The NFL has wrapped up offseason workout programs, which means we are now awaiting training camp and the start of the road to Super Bowl 54.
The close of spring workouts means we know what rosters will mostly look like heading into training camp, what major injuries teams are dealing with before they put on pads, and how new additions are fitting in. Plenty will change in August, but for the time being, we have a good baseline to figure out which teams might be better than expected and which teams might be worse than expected.
With that in mind, it’s time to assess Vegas win totals for 2019. Oddsmakers set a number that is not about projecting how many games a team will win. Rather, they want a number that will get as close to even money bet on each side of the number. This puts them in a position to profit rather than sweat out an excessive liability.
We’ve posted the full list of Vegas win totals at the bottom, courtesy of the Westgate Superbook. The positive and negative numbers in parenthesis after the win total represent the cost to bet the over and under. For example, the Cardinals win total is five. The -130 represents the over (bet $130 to win $100) and the +100 represents the under (bet $100 to win $110). In this case, the over is favored. In comparison, the Ravens win total is set at 8.5 with the over at +105 and the under at -125. In this case, the under is favored.
SB Nation’s NFL staff have taken some time to run through the list and offer up their favorite over bet and their favorite under bet. Which over and under wagers do you like?
Favorite over: Seahawks (8.5 wins)
How can you bet against Russell Wilson in his prime? In seven seasons, Wilson has led the Seahawks to double-digit wins six times, and nine wins in the other season. Past performance is not indicative of future returns, but whether backed by the Legion of Boom or dealing with a transition defense, Wilson has done everything asked of him to boost this Seahawks team.
Wilson has done this in spite of consistently lackluster offensive line play. We finally saw improvement from the line last season after Tom Cable was let go following the 2017 season. If the line continues to improve in 2019, this offense could provide considerable balance in the run and pass game.
The Seahawks’ defense is in transition following the departure of Earl Thomas and the trade of Frank Clark. The Seahawks are counting on big things from Tre Flowers and Shaquem Griffin, and will hope pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah can remain healthy. It’s not a great situation, but the defense should be able to at least avoid taking on water. And with Wilson at quarterback, that is enough to keep this team above .500.
The Raiders over six wins is intriguing as they move from completely ugly rebuild to roster infused with talent. They’re not a strong playoff contender by any means, but seven wins is very possible. The Texans over 8.5 wins is another interesting one. That offensive line has serious questions and they lost some key cogs on defense, but even with a regression from 11 wins, there’s some value at +130.
Favorite under: Saints (10.5 wins)
Drew Brees could easily turn this thing on its ear, but I’m not high on Brees in 2019. I think he’ll start out fine, but last season’s second-half struggles are not an anomaly. I suspect he hits the wall this year and things go worse in the second half than they did last year.
Brees will not be helped by the departures of Max Unger (retirement) and Mark Ingram (free agency). Second-round pick Erik McCoy should plug in at starting center, but if he struggles his rookie year, the Saints’ offensive line could be in trouble. Even with a stacked defense, this offense has a lot of question marks.
The Saints open the season at home against the Texans, on the road against the Rams and Seahawks, and then at home against the Cowboys. 1-3 out of the gate is not entirely out of the question. 10.5 wins provides a nice cushion because ten wins would not be a surprise for this team, but they have enough hurdles that any higher just seems like too much.
The Rams are another team at 10.5 wins that I’m inclined to bet the under. They’re a solid team and will probably win the NFC West, but regression to a 10-win season makes a lot of sense.
Favorite over: Raiders (6 wins)
Last year’s Oakland team was in the middle of a rebuild. The Raiders had a historically inept pass rush, a porous offensive line that allowed Derek Carr to be sacked 20 more times in a season that he ever had before, and their top wide receivers were a 33-year-old Jordy Nelson and Seth Roberts.
That team still won four games.
This past offseason, Jon Gruden put together one of the league’s biggest hauls. He got defensive help through his war chest of draft picks with Clelin Ferrell, Jonathan Abrams, and Trayvon Mullen, and in free agency by adding LaMarcus Joyner, Nevin Lawson, and Vontaze Burfict — the last of whom is somehow only 28 years old. He beefed up his blocking by making Trent Brown the highest-paid right tackle the world has ever seen. He made his receiving corps one of the best in the league, headlined by Antonio Brown.
