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There are a number of ways to approach a win totals bet, but my style is focused on two core concepts: I am looking to bet unders on teams that I expect will fire their coach (ideally, in season) and I’m looking to bet overs on teams whose coach I view as a contender for the Coach of the Year award. There can be times where it makes sense to bet on a reliable team with a high win total or an under on a team you view as overvalued, but my preference is making my total bets on teams that I think can potentially cash around Thanksgiving.

I make the overwhelming majority of those bets within a week of the schedule release in May, although I will make some moves earlier than that. I start that process by analyzing every team before the draft, so I have an idea of who I am considering and who I’m going to pass on. This article dives into all 32 NFL teams, their win totals, and a variety of their team futures. After the schedule release in May, I will write another column just on the teams that I’m considering betting on. Keep in mind that there are 17 games this year and seven playoff teams in each conference, so a total of nine this year is not the same as it would have been previously.

So there is no confusion, all of these figures come from DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, as they have already listed a wide array of team futures. The order of these teams in both the chart and the writeups is first based on win total amount in descending order and then ordered alphabetically for teams with the same win total.

 

Team Win Total Division Conference  Super Bowl
Primary Contenders
Chiefs 12 -400 +250 +500
Buccaneers 11.5 -167 +350 +750
Ravens 11 +110 +625 +1300
Bills 10.5 -150 +550 +1400
49ers 10.5 +200 +700 +1600
Packers 10.5 -250 +500 +1100
Rams 10.5 +180 +650 +1400
Second-Tier Contenders
Team Win Total Division Conference  Super Bowl
Colts 10 +100 +1200 +2500
Browns 9.5 +175 +900 +2000
Cowboys 9.5 +110 +1300 +2800
Seahawks 9.5 +275 +1300 +2800
Titans 9.5 +125 +1600 +3300
Chargers 9 +450 +1600 +3300
Dolphins 9 +325 +1300 +2800
Patriots 9 +350 +1400 +2800
Saints 9 +260 +1300 +2800
Fringe Contenders
Team Win Total Division Conference  Super Bowl
Steelers 8.5 +350 +1600 +3300
Vikings 8.5 +350 +2200 +5000
Cardinals 8 +600 +1800 +4000
Washington 8 +260 +2200 +5000
Broncos 7.5 +1500 +2800 +6000
Panthers 7.5 +800 +2500 +6000
Raiders 7.5 +1500 +2800 +6000
Bears 7 +650 +2500 +5000
Falcons 7 +1000 +2500 +6000
Giants 7 +450 +3000 +6600
Longshots
Team Win Total Division Conference  Super Bowl
Bengals 6.5 +2500 +3300 +8000
Eagles 6.5 +500 +3300 +7000
Jaguars 6.5 +800 +3000 +7000
Jets 6.5 +2000 +3300 +8000
Lions 5 +2800 +6600 +150000
Texans 4.5 +2000 +6600 +150000

 

 

Title Contenders

Kansas City Chiefs (14-2, 1st AFC West)
Win Total: 12 (Over -110, Under -110)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (-1000) No (+625)
Super Bowl Odds: +500
Coach’s Job Security: Completely secure
Home Opponents: Broncos, Chargers, Raiders, Browns, Steelers, Cowboys, Giants, Bills
Road Opponents: Broncos, Chargers, Raiders, Bengals, Ravens, Eagles, Washington, Titans
Extra Opponent: vs Packers

One of my longstanding football philosophies is that you can game plan around having one bad offensive tackle, but it is very hard to play consistent offense when you have two liabilities protecting the edge. The Chiefs’ interior offensive line was upgraded this offseason, but losing both Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz could be problematic if Kansas City doesn’t bring in something more than Mike Remmers at offensive tackle before the season starts. Regardless of all of that, I can realistically get to 12 wins by thumbing through the Chiefs’ schedule. Even with the edge protection concerns, that were on full display during last year’s Super Bowl, there’s no reason to bet against the Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes combo with 31 other totals options to consider.

Stance: Bet the Chiefs over or pass, I will likely pass.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5, 2nd NFC South)
Win Total: 11.5 (Over -125, Under +103)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (-670) No (+450)
Super Bowl Odds: +750
Coach’s Job Security: Completely secure
Home Opponents: Falcons, Panthers, Saints, Cowboys, Giants, Bills, Dolphins, Bears
Road Opponents: Falcons, Panthers, Saints, Eagles, Washington, Jets, Patriots, Rams
Extra Opponent: at Colts

The defending champion Buccaneers have done an outstanding job of keeping their title team intact, as late-season addition Antonio Brown is Tampa Bay’s most notable departure. We don’t have to get too cute here: Betting on the Buccaneers over is reasonable as Tampa Bay is a reliable, talented team that isn’t reliant on winning games in one specific way. If you’re going to bet on a team to beat a high win total, those are some of the conditions you’re looking for.

