NFL Win Totals
With the 2013 NFL season fast approaching, it’s time to look at team win totals. Oddsmakers set win totals for all 32 teams, and you have to predict whether they will finish over or under that set number of wins during the regular season. After previewing each team to find out what they have to offer entering the new season, I now have a good idea as to which teams will exceed expectations, and which will fail to meet them. Let’s take a look at my favorite ‘over’ and ‘under’ bets for the 2013 campaign.
Top 5 OVER Bets
Carolina Panthers OVER 7 (-165)
After winning each of their final four games last season to finish 7-9, head coach Ron Rivera saved his job while getting the Panthers to finish out the 2012 campaign. They now head into 2013 with a ton of momentum and a chip on their shoulder. This is a team that was much better than its record would indicate last year.
That’s evident by the fact that the Panthers actually outgained their opponents by 27.6 yards per game, finishing 12th in the league in total offense (360.7 yards/game) and 10th in total defense (333.1 yards/game). The problem was simply that the Panthers could not win the close game. In fact, they went just 1-7 in games decided by a touchdown or less.
This is going to be one of the league’s top offenses as Cam Newton enters his third year with plenty of weapons, including WR Steve Smith and TE Greg Olsen. What many fail to realize is that this was one of the most improved defenses in the league last year thanks to rookie LB Luke Kuechley. Now, with a healthy return of LB Jon Beason, and the additions of rookie DT’s Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short, this is going to be another top 10 defense in 2013.
Detroit Lions OVER 8 (-135)
It’s hard to believe that this Lions’ team made the playoffs in 2011 before going just 4-12 last season. In fact, this team was much better than its record would indicate, but it simply could not get the job done in close games. Detroit lost nine of its 12 games by eight points or less in 2012.
A big reason for its struggles were turnovers. The Lions finished tied for last in turnover differential (-24) last season. It has been proven that teams with terrible turnover differentials usually come back to earth the next season. After out-gaining opponents by a whopping 67.7 yards per game while finishing 3rd in total offense (408.8 yards/game) last year, this is clearly a team that will rebound in a big way in 2013.
The offense should be even more dynamic with a healthy return of Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles at receiver, as well as the addition of playmaking running back Reggie Bush. The defense should be improved, too, with the additions of DE Israel Idonije, DE Ezekiel Ansah, CB Darius Slay and S Glover Quin. This is the second-best team in the NFC North in my opinion.
Kansas City Chiefs OVER 7.5 (-145)
The Chiefs had the best hiring this offseason in proven winner Andy Reid. A new situation other than Philadelphia is just what the doctor ordered for Reid. He tried to trade for Alex Smith while with the Eagles, and now he has his man in Kansas City. With Smith, who completed over 70 percent of his passes last year in San Francisco, the Chiefs have the best quarterback that they’ve had in years.
A big reason Kansas City finished 2-4 last season is that it was tied for last in turnover differential (-24). Smith will take much better care of the football, while also making more plays in the passing game. Kansas City already has a great running game with Jamaal Charles, and the addition of first-round pick Eric Fisher will certainly help bolster the ground attack.
I also believe that the Chiefs have one of the most underrated defenses in the league. They have an easy schedule as well, getting to face the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers twice. If the AFC West isn’t the weakest division in football, then the AFC South is. That’s good news considering Kansas City will get to play the entire AFC South division in 2013.
New Orleans Saints OVER 9 (-170)
The Saints had a forgetful 2012 campaign due to the suspensions stemming from Bounty Gate. They finished just 7-9 despite having the league’s second-ranked offense at 419.9 yards per game. Drew Brees and company still did their thing, but with Sean Payton back calling the plays, the offense is going to be even more dynamic in 2013.
The defense was the problem last year. New Orleans ranked 32nd in the league in total defense, giving up a ridiculous 440.1 yards per game. Rex Ryan was thrown under the bus in Dallas, taking much of the blame for why the Cowboys didn’t make the playoffs. However, there were six defensive starters missing time due to injury down the stretch, and DeMarcus Ware was playing with one arm.
Now, Ryan takes over a defense that is better suited to run his 3-4 scheme in New Orleans. I look for this to be one of the most improved stop units in the league, especially with the additions the Saints have made this offseason. They used their first-round pick on Texas safety Kenny Vacarro. They also added safety Jim Leonard and cornerback Keenan Lewis, who may be the most underrated corner in the entire league.
Pittsburgh Steelers OVER 9 (-130)
I have pegged the Steelers to win the AFC North and get back to the playoffs in 2013 after a disappointing 8-8 campaign last year. Most of the Steelers’ struggles can be attributed to Ben Roethlisberger simply being unable to stay healthy. I look for better health and improved offensive line play in 2013.
