With the winter and spring leagues on hold for the time being, we have some opportunities to dig into the NFL earlier than usual. And it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a lot more college football popping up as the sportsbooks try to keep a flow of money going as much as they possibly can.
Circa Sports in Las Vegas released NFL season win totals on Sunday March 15. The crazy thing is that BetOnline Sportsbook has actually had NFL win totals posted for a while. With so much going on with the conference tournaments and March Madness and the regular seasons in the NHL and the NBA, nobody even noticed. Suffice it to say that we are noticing now.
If you can spare it, this is a great time to be betting on football. Free agency and the NFL Draft seem to be moving right along in spite of COVID-19, but there is still a level of uncertainty could create some really good betting opportunities. If you sign up for an account with BetOnline through us here at BangTheBook, you’ll get an exclusive deposit bonus that you can put towards your bankroll.
Let’s take a look with a side by side comparison between the two books:
|Team||Line & Vig||Team||Line & Vig|
|Arizona Cardinals||6.5 (-130/100)||Arizona Cardinals||7 (-110/-110)|
|Atlanta Falcons||8 (-115/-115)||Atlanta Falcons||7.5 (-110/-110)|
|Baltimore Ravens||11 (-115/-115)||Baltimore Ravens||11.5 (-130/110)|
|Buffalo Bills||8.5 (-120/-110)||Buffalo Bills||8 (-110/-110)|
|Carolina Panthers||6.5 (120/-150)||Carolina Panthers||4.5 (-110/-110)|
|Chicago Bears||8 (-120/-110)||Chicago Bears||8.5 (-125/105)|
|Cincinnati Bengals||5.5 (-120/-110)||Cincinnati Bengals||5.5 (-110/-110)|
|Cleveland Browns||8 (-125/-105)||Cleveland Browns||8 (-110/-110)|
|Dallas Cowboys||9.5 (-145/115)||Dallas Cowboys||9.5 (-130/110)|
|Denver Broncos||8 (-130/100)||Denver Broncos||7.5 (-110/-110)|
|Detroit Lions||6.5 (-135/105)||Detroit Lions||6.5 (-110/-110)|
|Green Bay Packers||9.5 (-115/-115)||Green Bay Packers||9 (-110/-110)|
|Houston Texans||8.5 (-115/-115)||Houston Texans||8.5 (-110/-110)|
|Indianapolis Colts||7.5 (-150/120)||Indianapolis Colts||8.5 (-110/-110)|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||6.5 (115/-145)||Jacksonville Jaguars||4.5 (-110/-110)|
|Kansas City Chiefs||11.5 (-115)||Kansas City Chiefs||11.5 (-110)|
|Las Vegas Raiders||7 (-130/100)||Las Vegas Raiders||7.5 (120/-140)|
|Los Angeles Chargers||7.5 (-115/-115)||Los Angeles Chargers||8 (110/-130)|
|Los Angeles Rams||8.5 (-140/110)||Los Angeles Rams||9 (100/-120)|
|Miami Dolphins||5.5 (-150/120)||Miami Dolphins||6 (-110/-110)|
|Minnesota Vikings||9.5 (-115/-115)||Minnesota Vikings||8.5 (-135/115)|
|New England Patriots||10.5 (110/-140)||New England Patriots||9 (-110/-110)|
|New Orleans Saints||10 (-140/110)||New Orleans Saints||10.5 (-120/100)|
|New York Giants||6.5 (-130/100)||New York Giants||6.5 (105/-125)|
|New York Jets||6.5 (-125/-105)||New York Jets||6 (-110/-110)|
|Philadelphia Eagles||10 (-130/100)||Philadelphia Eagles||9 (-130/110)|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||9 (-130/100)||Pittsburgh Steelers||9 (-130/110)|
|San Francisco 49ers||10.5 (-115)||San Francisco 49ers||10.5 (-130/110)|
|Seattle Seahawks||9 (-105/-125)||Seattle Seahawks||9.5 (110/-130)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||7.5 (-115/-115)||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||8.5 (110/-130)|
|Tennessee Titans||8.5 (120/-150)||Tennessee Titans||8.5 (-110/-110)|
|Washington Redskins||5.5 (-150/120)||Washington Redskins||5 (-110/-110)|
The early bird gets the middles! Well, if you have access to both BetOnline and Circa anyway. That is one of the benefits of hitting a rather uncertain market like season win totals very early in the process. You can find some big discrepancies out there. You can also find some overreactions, as oddsmakers and bettors are all going to have differences of opinion. For example, notice how the New England Patriots win total is dramatically different between BetOnline and Circa. BetOnline is dealing 10.5 with heavy under juice and Circa has a very timid projection with 9 wins.
