE Marcus Davenport (+1000 to win defensive rookie of the year)

It’s fair to wonder if Davenport is a bit of a raw project after recording a mere 8.5 sacks as a senior at Texas-San Antonio, which is why his defensive rookie of the year odds are lower than six first-year players including lower picks Tremaine Edmunds and Derwin James.

But the Saints performed magic in last year’s draft, which resulted in them becoming the first team in half a century to possess both the offensive and defensive player of the year. And they obviously believe Davenport can do big things right off the bat because they sacrificed two first-round picks for the guy.

Saints head coach Sean Payton has stated that he feels the 21-year-old can help the team “right now,” which could give him a chance to compile enough sacks opposite Cameron Jordan to make a strong run at DROY.