2019 NFL Win Total Betting Predictions
June 18, 2019
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New England Patriots: Despite the loss of Rob Gronkowski (which is hard to truly simulate), we have the Patriots as hitting the over on their win total again. This includes a simulation where we included Vegas estimates of how good these teams will be. Part of why the Patriots are always such a good bet to hit their overs is the weakness of their division and this year have the easiest schedule of any team in football. The team is without 40% of their 2018 targets on the 2019 roster but have been given a gift in terms of schedule. Line: 11 Pick: OVER
Kansas City Chiefs: The most powerful and efficient offense in football last season is bound to take a step back. That isn’t because Patrick Mahomes is a fraud or the roster is bad. The probability of returning another 5,000 yard, 50-touchdown season for Mahomes is simply too low to project it happening again. Kansas City also plays the leagues sixth-hardest schedule and will be without their two best defensive players from 2018. Mahomes could very well have another MVP season in a tough division and still, fall short of their total. Line: 10.5 Pick: UNDER
Los Angeles Rams: Sean McVay and his offensive scheme with heavy play action, condensed wide receivers and pre-snap motion have had an immense impact on the NFL. We will see countless teams try to replicate the Rams 2018 offense. However, the Rams have a few roster issues. Todd Gurley doesn’t appear to be healthy and Cooper Kupp might not be ready for the start of the season. They scored 55 touchdowns last season and while I have faith in McVay, a slight decrease in quality of roster could cost them their 2019 NFL Season Win total. Line: 10.5 Pick: SLIGHT UNDER
New Orleans Saints: This was a slight under that I was ready to agree with. As Drew Brees has aged, he hasn’t become less efficient but the Saints have transitioned to a more run-heavy offensive scheme. While it might keep Brees healthy, it isn’t great for putting more points on the board. Playing a run+defense style is fine for your average 8-8 team but in what might be the toughest division in football, the Saints will need to focus on airing it out to beat their 2019 NFL Season win total. Line: 10.5 Pick: SLIGHT UNDER
Chicago Bears: A lot of what powered the Bears last season was their defense and also a little flukey. The defense allowed a league-low 27 touchdowns which is one of the best marks of any defense this decade. While the defensive personnel remains strong, relying on your defense to win games is not the most optimal strategy in 2019. Mitch Trubisky was fine inside the confines of Matt Nagy’s system last year but as more of Nagy’s schemes get studied on film, the harder it will be for Trubisky to operate against a tougher schedule. Line: 9.5 Pick: UNDER
Cleveland Browns: This line was very hard for the computer simulations to understand. Odell Beckham and Todd Monken will add so much to this team on offense that it’s hard to compute. However, this is why the buildings are so nice in Vegas. There is certainly some irrational exuberance over the Browns roster and capitalizing on that emotion is why this line is set so high. Could the Browns beat this total? Yes. The line doesn’t capture any of the downsides for a team that has a lot of new moving parts, though. Line: 9.5 Pick: UNDER
Indianapolis Colts: The Colts and GM Chris Ballard have become a favored group amongst the very sort of people who want to know about 2019 NFL Season win totals. Ballard freed up cap space, found contributors on defense that cost the veteran minimum and signed a prove it deal to a wide receiver many of us still believe in (Devin Funchess). The Colts play in a weak division, have a quarterback who seems finally healthy and an intelligent coach. I am going off the book here and disagreeing with the model (which has a slight under 9.5 for the Colts 2019 NFL season win totals). Line: 9.5 Pick: OVER
Los Angeles Chargers: One of the easiest overs to take (and I generally hate taking overs for playoff teams from the previous year). The Chargers are perpetually one of the least lucky teams in the NFL and much of it is their own doing but signs are that they at least have an analytics department now. They will be returning Hunter Henry, one of the most efficient tight ends in the league, after not having him in 2018. Their main competitor in the division should be due for some regression at as well. Line: 9.5 Pick: OVER
Philadelphia Eagles: One of the most disappointing teams last season is projected to get back on track in 2019. They’ll have Carson Wentz at what should be full health and won’t be dedicating resources to running backs who aren’t any good and aren’t healthy. The additions of Jordon Howard and DeSean Jackson should return be positive signals to Philly’s offensive efficiency and they have one of the five easiest schedules projected for 2019. Line: 9.5 Pick: OVER