Stance: Bet the over or pass, I will likely pass.

 

Baltimore Ravens (11-5, 2nd AFC North)
Win Total: 11 (Over -125, Under +103)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (-400) No (+300)
Super Bowl Odds: +1300
Coach’s Job Security: Completely secure
Home Opponents: Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Chargers, Chiefs, Packers, Vikings, Colts
Road Opponents: Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Broncos, Raiders, Bears, Lions, Dolphins
Extra Opponent: vs Rams

A bet on the Ravens over is a bet on a reliable, well-coached team with a very strong corner group, a good run defense, a solid offensive line, and Lamar Jackson carrying an offense with some promising young play makers that have not yet reached their potential. Baltimore has some schedule luck as they catch their toughest non-divisional opponents at home, but betting on a team like this to exceed a high win total of 11 is exactly the sort of wager I avoid making. If I wanted to bet on the Ravens over, I’d rather bet on Lamar to win his second MVP at roughly 16:1 odds, as he will likely be in contention for the award if the Ravens get to 12 wins.

Stance: Slight lean on the over, definitely will pass on the total.

 

Buffalo Bills (13-3, 1st AFC East)
Win Total: 10.5 (Over -139, Under +115)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (-305) No (+235)
Super Bowl Odds: +1400
Coach’s Job Security: Completely secure
Home Opponents: Dolphins, Jets, Patriots, Colts, Texans, Falcons, Panthers, Steelers
Road Opponents: Dolphins, Jets, Patriots, Jaguars, Titans, Buccaneers, Saints, Chiefs
Extra Opponent: vs Washington

Buffalo has built a great roster and Sean McDermott’s football operation is truly set up for perennial success for the relative future. I’m surprised that Buffalo’s win total is only 10.5 with a 17-game season and a pretty manageable schedule for the 2021 campaign. Apparently, I’m not the only one with this stance, as the juice on the over has already risen to -139 within the past few weeks.

Stance: Over, will look for better options given the already high juice on the over.

 

San Francisco 49ers (6-10, 4th AFC West)
Win Total: 10.5 (Over +123, Under -150)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (-155) No (+127)
Super Bowl Odds: +1600
Coach’s Job Security: Secure
Home Opponents: Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks, Packers, Vikings, Colts, Texans, Falcons
Road Opponents: Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks, Bears, Lions, Jaguars Titans, Eagles
Extra Opponent: at Bengals

The 49ers are a truly interesting team as they benefit from one of the most innovative offensive minds in the sport in Kyle Shanahan, with a truly fascinating skill group, and a strong offensive line that likely got better with the addition of veteran center Alex Mack. San Francisco lost some talent at cornerback this offseason, but they should still have a high-end front if everyone stays healthy. The 49ers are also going to draft a quarterback with the third overall pick, which means that we can’t confidently predict how many games Jimmy Garoppolo is going to play this year before the rookie takes over. It could be all of them, as his coach has implied. Ultimately, the 49ers are a well-built team that will likely have better injury luck this season, but they are the only team in the best division in football that doesn’t have the quarterback position completely solved for this season. That alone makes me want to stay away from a high win total like 10.5, even though I view the 49ers as one of the more intriguing teams entering this season.

Stance: Slight lean on the over, will definitely pass.

 

Green Bay Packers (13-3, 1st NFC North)
Win Total: 10.5 (Over -143, Under +118)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (-670) No (+450)
Super Bowl Odds: +1100
Coach’s Job Security: Completely secure
Home Opponents: Bears, Lions, Vikings, Rams, Seahawks, Browns, Steelers, Washington
Road Opponents: Bears, Lions, Vikings, Cardinals, 49ers, Bengals, Ravens, Saints
Extra Opponent: at Chiefs

Over the last decade I feel bad just looking at what Packers team builders have surrounded Aaron Rodgers with on offense; I couldn’t imagine actually being responsible for it. The Packers’ defense is solid, but for the second year in a row Green Bay’s offensive roster actually got worse as they once again lost a high-level offensive lineman (center Corey Linsley) to free agency while providing reigning MVP Rodgers with nothing that will make the last years of his career easier. I bring all of this up because Rodgers has carried Green Bay for most of his career, usually only losing to teams that have much better rosters than his. That matters this year because the Packers draw the two best divisions in football (NFC West and AFC North) plus Washington, a trip to New Orleans, and a trip to Kansas City as their uncommon opponents. Green Bay is going to have to go undefeated within their division or knock off a number of teams with better rosters than theirs to comfortably beat their 10.5 win total this year.

