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By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
Redzone. Jim Nantz. Sunday spreads. Tailgating. All the gloriousness of the NFL is at our doorstep. I’m overly ready to have the next six months of Sundays planned out for me and I imagine you are as well.
With that, let’s set the scene for teams that are creating a lot of buzz this offseason – whether it be a new look QB, coaching staff, or building on momentum from last season, the NFL storylines are aplenty this training camp.
The hot summer is in full effect, and football is officially on the horizon once the win totals have been released. Upon first pass through the league, there’s team win total numbers that stick out, some that seem just right, and a few that are probably due for adjustment based on how August looks who emerges as the team’s quarterback. While it’s nice to get in early on released lines, there’s also some learning to be done in training camp as teams prep to understand what their 2022 campaign will look like on the field.
Before the picks, here’s where my head is at and what you can look for in forecasting NFL win totals this season:
- Schedule flow: With the expanded 17 game regular season, the long haul from September to January is a grind, and when strings of games do or don’t favor the team you’re betting on, it needs to be noted. Schedule difficulty are useful, but not mandatory pieces of information to follow your bets, but be sure to check a team’s difficulty of schedule and where their “tough spot” is. Almost every team has a “brutal road stretch” or a tough back to back late in the year that could lead to a tailspin.
- Who’s running the show: In case you’re just tuning in – the coaching staff and quarterback of NFL teams run the ship, especially in an even more pass happy league than ever before. They will either take you to the Promised Land or sink your ship, no in between. Part of betting win totals is forecasting the season the team’s QB and his projected performance based on the team’s schedule. Assessing durability, ability to keep stats going all season long and their offseason development are all key. Teams with uncertain QB rooms and new or flipped coaching staffs are red flags when betting a team’s win total.
- What’s changed: On that note – out of any of the major sports, the NFL arguably produces the most turnover season to season. If a team’s win total has dropped or risen dramatically from their 2021 performance, it’s a tell tale sign of massive turnover on the roster, which fuels uncertainty more than anything.
Let’s tap into that knowledge bank and find some win total gems in each division for the upcoming NFL season:
New England Patriots – Over/Under 8.5 wins
The lowest win total for the Patriots in my memory. The facts are that Bill Belichick has had one season with less than 9 wins in his 20+ years as coach. If you want to bet on it happening again with an improved Mac Jones and defense, best of luck against that trend.
The Play: OVER 8.5 wins
Denver Broncos – Over/Under 10 wins
I’m precociously buying a ticket on the Russell Wilson hype train in Denver, but to get them past their aggressive team total in the trickiest division in football? They had 7 wins last year, and whose to say how much better his protection and environment truly will be versus Seattle? While Russell Wilson will do him, it won’t lead to more than 10 wins.
The Play: UNDER 10 wins
Cleveland Browns – Over/Under 9.5 wins
Knowing now that DeShaun Watson’s suspension is 6 games, I’m hard pressed to see the Brownies getting to double digits behind Jacoby Brissett or Joshua Dobbs…eek. With a tricky schedule to start they’ll be behind the 8 ball on getting to 10 wins this season.
The Play: UNDER 9.5 wins
Houston Texans – Over/Under 4.5 wins
I will absolutely talk myself into taking the over on the lowest total on the board. The Texans got to 4 wins last year, and were competitive in a slew of other close losses. The schedule is not unbearable to start, and they’re always known to play spoiler in their division late in the year. They’ll have opportunities at home to do that and get to 5 wins.
The Play: OVER 4.5 wins
Washington Commanders – Over/Under 8 wins
Carson Wentz in DC will be a hot heap of garbage. I’m lying harder on this take than anything else I’m predicting this fall. What good is a moderately efficient check down artist when everything around is toxic in all the wrong ways?
The Play: UNDER 8 wins
Seattle Seahawks – Over/Under 5.5 wins
I love me some bottom feeder over bets. Hear me out – while Drew Lock and or Geno Smith are far from long term solutions, this team is not going to razzle dazzle with flair. They’ll do it with consistency, ground and pound, and an improved defense. They’re home field advantage is one of the best in the algue, and thei schedule starts soft with an opportunity to be 2-2 or 3-3 early on.
The Play – OVER 5.5 wins
Minnesota Vikings – Over/Under 9 wins
“This is finally Kirk Cousins’ team” is the echoing through Vikings camp. I’m not interested in wagering on an overpriced QB that’s shown no signs of life in recent memory. They made some incremental signings on D but I have zero faith in this offense getting them near double digit wins.
The Play: UNDER 9 wins
Carolina Panthers – Over/Under 6.5 wins
Baker Mayfield is not and will not be an elite QB, but what he can do is function an offense better than enough QB’s to be a starter. He gets his second chance in Carolina, a team with some decent downfield threats that makes a solid fit. No doubt there will be bumps and bruises along the way, but 7 wins are very attainable. Plus, Baker opens the season against his old team at home in week one to kick off the party.
The Play: OVER 6.5 wins