There are a lot of moving parts to the NFL offseason. There will be a lot of players that join new teams and have a big impact. They will also create big holes when they leave their previous teams. With a big need for sports content in media circles, we’re going to get a lot of speculatory articles as to where these guys are going. If you find an argument or a position that makes sense, it may be worth looking at further.
Fabian Sommer, aka suuma, is a friend of BangTheBook and had an interesting tweet regarding implied strength of schedule based on the Circa win totals.
What else should you be looking for with regards to win totals?
Expected Win-Loss – As always, you want to look for teams in line for positive or negative regression that underachieved or overachieved the previous season. For example, the Dallas Cowboys were 8-8 with a +113 point differential. Their Expected Win-Loss record was 10.7-5.3. They lost four games by four or fewer points. They had no such wins.
Another one is the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks went 11-5 with a +7 point differential. Their Expected Win-Loss record was 8.2-7.8. They won five games by four or fewer points. They had no such losses. Record is close games is something that you want to pay close attention to. As you can see, the books have already adjusted by moving the Seahawks to 9 with under juice or 9.5 with heavier under juice.
These are the types of teams that you want to use as a starting point. Even if you don’t know the personnel acquisitions from the Draft or free agency, you know that the holdover players collectively exceeded expectations or underperformed relative to expectations.
Turnover Margin – Turnover margin matters a lot, too. In today’s NFL, when teams are scoring on 36% of their possessions, and even higher after a turnover, possessions just might be more important than they have ever been.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished 7-9 with a positive point differential, despite 41 turnovers to lead the league. The Bucs managed 28 takeaways, so they were -13 in turnover margin. Opponents scored on 39.6% of their drives, due in large part to the fact that the Buccaneers had the second-worst average starting field position against.
We’ll see who the Buccaneers pick to play quarterback, but a better season on the turnover side could really propel Tampa Bay to new heights. We’ll talk more about them in a minute.
Remember the odyssey of the 2019 New England Patriots? The offense was poor, to say the least, but the Patriots had 36 takeaways against just 15 turnovers. A +21 turnover margin should mean an elite season. The Patriots still managed to go just 12-4 and exited in the first round of the NFL Playoffs. This is a team that had a +195 point differential because of the turnover margin. The Patriots had the second-best average starting field position on offense and the best average starting field position against on defense.
That sure looks like a fade team to me. The Patriots, even with their excellent field position, managed 1.99 points per drive. That ranked 17th in the NFL.
Yards Per Play Differential – A lot of smart NFL handicappers are looking at things on a per-play basis. It used to be that we would look at total yards and just assume that one team got the best of another. You can’t really look at it that way in the current NFL and haven’t been able to for quite some time.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers make an appearance here as well. The Buccaners gained 5.9 yards per play and allowed 5.1 yards per play. Their yards per play differential was among the best in the NFL, but those turnovers were the eventual kiss of death to their playoff hopes and dreams.
The Houston Texans had a good season, right? They went 10-6 and beat the Bills in the playoffs before bowing out against the eventual champion Kansas City Chiefs. I purposely saved the Texans for this section, but it is worth noting that they went 10-6 with a negative point differential, which signals an immediate candidate for regression.
The Texans were dead last in the NFL with 6.1 yards per play allowed. On offense, they gained 5.7 yards per play. As a general rule, teams with a negative yards per play differential are going to be .500 or worse. If we include the playoff win over the Bills, the Texans were 6-1 in games decided by three or fewer points. Do we want to bet against Deshaun Watson this season? Maybe not, but looking at the Tennessee Titans or Indianapolis Colts as a division future makes more sense than the Texans.
The Seahawks were another team outgained from a yards per play standpoint that had a good season on the surface. The Green Bay Packers also fall into that category, having been outgained by .3 yards per play on the season.
Were the Tennessee Titans a fluke? Some would say so. Some would say “they got hot at the right time”. Maybe they did. They also finished third in yards per play on offense with 6.1 and 15th in yards per play on defense with 5.4. They were a legit team, particularly after the change to recently-extended quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Even if you aren’t ready to enter the futures market, this is all valuable information, both the odds and the team discussions. You can get into the right mindset for the upcoming campaign and file these things away, knowing that some of these teams are fade candidates and some of them are play-on teams.
Also, be sure to take a look at the Super Bowl Futures market for Super Bowl LV because that will also shed some light on how these teams are being viewed.