Stance: Very slight lean on the under, will definitely pass.

 

Los Angeles Rams (10-6, 2nd NFC West)
Win Total: 10.5 (Over +123, Under -150)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (-182) No (+149)
Super Bowl Odds: +1400
Coach’s Job Security: Completely secure
Home Opponents: Cardinals, 49ers, Seahawks, Bears, Lions, Jaguars, Titans, Buccaneers
Road Opponents: Cardinals, 49ers, Seahawks, Packers, Vikings, Colts, Texans, Giants
Extra Opponent: at Ravens

I’m a Matthew Stafford guy and Sean McVay has some really strong team-specific game plans, but Stafford isn’t exactly inheriting a loaded offense in Los Angeles. As I mentioned in my awards column, Stafford may have actually had more talent around him on offense in Detroit last season. Building a defense around the league’s best pass rusher in Aaron Donald and the best corner in Jalen Ramsey will give the Rams a high-performing defense as long as those two players are healthy. If one of them misses time, the Rams’ defense is going to be noticeably less effective the following week. That’s among the reasons why if I was going to bet on the Rams: I’d rather bet on them doing well in the playoffs rather than dominating the regular season.

Stance: Very slight lean on the under, will definitely pass.

 

Second-Tier Contenders

Indianapolis Colts (11-5, 2nd AFC South)
Win Total: 10 (Over +110, Under -134)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (-225) No (+180)
Super Bowl Odds: +2500
Coach’s Job Security: Secure
Home Opponents: Jaguars, Texans, Titans, Jets, Patriots, Rams, Seahawks
Road Opponents: Jaguars, Texans, Titans, Bills, Dolphins, Cardinals, 49ers, Ravens
Extra Opponent: vs Buccaneers

I think Carson Wentz has a shot of returning to form under Frank Reich, so my stance on the Colts has nothing to do with their acquisition of a new quarterback. It’s about Indianapolis losing their reliable left tackle Anthony Castonzo and five relevant players on defense this offseason. Outside their six division games, there are not a whole lot of gimmies on the schedule, either.

Stance: Fringe under consideration.

 

Cleveland Browns (11-5, 3rd AFC North)
Win Total: 9.5
Make the Playoffs: Yes (-177) No (+144)
Super Bowl Odds: +2000
Coach’s Job Security: Secure
Home Opponents: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers, Broncos, Raiders, Bears, Lions, Texans
Road Opponents: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers, Chargers, Chiefs, Packers, Vikings, Patriots
Extra Opponent: vs Cardinals

Reliability matters in football, and the Browns suddenly have that in their coaching staff, at quarterback, in their offensive line, and in their edge rush. Cleveland also has a capable receiver trio, the deepest tight end group in football, and their secondary should be better. Cleveland couldn’t have really drawn a more manageable group of home opponents, though their road schedule is absolutely brutal. Apart from injuries, the difficult schedule is the clearest path to the Browns falling below their 9.5 win total. With that said, I’m going to view Cleveland as a team where I will either bet the over or pass.

Stance: Over, will probably pass due to their schedule.

 

Dallas Cowboys (6-10, 3rd NFC East)
Win Total: 9.5 (Over +110, Under -134)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (-167) No (+137)
Super Bowl Odds: +2800
Coach’s Job Security: Moderate, and only that high due to potential contract liability
Home Opponents: Eagles, Giants, Washington, Falcons, Panthers, Broncos, Raiders, Cardinals
Road Opponents: Eagles, Giants, Washington, Buccaneers, Saints, Chargers, Chiefs, Vikings
Extra Opponent: at Patriots

Dallas is a high-interest team and thus their win total is usually a little higher than I think it should be. With that said, as long as the offensive line can stay healthy and Dak Prescott can be himself after his brutal ankle injury, Dallas should have one of the best offenses in football. In fact, their schedule is filled with potential shootouts. On the downside, the Cowboys’ list of road opponents is pretty brutal, their defense has underachieved for years, and I would not want Mike McCarthy to be in charge of my favorite team. For Dallas to exceed expectations, their path is similar to that of the 2016 Falcons, who were essentially a high-performing offense in both phases whose defense (that also had a handful of truly talented players similar to Dallas) played up for most of that season.

Stance: Undecided until the draft, which means I’ll pass.

