By Kyle Johansen
The NFL win totals market moves at a glacial pace when it comes to shifting numbers. Typically, sportsbooks will adjust the money line significantly before increasing or decreasing a win total by a half-game.
How much is a half-game worth? Usually, it’s worth 50 cents on the line. Meaning the over on the Colts at 10 wins -100 is worth the same as the Colts over 9.5 wins -150.
Green Bay Packers
The Pack opened at 9 wins, and the market has bet it up to 9.5, although Bookmaker is practically begging you to take the over at +124.
For a team that won 6 games a year ago, asking for 10 seems like a stretch. On the positive side, the Packers will get a fully healthy Aaron Rodgers and don’t have an overly difficult schedule, ranking 14th in difficulty.
They also have a new head coach Matt LaFleur, who is holding this position for the first time in his career.
If you want to take Packers under -9.5 it’ll cost you -150. A steep price, but the juice may be worth the squeeze in this case.
New England Patriots
The Patriots opened at 10.5 wins, and it was quickly bet up to 11 wins. Once the NFL Draft passed, a steady flow of money has come in on the over, causing books to juice it up to -130.
If you want to take the under 11 wins at Bookmaker right now, you can get it for +108.
The reasons for the over love, besides the fact that it’s the Patriots, is due primarily to an easy schedule and some good old-fashioned draft hype.
Life in the AFC East has been kind to Brady and Belichick, and it’s the main reason the Patriots have the easiest schedule in football this year. However, the divisional landscape is shifting, with Josh Allen and Sam Darnold entering year two for the Bills and Jets. As Brady enters his age-42 season, a few more chinks may start to show up in the armor.
While Brady remains an effective and efficient passer, he’s no longer considered elite. When you go to draft your fantasy football team this year, it will be the first year in seemingly decades that Brady is ranked outside the top 20 by the fantasy experts.
Part of the reason for this is age, and a bigger part is his surrounding cast. Brady lost two of his most productive targets in Josh Gordon to suspension and Rob Gronkowski to retirement. While he still has Julian Edelman and James White, you can only execute the dump-off play so many times.
Despite the fantasy community fading Brady, the Patriots will be favored in every game but one, November 17 at Philadelphia where they are projected to be 1-point underdogs.
It would be scary to place a season-long bet against the Patriots, but this may be the year to zig while everyone else is zagging on the Pats win total.
The Eagles opened at 9.5 wins, and there’s been no shortage of action on the over, pumping it up to 10 wins at -127.
There are a few good reasons for the line move:
A difficult schedule last year gets much more manageable this year.
The Eagles overcame their schedule and myriad of injuries to make the playoffs last year.
A fit Carson Wentz, a healthy team and more relaxed schedule should = more wins.
If you want to go against the wave of action on the Eagles over, under 10 is priced at a tasty +107.
The Bills win total has been bet from 6 wins to 7 wins, with -130 vig on the over.
With the combination of an elite defense and Josh Allen’s pure athleticism, the Bills were able to surprise some teams last year. In year two with Allen, bettors are expecting the Bills to take a step forward. Last year’s team won 6 games, so an improvement of just one win would at least push on the current total.
In addition to improvement in year two of Allen, the Bills drafted well, selecting stud DT Ed Oliver with the 9th overall pick before helping to shore up the offensive line by selecting premier tackle prospect Cody Ford at pick 38. In the third round, the Bills drafted Shady McCoy’s eventual replacement in Devin Singletary and continued to add depth to the defense with their next three picks.
The Bills also made a splash in free agency signing center Mitch Morse to be the highest-paid player at the position. A new offensive line, elite defense and improving young quarterback have overs bettors excited for the 2019 Bills season.
The Browns are of course one of the teams with stock up in the win totals market. Who didn’t love what the Browns did this offseason? Pairing Odell Beckham with Baker Mayfield is being seen as a potential Super Bowl-winning move, as the Browns upside on offense finally reached their upside on defense.
Everyone loves to root for an underdog, and for the longest time, the Browns have been the league’s most prominent dog. It’s fun to root for that turnaround, and it’s undeniable when the personality and talents of Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham are involved.
The Browns opened at 8.5 wins, and demand quickly drove that number up to 9. The market currently sits at 9 wins -124 to the over, +103 to the under.
The Bears opened at an overly optimistic 9.5 wins, and the market has corrected that down to 9.
Last year the Bears had the easiest schedule in the NFL, while in 2019 they have the 5th toughest schedule.
The Bears were also very fortunate in two different key areas last year: injuries and takeaways.
Vegas will argue that the takeaways are not repeatable, and the injury fortune almost certainly won’t carry over from last year.
Yet, the Bears won 11 games last year and are coming into year two of head coach Matt Nagy, and year three of quarterback Mitch Trubisky. While there may be some regression on defense, it’s fair to think that the offensive progression will balance everything out.
At 9.5 it was impossible to consider the over, but at 9 wins over bettors at least have a potential push in their back pockets.
Houston opened at 8.5 wins, after winning 11 games in 2019, and that number has been bet down to 8 depending on where you look.
Bovada is holding firm at 8.5 hoping to attract over betters at +130 and keeping under bettors at bay with -160.
The Texans are another team going from an easy schedule in 2018 to a challenging schedule in 2019, as Houston faces the 4th hardest schedule in the league.
In 2019, no team faces a tougher schedule than the Titans. Sensing a trend here?
After a soft schedule in 2018 allowed them to win 11 games, the Titans win total is down to 8 after opening at 8.5 wins.
The under is getting hit so hard that books are still trying to entice bettors to take the over, as it’s being offered at +116 by Bookmaker, with -140 juice to the under.