Turnovers and a lack of a running game really cost the Steelers last season as well. They finished -10 in turnover differential due to losing 16 fumbles offensively. Clearly, ball security will be an emphasis heading into 2013. Plus, the Steelers now have a legitimate running back after drafting Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell in the second round.
The offense will be improved in the second year in Todd Haley’s system. The defense has been the best in the league over the past decade, and that was the case again in 2012 as they finished No. 1 in total defense (275.8 yards/game). The declining James Harrison is gone, but the Steelers replaced him by using their first-round pick on Georgia DE Jarvis Jones. He’ll help provide a much more consistent pass rush in 2013 on the league’s best defense. Jones registered 14.5 sacks playing the SEC last year.
Top 5 UNDER Bets
Atlanta Falcons UNDER 10 (-165)
The Atlanta Falcons had just about everything go their way last season en route to earning the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a 13-3 record. The biggest thing they had go right was their record in close games. In fact, the Falcons went 7-2 in games decided by a touchdown or less last season. They won’t be nearly as lucky in that department in 2013.
There’s no denying that Atlanta has one of the better offenses in the league. Matt Ryan has a plethora of weapons at his disposal, and he used them to perfection last year. The problem is a defense that is going to force Ryan and company try and win a bunch of shootouts. That strategy did not work for fellow division rival New Orleans, and it won’t work for Atlanta, either.
I believe the Falcons are going to have one of the worst defenses in the entire league. They lose DE John Abraham, who has been the anchor on the defensive line for years. They have tried to replace him with former Giant Osi Umenyiora, which is a huge step down. Also gone are CB Grent Grimes and CB Dunta Robinson. Expected to replace these two are a pair of rookies in Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. Atlanta faces a tougher schedule in 2013 after winning its division last year. Plus, the NFC South is only going to be stronger.
Baltimore Ravens UNDER 8.5 (+100)
Oddsmakers have set this total at 8.5 for good reason. I believe the defending Super Bowl champs are going to take a huge step back in 2013 as well. It’s tough to back up a Lombardi Trophy when you have a bulls eye on your back each week. Plus, with the loss of several leaders, Baltimore could be overconfident and lacking the hunger it needs to get back to the playoffs.
This team’s leaders through the years have been Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. While both players are on the decline, there’s no question they will be missed on and off the field. Lewis kept this team focused weak in and weak out, and without his presence, I look for the Ravens to be lost in 2013. Reed was the last level of defense and could bail out the secondary when needed. Don’t forget Bernard Pollard, the hard-hitting safety, who is gone.
Not only will the defense be weaker, the offense suffers some key losses, too. The top two receivers from last season in Anquan Boldin (65 receptions, 921 yards, 4 TD) and Dennis Pitta (61, 669, 7 TD) will no longer be with the team. Boldin has moved on to San Francisco, while Pitta is likely lost for the season with an injury. Joe Flacco got paid this offseason, which could go to his head. Even if it doesn’t, he simply does not have the same fire power to work with that he did a year ago.
Indianapolis Colts UNDER 8.5 (-135)
The Colts were one of the biggest surprises in the entire league last year. They had more than 30 new players on their roster when it was all said and done. After head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia, the team really rallied around him and put together a tremendous 11-5 season that led to a playoff berth.
However, the Colts have a number of different things go right for them. First of all, they became the only NFL team in history to get outscored by 30 points on the season and win 11 games. How did they accomplish that feat? Well, they went an unheard of 9-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less. They are sure to regress in that department, which will lead to at least three fewer wins than last year.
Bruce Arians was a big reason why Indianapolis was able to move on without Pagano. With Arians gone to Arizona, the Colts are really going to miss his play calling. Pagano has yet to prove himself as a head coach in this league. While it’s sad to say, these players won’t be nearly as motivated as last year as the leukemia is currently a non-issue.
Minnesota Vikings UNDER 7.5 (-190)
The Vikings surprised everyone and turned around a 3-13 team from 2011 to a 10-6 team and a playoff berth in 2012. They did so despite having the 31st-ranked passing offense in the league at 171.9 yards per game. Adrian Peterson carried this squad, rushing for the second-most yards in NFL history with 2,097.
Christian Ponder is one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. Now, he has lost his best playmaker in Percy Harvin, which cannot go unnoticed. Sure, the Vikings signed Greg Jennings this offseason, but he’s far past his prime. He won’t come close to matching the production that Harvin did for this team when healthy.