 

Seattle Seahawks (12-4, 1st NFC West)
Win Total: 9.5 (Over -134, Under +110)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (-110) No (-110)
Super Bowl Odds: +2800
Coach’s Job Security: Secure, at least for now
Home Opponents: Cardinals, 49ers, Rams, Bears, Lions, Jaguars, Titans, Saints
Road Opponents: Cardinals, 49ers, Rams, Packers, Vikings, Colts, Texans, Washington
Extra Opponent: at Steelers

So, Russell Wilson has beat 9.5 wins in every year of his career except one, and he had nine wins that season. Seattle’s offensive line is better with the addition of former Raiders guard Gabe Jackson and just like last year this is the best pass-catching group that Wilson has ever had. Defensively, Seattle finished quite strong but that’s not something that I want to bank on going forward. Normally, I’m looking to bet on overs that I think can blow their win total away, but betting on Seattle to beat 9.5 wins in a 17-game season is a solid process play and that’s why the juice is on the rise on the over.

Stance: Over, might consider taking the yes to make the playoffs bet as an alternative to taking the over.

 

Tennessee Titans (11-5, 1st AFC South)
Win Total: 9.5 (Over +123, Under -150)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (-150) No (+123)
Super Bowl Odds: +3300
Coach’s Job Security: Secure
Home Opponents: Colts, Jaguars, Texans, Bills, Dolphins, Cardinals, 49ers, Chiefs
Road Opponents: Colts, Jaguars, Texans, Jets, Patriots, Rams, Seahawks, Steelers
Extra Opponent: vs Saints

The Titans lost their offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and they have had tremendous roster turnover this offseason. Those factors, coupled with the Titans’ difficult out-of-division schedule, have me leaning under.

Stance: Lean on the under, will likely pass, especially considering the juice.

 

Los Angeles Chargers (7-9, 2nd AFC West)
Win Total: 9 (Over -107, Under -114)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+149) No (-182)
Super Bowl Odds: +3300
Coach’s Job Security: It takes a lot for first-year head coaches to get fired
Home Opponents: Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, Browns, Steelers, Cowboys, Giants, Patriots
Road Opponents: Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, Bengals, Ravens, Eagles, Washington, Texans
Extra Opponent: vs Vikings

The hiring of former Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley didn’t blow the doors off for me, but the forced departure of Anthony Lynn is addition by subtraction. Aside from that, it is clear that the Chargers bled talent this offseason, especially on defense. That says to me in order for the Chargers to go 10-7 or better, we are expecting Justin Herbert to improve upon his historic rookie campaign of a season ago, while learning former Saints QB coach and new Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi’s system. To be clear, I’m not knocking Herbert at all; this just isn’t the sort of situation I’m looking to bet on as I expect the Chargers’ record to land close to their implied win total of 9.

Stance: Lean under, likely pass.

 

Miami Dolphins (10-6, 2nd AFC East)
Win Total: 9 (Over -121, Under +100)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+130) No (-162)
Super Bowl Odds: +2800
Coach’s Job Security: Secure
Home Opponents: Bills, Jets, Patriots, Colts, Texans, Falcons, Panthers, Ravens
Road Opponents: Bills, Jets, Patriots, Jaguars, Titans, Buccaneers, Saints, Raiders
Extra Opponent: vs Giants

I’m not done with Tua Tagovailoa by any stretch and the addition of Will Fuller was intriguing given Tua’s deep ball accuracy in college. With that said, a lot of Tua’s struggles last year were offensive line related and nothing has really been done to improve that situation. This is the case for most young, high profile quarterbacks that struggle early. So, I’m a believer in Tua, head coach Brian Flores and Miami’s defense long term. But do I really want to bet on a struggling young quarterback behind a bad offensive line in his second season with a nine-game win total? That’s not the sort of thing I put my money behind.

Stance: Slight lean on under, might change that based on the draft.

 

New England Patriots (7-9, 3rd AFC East)
Win Total: 9 (Over -143, Under +118)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+132) No (-162)
Super Bowl Odds: +2800
Coach’s Job Security: Completely secure
Home Opponents: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Jaguars, Titans, Buccaneers, Saints, Browns
Road Opponents: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Colts, Texans, Falcons, Panthers, Chargers
Extra Opponent: vs Cowboys

New England invested a lot into improving their pass-catching group, made some significant changes to their offensive line, and will gain a number of relevant defensive players this offseason. In other words, they got better. Cam Newton struggled, sometimes mightily, after returning from his Covid diagnosis last year, so I can certainly understand why anyone would be hesitant on being optimistic about New England this coming season given their current quarterback situation. For me, New England is going to be an unconventional, even uncomfortable matchup for most teams, while having a consistent strategic advantage against most opponents and I can get to 10 wins on their schedule. I sincerely look forward to the chess match between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

Stance: Over, will likely pass due to quarterback uncertainty.