And yet the over/under fulcrum for the club is only six wins. Yes, the AFC West brings a brutal schedule and there’s always the chance Gruden’s return to the sideline fails spectacularly, but this is a team that’s improved its station in the league by more than just two wins.
The Buffalo Bills, who surrounded Josh Allen with talent this offseason, could also be a solid over at seven wins. And the Panthers, who do great things in odd-numbered years and terrible things in even ones, seem low at 7.5 as well.
Favorite under: Giants (6 wins)
Last year’s Giants team won five games, then traded away Odell Beckham and Olivier Vernon while burning a top-six draft pick on lesser Eli clone Daniel Jones.
Now that Pat Shurmur has opened the door, does Daniel Jones really have a shot to beat out Eli Manning for the Giants QB job this summer?— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) June 13, 2019
Here's what has to happen: https://t.co/ww86iz4K5O pic.twitter.com/JNoBcpa5Gm
There’s a solid chance Jones, a zero-time All-ACC passer who averaged 6.2 yards per attempt as a college quarterback, plays significant snaps as a rookie against actual NFL defenses. Bless you, Saquon Barkley, but this team isn’t getting any better in 2019.
I could also be swayed on an aging Joe Flacco and the rising tide of the AFC West keeping the Broncos from hitting their seven-win push. And the Saints at 10.5 wins after Drew Brees’ iffy finish to what started as an MVP-caliber 2018 season also presents some room for concern.
Favorite over: Panthers (7.5 wins)
A lot of this hinges on the health of Cam Newton, but the Panthers sneakily might have a top 10 defense this year.
Luke Kuechly, Kawann Short, and Shaq Thompson were already a formidable front seven trio. Then they added Brian Burns in the draft and recently signed Gerald McCoy, which should give them tons of room to be creative on defense. If James Bradberry and Donte Jackson continue to progress, they’ll have a fantastic cornerback duo to pair with that stacked front.
Their offense has a handful of young players that are poised to take a step as well. Christian McCaffrey has already established himself as one of the best running backs in the league. Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore can be a lethal, young wide receiver duo as well.
Their offensive line has a few questions, but they were able to sustain a good offense last year with that unit before Cam Newton started struggling with his shoulder injury.
If Newton can stay healthy, this is a team that has a legitimate chance to win the NFC South with the additions they’ve made on defense. That’s a huge variable, but I’m comfortable hitting the over on 7.5 wins for the Panthers squad.
Favorite under: Raiders (6 wins)
Yes, the Raiders offense is improved this year. Adding Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams will help Derek Carr and Jon Gruden in a big way, but I’m still down on the Raiders for two reasons this year.
Their defense and their schedule.
After the Raiders season opener against the Broncos, they play the Chiefs, the Vikings, the Bears in London, and the Colts before their bye. Then they head to Green Bay and Houston in Weeks 7 and 8. To close the season, they travel to Kansas City, play the Titans and Jaguars at home, and then play the Chargers in Week 16.
Their offense might be equipped to battle with those teams now, but their defense is still far away from being a real contender. They had the worst defense in the league last year and now they’re relying on a lot of young guys to step up and be legitimate contributors for them.
If — and it’s a big if — they nailed their 2019 draft class and get meaningful contributions from Clelin Ferrell, Johnathan Abram, and Maxx Crosby they have a chance to field an average defense.
They’re just too far away on defense with a grueling schedule for me to really believe in them.
Favorite over: Lions (6.5 wins)
Year one of the Matt Patricia era was pretty underwhelming for the Lions. The offense regressed from No. 7 in points scored in 2017 to No. 25 a year later. That negated improvement by the Detroit defense and the team finished last in the NFC North at 6-10.
To cash in on the over, the Lions only need to win one more game in 2019. So the question to ask is “Did the Lions got better at all during the offseason?” I’d posit that, yes, they did.
First and foremost, Matthew Stafford will presumably be playing without the back fractures that caused him issues in 2018. After three straight seasons with a passer rating over 90, Stafford came in just under that mark in 2018, despite the NFL average passer rating climbing from 86.9 to 92.9. If he’s healthy and playing more like his usual self, Stafford should put up much better numbers -- especially now that he has top 10 draft pick T.J. Hockenson at tight end.