After making the playoffs last year, the Vikings will face a much more difficult schedule in 2013. They do avoid any playoff teams from last year through the first seven weeks and could get off to a good start, but they won’t be going 4-0 to close out the season for a second straight year. That’s because they face six playoff teams from last season in Weeks 8 through 16. This is the worst team in the NFC North because it relies too heavily on Peterson.
Oakland Raiders UNDER 5.5 (-140)
Yes, the Oakland Raiders are that bad. They went 4-12 last season and they were as bad as their record would indicate. They only lost two games by a field goal or less last season. They were outscored by an average of 9.6 points per game while finishing in the bottom half of the league in total offense and total defense.
Carson Palmer is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the league. Now, the Raiders have traded him to Arizona, and they’ll be relying on the unproven Matt Flynn at quarterback. They also have to have Darren McFadden stay healthy, but he hasn’t been able to do that his entire career. The losses of TE Brandon Myers and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey hurt, too.
The offense is clearly a mess, and the defense is in rebuilding mode with up to nine new starters on that side of the ball. Charles Woodson is past his prime and will not bring much to the table. Following the NFL draft, the Raiders had just 16 players remaining on the roster from the Al Davis regime. Stuck in rebuilding mode, Oakland is clearly the worst team in the AFC West in 2013.
Honorable Mention OVERS
- Arizona Cardinals OVER 5.5 (-150)
- Cleveland Browns OVER 6 (-155)
- Dallas Cowboys OVER 8.5 (+110)
- St. Louis Rams OVER 7.5 (-105)
- Washington Redskins OVER 8 (-120)
Honorable Mention UNDERS
- Denver Broncos UNDER 11.5 (-105)
- Houston Texans UNDER 10.5 (-155)
- New England Patriots UNDER 11 (+100)
- New York Giants UNDER 9 (-130)
- Tennessee Titans UNDER 6.5 (+100)
Complete List of 2013 NFL Win Totals
|ARIZONA CARDINALS||DALLAS COWBOYS||MIAMI DOLPHINS||PITTSBURGH STEELERS|
|Over 5.5 (-150)||Over 8.5 (+110)||Over 8 (+120)||Over 9 (-130)|
|Under 5.5 (+130)||Under 8.5 (-130)||Under 8 (-140)||Under 9 (+110)|
|ATLANTA FALCONS||DENVER BRONCOS||MINNESOTA VIKINGS||SAN DIEGO CHARGERS|
|Over 10 (+145)||Over 11.5 (-115)||Over 7.5 (+165)||Over 7.5 (+110)|
|Under 10 (-165)||Under 11.5 (-105)||Under 7.5 (-190)||Under 7.5 (-130)|
|BALTIMORE RAVENS||DETROIT LIONS||NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS||SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS|
|Over 8.5 (-120)||Over 8 (-135)||Over 11 (-120)||Over 11.5 (+160)|
|Under 8.5 (+100)||Under 8 (+115)||Under 11 (+100)||Under 11.5 (-185)|
|BUFFALO BILLS||GREEN BAY PACKERS||NEW ORLEANS SAINTS||SEATTLE SEAHAWKS|
|Over 6.5 (+135)||Over 10.5 (+105)||Over 9 (-170)||Over 10.5 (-125)|
|Under 6.5 (-155)||Under 10.5 (-125)||Under 9 (+150)||Under 10.5 (+105)|
|CAROLINA PANTHERS||HOUSTON TEXANS||NEW YORK GIANTS||ST. LOUIS RAMS|
|Over 7 (-165)||Over 10.5 (+135)||Over 9 (+110)||Over 7.5 (-105)|
|Under 7 (+145)||Under 10.5 (-155)||Under 9 (-130)||Under 7.5 (-115)|
|CHICAGO BEARS||INDIANAPOLIS COLTS||NEW YORK JETS||TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS|
|Over 8.5 (-160)||Over 8.5 (+115)||Over 6.5 (+140)||Over 7.5 (-135)|
|Under 8.5 (+140)||Under 8.5 (-135)||Under 6.5 (-160)||Under 7.5 (+115)|
|CINCINNATI BENGALS||JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
||OAKLAND RAIDERS||TENNESSEE TITANS|
|Over 8.5 (-155)||Over 5 (+115)||Over 5.5 (+120)||Over 6.5 (-120)|
|Under 8.5 (+135)||Under 5 (-135)||Under 5.5 (-140)||Under 6.5 (+100)|
|CLEVELAND BROWNS||KANSAS CITY CHIEFS||PHILADELPHIA EAGLES||WASHINGTON REDSKINS|
|Over 6 (-155)||Over 7.5 (-145)||Over 7.5 (+125)||Over 8 (-120)|
|Under 6 (+135)||Under 7.5 (+125)||Under 7.5 (-145)||Under 8 (+100)|