 

New Orleans Saints (12-4, 1st NFC South)
Win Total: 9 (Over -110, Under -110)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (-115) No (-106)
Super Bowl Odds: +2800
Coach’s Job Security: Completely secure
Home Opponents: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Cowboys, Giants, Bills, Dolphins, Packers
Road Opponents: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Eagles, Washington, Jets, Patriots, Seahawks
Extra Opponent: at Titans

The success that Sean Payton had with average Teddy Bridgewater in 2019 and Taysom Hill last year was impressive to say the least. That’s relevant this year as the Saints transition from the recently retired Drew Brees into some combination of Hill and Jameis Winston at quarterback. It was obvious that Brees was no longer his best self last season, so there is a realistic path to the Saints’ offense actually being better in some ways this year despite the retirement of the best player in franchise history. With that said, New Orleans lost a lot of starters this offseason, particularly on defense, with no meaningful additions to this point. Oddly, the Saints’ defense is more concerning to me than the offense, to the point it wouldn’t surprise me if New Orleans returned to being a strong game total partner this season if Winston can outright win the job.

Stance: Very slight lean on the under, will pass.

 

Fringe Contenders

Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4, 1st AFC North)
Win Total: 8.5 (Over -121, Under +100)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+137) No (-167)
Super Bowl Odds: +3300
Coach’s Job Security: Secure, at least for now
Home Opponents: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Broncos, Raiders, Bears, Lions, Titans
Road Opponents: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Chargers, Chiefs, Packers, Vikings, Bills
Extra Opponent: vs Seahawks

The Steelers collapsed down the stretch last year, and future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did not look like himself for most of the year. Unless the Steelers spend significant draft capital on offensive linemen, Pittsburgh will enter this season with their least reliable offensive line in years. The defense should still be good, but the offense has a wide range of outcomes. Still, the Steelers have a pretty manageable list of home opponents and they should at least be close to their 8.5 win total by season’s end.

Stance: Slight lean on the under, might change that if the Steelers draft offensive line help.

 

Minnesota Vikings (7-9, 3rd NFC North)
Win Total: 8.5 (Over -143, Under +118)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+220) No (-278)
Super Bowl Odds: +5000
Coach’s Job Security: Moderate
Home Opponents: Bears, Lions, Packers, Rams, Seahawks, Browns, Steelers, Cowboys
Road Opponents: Bears, Lions, Packers, Cardinals, 49ers, Bengals, Ravens, Panthers
Extra Opponent: at Chargers

The Vikings’ offense has talent, but it can be completely derailed by a real pass rush due to Minnesota’s average-at-best offensive line. Their defense is better than it was a season ago, but it’s still not what it was when it was among the best units in the league several years ago. Drawing the NFC West and the AFC North is going to be brutal for everyone in the division, while Minnesota’s uncommon opponents each represent relative coin-flip games. When I go through the schedule, I land at roughly eight wins, which makes Minnesota a stay away for me.

Stance: Slight lean on the under, will pass.

 

Arizona Cardinals (8-8, 3rd NFC West)
Win Total: 8 (Over -110, Under -110)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+200) No (-250)
Super Bowl Odds: +4000
Coach’s Job Security: Moderate
Home Opponents: 49ers, Rams, Seahawks, Packers, Vikings, Colts, Texans, Panthers
Road Opponents: 49ers, Rams, Seahawks, Bears, Lions, Jaguars, Titans, Cowboys
Extra Opponent: at Browns

Kyler Murray is a unique talent that is capable of carrying an offense. While the acquisition of center Rodney Hudson is a legitimate upgrade, and bringing in J.J. Watt could certainly be difference making in a best-case scenario, ultimately a bet on Arizona is a bet on Murray playing at an MVP-caliber level.

Stance: Slight lean on the over, will pass.

 

Washington (7-9, 1st NFC East)
Win Total: 8 (Over -134, Under +110)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+163) No (-200)
Super Bowl Odds: +5000
Coach’s Job Security: Strong
Home Opponents: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Buccaneers, Saints, Chargers, Chiefs, Seahawks
Road Opponents: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Falcons, Panthers, Broncos, Raiders, Packers
Extra Opponent: at Bills

Washington is a fascinating team heading into opening day. For starters, Washington has an elite front four that is made up of four former first-round picks that are all still on their rookie deal, which means there is a realistic chance than any, if not all of them, could still improve. Washington’s secondary is better, as is their pass-catching group, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is an upgrade over the quarterback carousel that Washington won the NFC East with last season. Something that I’ll have my eye on heading into the draft is that the right side of Washington’s offensive line is strong, but being able to acquire a left tackle upgrade with the 19th overall pick could be a true difference-making event. Washington faces all four teams that squared off in the NFC and AFC Championship games a season ago, plus Russell Wilson, but the rest of their schedule is manageable. Ultimately if Fitzpatrick plays well, this Washington team can potentially hang with anyone and they are not reliant on winning games in one specific way.