Green Bay Packers: The ELO + Vegas weighed model HATES the Green Bay Packers. They are a very public team with a public figure at quarterback and that always juices up a 2019 NFL Season win totals bet. The Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys see their totals juiced up as well. This is a talent-devoid roster with a 34 year old quarterback with a now-significant history of injuries. Line: 9 Pick: UNDER
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers were not as bad as public perception painted them out to be last year. They had a bad record in close games and with injury/turnover luck towards the end of the season. The defense allowed the sixth fewest yards per play of any team last season and devoting Antonio Brown’s mass amount of targets to the more efficient Juju Smith-Shuster should make their offense better, not worse. Line: 9 Pick: OVER
Atlanta Falcons: Steve Sarkisian’s archaic offensive concepts can’t seem to pull the MVP-level performance out of Matt Ryan the way that the Shanahan offense did. Without offensive explosion, this Falcons team is likely drawing dead in the NFC South. The Panthers, Bucs, and Saints are just too good for the Falcons to overcome with this roster. The lack of EDGE rushing particularly concerns me. Line: 8.5 Pick: UNDER
Baltimore Ravens: The last Ravens game that the public saw was Lamar Jackson getting dunked on by a very good Chargers defense. The negative perception of Jackson is keeping this total down but our numbers are quite bullish. The Ravens defense remains dominant and added Earl Thomas. If Jackson minimally improves his accuracy, this over should be a cake walk for the Ravens. Line: 8.5 Pick: OVER
Dallas Cowboys: It feels odd to pick a Dallas Cowboys over as generally, the lines are not great with how public they are as a team. However, this is just a good football team, albeit poorly coached. Dak Prescott is one of the best 15 quarterbacks in the NFL, Amari Cooper is a real WR1 and Byron Jones is perhaps the best cover corner in the NFL. This is what a playoff contending roster looks like. Line: 8.5 Pick: OVER
Houston Texans: When starting to analyze the 2019 NFL season win totals, I was extremely curious to see how the math viewed the Texans. They have a quarterback in place, an elite wide receiver and two of the best pass rushers in football with JJ Watt and Jadevon Clowney. However, their offensive line is maybe the league’s worst and their corner situation isn’t great either. With DeShaun Watson forced to run for his life for most of the season, I can’t justify an over here. Line: 8.5 Pick: UNDER
Minnesota Vikings: This line is so close that there is no expected value to be gained from betting on the Vikings 2019 NFL Season win totals line. However, it is instructive to think about what could go wrong for them. The defense is a quality unit but the offensive line was amongst the leagues worst. If the line is bad again in 2019, they will have a tough time protecting Kirk Cousins and gaining yards on the ground. If that issue is fixed, they could win the division and find themselves in the NFC Championship. Line: 8.5 Pick: SLIGHT UNDER
Seattle Seahawks: This is another line where I am skeptical of the math system but that is why we let other people do the simulations. The Seahawks play a brand of football that I find grotesque and outdated. While we have come to think of them as a defensively stout team, they weren’t that at all in 2019 and they let Earl Thomas go in free agency. If they play anything like their brand of “ground and pound” football from 2018, this is an easy under for me which disagrees with the ELO system that Arturo calculated. Line: 8.5 Pick: UNDER
Tennessee Titans: At eight wins, this one is too close to call as the various sims had the Titans barely winning or losing. Marcus Mariota hasn’t been able to stay healthy but the team did trade for an extremely 8-8 quarterback in Ryan Tannehill. Mike Vrabel seems to be a solid head coach but the brand of football Tennessee played last year was not exactly winning football. A very meh team gets a very meh line. Line: 8 Pick: PUSH
Carolina Panthers: This line entirely comes down to Cam Newton’s health. If he can stay healthy and his injured shoulder does not hamper him, the over on 7.5 has to be one of the easier bets to make. However, we don’t have much clarity on that issue. The defense isn’t great and Newton played in a different style last season with more short throws to Christian McCaffrey. Our system rates this one as extremely close but I’m giving Cam the benefit of the doubt for the Panthers 2019 NFL Season win totals bet. Line: 7.5 Pick: OVER
Jacksonville Jaguars: Rush to get money on this under. The Jags are the worst team in a weak division. They may have thought they found their quarterback but Nick Foles is a high variance guy. It wouldn’t be surprising to me if the Jags won four games while insisting that Leonard Fournette get the ball more often. The defense might be good but that won’t be enough to save this team from mediocrity. Line: 7.5 Pick: UNDER
