Finding Value in Early 2019 NFL Win Totals
Just as soon as we finished going over MLB win totals, CG Technology has already dropped initial NFL win totals on the betting public. These numbers will continually take shape over the next five months, especially after draft season, but it should be an interesting exercise to go through the first set of numbers. Let's see if we can find some value or at least areas of potential value depending on how lines move.
Initial Leans on the Under
The first under lean I have is on the 8 wins for Jacksonville. This team peaked in 2017, and I see a good but declining defense that is not going to be able to make up for a well-below average offense. If this number stays at 8, I’ll be playing on it. The AFC South is getting harder, not easier, and I see the Jaguars getting buried quickly and finishing firmly with a losing record.
The Philadelphia Eagles at 9.5 seems a little high. While the Eagles dealt with a myriad of injuries in 2018, they were fortunate to make the playoffs, and I think they're closer to a .500 team than a 10-win team. The general public will probably look at the 9 games the Eagles won last year and believe that with a fully healthy team, of course, they should win 10+ this year. I would love to see this move up to 10 before taking the under but may still play it at 9.5 wins.
This next one is a much more tentative lean. The Green Bay Packers are coming off a 6-win season in which Aaron Rodgers posted the second lowest QBR of his career at 60.4 (second to 60 in 2015) and also post the fourth-worst passer rating of his career, despite passer ratings soaring across the NFL. The Green Bay win total is at 9, and with this being a public team I could see it getting up to 9.5. If it does, I'll be pounding the under.
Initial Leans on the Over
I love the over 6 wins for the Bills. This team won 6 games a year ago after experimenting with Nate Peterman before turning the reins over to Josh Allen. The rookie 7th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft had his ups and downs, but also had many moments of excellence. I’m not sure how good Allen will be longterm, but his combination of running ability and arm strength is unmatched in the NFL. The AFC East isn’t getting any easier, but the Bills have the 9th easiest strength of schedule in 2019. Having won six games a year ago, the Bills only need to win on more in 2019 to hit the over. I’ll take the upside of Allen and the generous schedule.
The AFC East isn’t getting any easier, but the Bills have the 9th easiest strength of schedule in 2019.
The next lean on the over is with the Houston Texans with their number set at 8.5 wins. This is a Texans team that won 11 games a year ago despite dealing with critical injuries on both sides of the ball. Deshaun Watson had an incredibly impressive season, and I'd expect him to continue to develop. I think this team will get to 9+ wins without too much of a sweat.
My final initial lean is on the over 9 wins for the Browns. I know this is a public play, but as the favorites to win the AFC North, I don’t see them going just 8-8. Who doesn't love the moves the Browns have made this offseason? They already had a surging young defense to go along with the upside of Baker Mayfield leading the team on offense. I'm surprised this number isn’t as high as 9.5 wins. If I see a 9 available, I’ll be putting down a reasonable wager.