Stance: Over consideration

 

Denver Broncos (5-11, 4th AFC West)
Win Total: 7.5 (Over +100, Under -121)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+285) No (-375)
Super Bowl Odds: +6000
Coach’s Job Security: Another down year could lead to a regime change
Home Opponents: Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders, Bengals, Ravens, Eagles, Washington, Jets
Road Opponents: Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders, Browns, Steelers, Cowboys, Giants, Jaguars
Extra Opponent: vs Lions

I expect that Denver’s over will be among my win total considerations after the full schedule release in May. Their defense will be well-coached and could be substantially better this year both due to the return of their injured pass rush (Von Miller/Bradley Chubb) as well as the additions of cornerbacks Ronald Darby and especially Kyle Fuller. If Denver drafts linebacker Micah Parsons with the ninth overall pick, I’ll be very high on the Denver defense which, in some ways, would then have some true commonalities with Vic Fangio’s dominant Bears defense of 2018. Their schedule also presents advantages, with two games against the Raiders as well as contests against the Bengals, Jets, Jaguars, and Lions while playing the NFC East out of conference.

The concerns for Denver primarily rest on their offense, particularly with inconsistent quarterback Drew Lock. Denver’s offensive line is roughly average, but offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has gotten great years out of inconsistent quarterbacks in the past (see Case Keenum in Minnesota and Nick Foles during his first stint as an Eagle) and Denver truly has a young, dynamic group of pass catchers. I’m going to at least wait until I see who Denver drafts in the first two rounds, but they have been on my radar for months.

Stance: Over consideration, though I’m going to at least wait for the draft.

 

Carolina Panthers (5-11, 3rd NFC South)
Win Total: 7.5 (Over -106, Under -115)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+225) No (-286)
Super Bowl Odds: +6000
Coach’s Job Security: Solid, partially due to contract
Home Opponents: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints, Eagles Washington, Jets, Patriots, Vikings
Road Opponents: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints, Cowboys Giants, Bills, Dolphins, Arizona
Extra Opponent: at Texans

I liked the Sam Darnold trade, as there is at least a chance for him to still develop into a franchise quarterback. My concern with Darnold isn’t talent; it’s that being surrounded by a terrible roster while being exposed to someone like Adam Gase since the first day of his NFL career is the kind of recipe that historically ruins promising young quarterbacks. With that in mind, the Panthers have a strong skill group to help support Darnold, a new age play caller in offensive coordinator Joe Brady and they added a few interesting pieces to a Panthers defense that could use a talent infusion. Overall, I will wait to see what the Panthers do in the draft before making any final decision, but I view Carolina as an under consideration that has a chance to lose seven or more road games.

Stance: Under consideration

 

Las Vegas Raiders (8-8, 2nd AFC West)
Win Total: 7.5 (Over -110, Under -110)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+275) No (-360)
Super Bowl Odds: +6000
Coach’s Job Security: Safe, largely due to Jon Gruden’s contract
Home Opponents: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Bengals, Ravens, Eagles, Washington, Dolphins
Road Opponents: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Browns, Steelers, Cowboys, Giants, Colts
Extra Opponent: vs Bears

On one hand, Derek Carr is coming off his best season and Darren Waller has become a premium pass catcher as a Raider after being cut by the Ravens. Jon Gruden deserves at least some credit for getting the most out of both of these guys and I’d argue that the Raiders actually overachieved last year considering their mediocre roster. On the other hand, this Raiders offseason has been filled with truly bizarre decisions. Electing to break up one of the strengths of the team by parting with three starting offensive linemen is among the most ill-advised offseason decisions that I’ve ever seen. Ditto for paying Kenyan Drake two years after spending a first-round pick on Josh Jacobs. As such, I don’t view a single game on the Raiders’ schedule as a slam dunk win. So, they will be among my under considerations.

Stance: Under consideration.

 

Chicago Bears (8-8, 2nd NFC North)
Win Total: 7 (Over -110, Under -110)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+220) No (-278)
Super Bowl Odds: +5000
Coach’s Job Security: A down year could lead to a regime change
Home Opponents: Lions, Packers, Vikings, Cardinals, 49ers, Bengals, Ravens, Giants
Road Opponents: Lions, Packers, Vikings, Rams, Seahawks, Browns, Steelers, Buccaneers
Extra Opponent: at Raiders

Despite losing cornerback Kyle Fuller, the Bears still have one of the more talented defenses in the NFL. The offense really doesn’t change very much with the addition of Andy Dalton, who might actually be a slight upgrade. That means that the Bears continue to be what they are: an uncomfortable matchup for many teams that generally has to win behind their defense. I tend to have success betting on the Bears in certain matchups, but I have not even considered their win total since 2018.