San Francisco 49ers: Despite what we expect with Jimmy Garappolo returning to the huddle, the model still believes that the 49ers won’t hit their 2019 NFL Season win totals line. Jimmy G has yet to appear in more than six regular season games and has turned the ball over 13 times in his nine games with the 49ers. Expecting him to return this team to glory on his own might be asking a bit too much. Line: 7.5 Pick: UNDER
Denver Broncos: This team just doesn’t seem good at all. Joe Flacco, a new defensive-minded head coach in Vic Fangio, and an aging defense. Without the advantage of playing at altitude, this team might be something like a five or six-win team. Joe Flacco was one of the worst quarterbacks in the league last year (bottom third in yards per attempt and adjusted yards per attempt) and the team has one of the five hardest projected schedules. Line: 7 Pick: UNDER
New York Jets: The model isn’t giving Sam Darnold much of a chance at being the quarterback that he was in December. While the model feels pretty aggressive about the under, I see more leeway. If Sam Darnold takes a step (the way Baker did when Hue Jackson was fired), I can see the Jets making a run at their 2019 NFL season win totals line. The most likely scenario is that the team struggles under new coach Adam Gase because all Gase teams struggle. Line: 7 Pick: UNDER
Buffalo Bills: It is easy to see why the model would project one of the non-Patriots AFC East teams to be better than their projection. With the Dolphins actively tanking and the Jets being the Jets, there is room for Bills improvement. Josh Allen could take real steps as a passer and is already an explosive runner which is enough to swing games. Line: 6.5 Pick: OVER
Detroit Lions: Taking an over for the Matt Patricia/Matt Stafford lead Lions does feel sort of odd as they are not a team that inspires confidence. However, the team added some defensive playmakers in free agency and I think they will be better on offense with a full offseason planned around making Kenny Golladay their primary playmaker. Line: 6.5 Pick: OVER
Oakland Raiders: I am glad that the model and I agree on this one. Unless the Raiders have a truly transcendent draft class where all three of their first-round rookies become starting players, they just don’t have enough talent. They recorded only 13 sacks last season and Derek Carr was one of the worst quarterbacks in terms of the average depth of his targets. I am looking to hammer the under on the Raiders 2019 NFL Season win totals under. Line: 6.5 Pick: UNDER
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Conversely, I am happy to take the over for the Bucs. The hire of Bruce Arians to install his vertical passing offense to what was the third-best passing offense in 2019 makes me genuinely excited. Chris Godwin and Mike Evans are a perfect wide receiver tandem and Jameis Winston can play his high-variance football with talented wide receivers. Line: 6.5 Pick: OVER
New York Giants: Plug your nose, but the model has this as an over. The Giants see an extremely favorable schedule in 2019 and that is really the only reason to think that they can hit their over. There is not a chance that I would personally bet the over on the Giants 2019 NFL Season win totals line but I understand why someone mathematically inclined would do so. Just remember, it is always Dave Gettleman’s fault if you lose. Line: 6 PICK: MODEL OVER
Washington Redskins: With the addition of Case Keenum to replace Alex Smith’s slot, Washington has a chance to be semi-competitive in a way that bad teams are often competitive. This won’t be a Cleveland Browns situation. Betting the overs on the worst teams in the league is generally a decent way to fade the public because these lines do not account for much variance. Line: 6 Pick: OVER
Cincinnati Bengals: The model and I agree yet again. I am fairly high on the hire of Zac Taylor in terms of what it will bring to a talented offense. A.J Green, John Ross, Tyl, r Boyd and Tyler Eifert is a very talented offensive core and more than good enough to lift up average Andy. The over on the Bengals 2019 NFL season win totals line is one of my favorites. Line: 5.5 Pick: OVER
Arizona Cardinals: There is no way I am not taking the over for the Cardinals. Kliff Kingsbury is running my preferred offensive system (the Air Raid) which is designed to get the most out of teams that are talent-deficient. He will also be adding the most dynamic QB prospect of our time when the NFL Draft hits. This is a great over bet for those who like to engage with risk. Line: 5 Pick: OVER
Miami Dolphins: The computer can’t know that Miami doesn’t want to win games in 2019. I am over-riding the ELO model here and saying that the official pick is under. The Dolphins want the #1 pick, they don’t want to win and they will actively try to find ways to avoid winning games. Even with capable Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, they aren’t going to make it to five wins. Line: 5 Pick: OVER