If the defense is still above average under Patricia’s coaching — which should only be helped by the addition of Trey Flowers — there seems a solid chance the Lions improve by at least one win.
Favorite under: Rams (10.5 wins)
Eleven wins is a lot of wins. So even if the Rams are good — and they probably will be — they could have a winning season and still come up short of the oddsmakers’ win total.
Last year, Los Angeles was an offensive juggernaut and rode 32.9 points per game to a spot in the Super Bowl. That’ll be a hard standard to replicate in 2019 — especially when the offseason was mostly about mitigating losses.
Ndamukong Suh, Lamarcus Joyner, Rodger Saffold, C.J. Anderson, and Mark Barron all left in free agency. A couple spots on the defense were filled by the additions of Eric Weddle and Clay Matthews, but both are in the twilight of their career. The 2019 NFL Draft didn’t give the Rams much either, because the team’s first pick didn’t happen until No. 61 overall.
There’s also a lengthy history of teams that lose in the Super Bowl struggling to recreate their success a year later. A recent example was the Carolina Panthers who had a 15-1 season that ended with a loss in Super Bowl 50 in February 2016. In the following season, the Panthers finished 6-10.
The Rams might be ripe for at least a little regression.
Favorite over: Bengals (6 wins)
Despite replacing Marvin Lewis as head coach, the Bengals aren’t in rebuilding mode. They still believe that they have the pieces to win football games, and I’m right there with them. I think Andy Dalton is good enough to actually do damage in the playoffs and think his supporting cast is good enough to eclipse six wins.
Personally, I don’t think the AFC North is going to be all that impressive this season. The Browns could come out and do some serious damage as many think they might, but I see the Ravens being a very inconsistent team and the Steelers are very good at being completely unpredictable. The Bengals should win at least three of those divisional games, perhaps more.
Dalton, A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, and Joe Mixon will win six games, at least.
Favorite under: Colts (10 wins)
In that same vein, I don’t think the Colts are going to be as good as advertised. It seems like Andrew Luck is fully back and for that I think they’ll be a good team, but other than the addition of Justin Houston, I just don’t see a roster that’s going to put up 10 wins. The draft class didn’t do much for me.
Their lone saving grace, other than a generally decent roster, is that they play in a pretty spotty division overall. Perhaps this will be my one pick that gets “exposed” later on — I’m just not a believer in what the Colts got going on.
Here’s where each team’s win total stands right:
Arizona Cardinals: 5 (-130, +110)
Atlanta Falcons: 8.5 (-130, +110)
Baltimore Ravens: 8.5 (+105, -125)
Buffalo Bills: 7 (-130, +110)
Carolina Panthers: 7.5 (-135, +115)
Chicago Bears: 9 (-130, +110)
Cincinnati Bengals: 6 (-120, Even)
Cleveland Browns: 9 (-130, +110)
Dallas Cowboys: 9 (Even, -120)
Denver Broncos: 7 (-120, Even)
Detroit Lions: 6.5 (-140, +120)
Green Bay Packers: 9 (-120, Even)
Houston Texans: 8.5 (+130, -150)
Indianapolis Colts: 10 (+130, -150)
Jacksonville Jaguars: 8 (+115, -135)
Kansas City Chiefs: 10.5 (+130, -150)
Los Angeles Chargers: 9.5 (-140, +120)
Los Angeles Rams: 10.5 (+120, -140)
Miami Dolphins: 5 (Even, -120)
Minnesota Vikings: 9 (-110, -110)
New England Patriots: 11 (-140, +120)
New Orleans Saints: 10.5 (+120, -140)
New York Giants: 6 (+110, -130)
New York Jets: 7.5 (-110, -110)
Oakland Raiders: 6 (-130, +110)
Philadelphia Eagles: 10 (+105, -125)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 9 (-125, +105)
San Francisco 49ers: 8 (-110, -110)
Seattle Seahawks: 8.5 (-140, +120)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6.5 (Even, -120)
Tennessee Titans: 8 (+110, -130)
Washington: 6.5 (+120, -140)
For a more in-depth look, check out out breakdowns by division:
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Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
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