Stance: Push, will definitely pass.

 

Atlanta Falcons (4-12, 4th AFC South)
Win Total: 7 (Over -143, Under +118)
Make the Playoffs Odds: Yes (+300) No (-400)
Super Bowl Odds: +6000
Coach’s Job Security: It takes a lot for first-year head coaches to get fired
Home Opponents: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints, Eagles Washington, Jets, Patriots, Lions
Road Opponents: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints, Cowboys, Giants, Bills, Dolphins, 49ers
Extra Opponent: at Jaguars

If Atlanta is going to exceed expectations this year, it’s going to be built on Matt Ryan’s talented passing offense succeeding in new Falcons honcho Arthur Smith’s offense. Considering how Ryan Tannehill’s career completely changed under Smith the past two seasons in Tennessee, there is real reason for optimism regarding the Falcons’ passing attack.

That said, the Falcons’ offensive line comes with some concerns, their defense is filled with holes, and there is at least some chance that Atlanta takes their future at quarterback with the fourth overall pick next week. All of those factors make Atlanta volatile, which is why I’d prefer to bet on Ryan to win the MVP at very long odds if I was considering the over here. While I’d advise waiting to see if the Falcons draft a quarterback next week first, if Atlanta is going to exceed eight wins it’s going to be built on Ryan leading an elite passing offense.

Stance: Slight lean on the over, will likely pass on a Falcons totals bet.

 

New York Giants (6-10, 2nd NFC East)
Win Total: 7 (Over -110, Under -110)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+260) No (-335)
Super Bowl Odds: +6600
Coach’s Job Security: Strong
Home Opponents: Cowboys, Eagles, Washington, Falcons, Panthers, Broncos, Raiders, Rams
Road Opponents: Cowboys, Eagles, Washington, Buccaneers, Saints, Chargers, Chiefs, Bears
Extra Opponent: at Miami

The Giants got better this offseason, plain and simple. Not only does the acquisition of Kenny Golladay give the Giants a real primary receiver, but it allows the rest of their pass catchers to slide into more complimentary roles that they are better suited to fill. While the improved pass-catching group and the return of Saquon Barkley are reasons to be optimistic, Big Blue’s 2021 campaign ultimately boils down to struggling third-year quarterback Daniel Jones significantly improving behind a still questionable offensive line, while the clapping symbol of strategic mediocrity Jason Garett calls plays. I was actually leaning towards an over stance for the Giants until I dug into the schedule, as their road opponents are absolutely brutal.

Stance: Push, will pass.

 

Longshots

Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1, 4th AFC North)
Win Total: 6.5 (Over -110, Under -110)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+400) No (-560)
Super Bowl Odds: +8000
Coach’s Job Security: Another down year could lead to a regime change
Home Opponents: Browns, Ravens, Steelers, Chargers, Chiefs, Packers, Vikings, Jaguars
Road Opponents: Browns, Ravens, Steelers, Broncos, Raiders, Bears, Lions, Jets
Extra Opponent: vs 49ers

I feel for Zac Taylor here, as I’ve seen some strong opponent-specific game plans during his first two years in Cincinnati. But at the end of the day, he’s 6-25-1 to this point and this organization is going to have to decide this year if Taylor is the guy to bring Joe Burrow along or if they need to make a change now. The Bengals aren’t entirely devoid of talent, and Burrow has already shown that he’s a real NFL quarterback. But Cincinnati has the worst roster in the AFC North and could realistically go 0-6 in those division games. Hosting the Chiefs and the Packers is going to be a tall order as well. If the Bengals start off with a tough schedule, they could be in serious trouble.

Stance: Under consideration

 

Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1, 4th NFC East)
Win Total: 6.5 (Over -134, Under +110)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+275) No (-360)
Super Bowl Odds: +7000
Coach’s Job Security: It takes a lot for first-year head coaches to get fired
Home Opponents: Cowboys, Giants, Washington, Buccaneers, Saints, Chargers, Chiefs, 49ers
Road Opponents: Cowboys, Giants, Washington, Falcons, Panthers, Broncos, Raiders, Lions
Extra Opponent: at Jets

My current stance on the Eagles is not what I was expecting. If you believe in Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia’s roster really isn’t that bad. There is still a path to the Eagles being strong in the trenches on both sides of the ball and if Philadelphia hits on a first-round pass catcher in the draft, their skill position group could realistically be better than we expect. Same could be said about their pass defense if they are able to acquire a difference-making corner. But what’s most intriguing to me about the Eagles’ win total is their schedule, as games against the Lions and the Jets represent two massive advantages they have over their division mates.

Stance: Over consideration, may even consider a division or make the playoffs bet based on the schedule.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15, 4th AFC South)
Win Total: 6.5 (Over +100, Under -121)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+340) No (-455)
Super Bowl Odds: +7000
Coach’s Job Security: It takes a lot for first-year head coaches to get fired
Home Opponents: Colts, Texans, Titans, Bills, Dolphins, Cardinals, 49ers, Broncos
Road Opponents: Colts, Texans, Titans, Jets, Patriots, Rams, Seahawks, Bengals
Extra Opponent: vs Falcons

I strongly considered betting the Jaguars to win the AFC South at +1100 before free agency started, as the AFC South is wide open and I expected that number to come down (it has). First, Jacksonville was a scrappy bad team last year giving the Titans, Packers, Browns and Vikings close games while knocking off the Colts on opening day. Second, the Jaguars have a few good players on their offensive line, which puts likely first overall pick Trevor Lawrence in a better position than many top-of-the-draft signal callers. Third, the Jaguars have a solid skill group with three starting receivers that each have very different skill sets. Those two factors, paired with Lawrence being largely NFL ready, create a better than normal environment for a top-of-the-draft quarterback. Fourth, the Jaguars’ defense has a few high-upside young players as well as two quality veterans in linebacker Myles Jack and newly-acquired cornerback, Shaquill Griffin. While they aren’t a top-tier unit by any means, they at least have some tools to work with. I ultimately passed partially because Darrell Bevell is the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator and I have limited confidence in him as “Let Russ cook” is probably a phrase that never needs to be uttered if not for Bevell. Additionally, drawing the NFC West and the AFC East could easily result in six or more losses alone for a young team like the Jaguars.

Stance: Slight lean on over, will likely pass.

 

New York Jets (2-14, 4th AFC East)
Win Total: 6.5 (Over +123, Under -150)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+440) No (-625)
Super Bowl Odds: +8000
Coach’s Job Security: It takes a lot for first-year head coaches to get fired
Home Opponents: Bills, Dolphins, Patriots, Jaguars, Titans, Buccaneers, Saints, Jaguars
Road Opponents: Bills, Dolphins, Patriots, Colts, Texans, Falcons, Panthers, Broncos
Extra Opponent: vs Eagles

The Jets got better, particularly on defense. New York’s schedule is pretty manageable as well. But betting on a rookie quarterback leading a still-mediocre offense to five more wins than the Jets had a season is ago is an ambitious ask that I’d rather avoid.

Stance: Under, fringe consideration depending on the draft.

 

Detroit Lions (5-11, 4th NFC North)
Win Total: 5 (Over +100, Under -121)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+575) No (-910)
Super Bowl Odds: +150000
Coach’s Job Security: It takes a lot for first-year head coaches to get fired
Home Opponents: Bears, Packers, Vikings, Cardinals, 49ers, Bengals, Ravens, Eagles
Road Opponents: Bears, Packers, Vikings, Rams, Seahawks, Browns, Steelers, Falcons
Extra Opponent: at Broncos

Few, if any teams had more roster turnover than the Lions this offseason. That paired with a first-year head coach in Dan Campbell drawing the two best divisions in football on the schedule in the NFC West and AFC North is a recipe for a tough year. I’m not quite as low on Jared Goff as some are, as Goff is a guy that will be just fine if you build a high-end roster around him. But Goff will not enjoy a high-end roster in Detroit this year, and the Lions are at least in play for having the worst defense in the NFL. There is very little margin for error when a win total is this low, and some of them tend to be traps, but I’d still lean under here as finding five wins on the schedule is no easy ask.

Stance: Under consideration.

 

Houston Texans (4-12, 3rd AFC South)
Win Total: 4.5 (Over -110, Under -110)
Make the Playoffs: Yes (+550) No (-835)
Super Bowl Odds: +150000
Coach’s Job Security: It takes a lot for first-year head coaches to get fired, but this situation is a mess
Home Opponents: Colts, Jaguars, Titans, Jets, Patriots, Rams, Seahawks, Chargers
Road Opponents: Colts, Jaguars, Titans, Bills, Dolphins, Cardinals, 49ers, Browns
Extra Opponent: vs Panthers

The Texans’ situation is not a good situation ladies and gentlemen. The roster is truly bad and who knows how many games Deshaun Watson will be active for this year. There is a non-zero chance that he plays in none. Ultimately, if you want to bet on Watson missing the whole year, I wouldn’t go out of my way to talk you out of Tyrod Taylor not winning five games with this Houston team. If Watson plays all or most of the year, I wouldn’t mess with it at all.

Stance: Under, going to avoid the situation entirely though.