The true NFL offseason is officially upon us. Mandatory minicamp has come to a close and players from all 32 teams have gone their separate ways. Most players will get some vacation time in while continuing to work out in preparation for the return to training camp in late July. Once training camp arrives, the road to Super Bowl 54 begins in earnest.
Each year, sports bettors are able to wager on where they think each team will finish up in the win column. Sportsbooks release a number for a team’s win total and you can bet over or under that number. If you land on the number, it’s a push, or tie.
Below are win totals for the four teams in the NFC West. The number in parenthesis is the juice on the over and the under. For example, if you bet the over on 11 wins for the Patriots, the payout is -140 (you bet $140 to win $100). If you bet the under, the payout is +120 (you bet $100 to win $120). That means the over is the favorite.
Sportsbooks are not predicting each team will win the number of games on the win total. Rather, they are setting a number so that they can get a similar amount of money on both sides of the wager. They do not want an extensive liability on one side or the other since then they would be relying on a specific outcome. With even money on both sides of a wager, the house will profit more often than not.
Now that roster overhauls are mostly complete and teams have finished up spring workouts, we took a few minutes to chat with site managers from each SB Nation team blog. They offered reasons why their team could end up over the win total and why their team could end up under the win total. The sites pay close attention to their teams and have more insight than your average national reporter.
New England Patriots: 11 (-140, +120) — Pats Pulpit
Why over: Fun (at least when you’re from the northeastern regions of the country) fact: over the ten-year span since Tom Brady returned from an ACL tear that cost him all of 2008, the Patriots averaged 11.3 wins per regular season. The only times they failed to win more than 11 came in 2009, Brady’s first season back, and last year when they went 11-5. So just going by probabilities, you should take the over. The Patriots have also shown in 2018 that the dynasty is still alive and well. And while the team has suffered considerable losses since winning the Super Bowl, Brady, Belichick, and company should never be betted against – especially considering that they will go against three divisions this year that are projected to be rather inconsistent: the AFC and NFC East as well as the AFC North.
Why under: Before lifting the Lombardi Trophy to cap the 2018 season, the Patriots won 11 regular season games. Problem is — at least as things stand today — that the team has gotten worse since then: gone are Rob Gronkowski, Trey Flowers, Trent Brown, and seven assistant coaches. Drafting N’Keal Harry in round one should help a bit, yes, but Bill Belichick and company still need to do a mighty fine job of getting him and the rest of the offseason acquisitions up to speed quickly to help replace Gronkowski, Flowers and company. If they fail to do that to a sufficient degree, or if the injury bug bites key players such as Tom Brady, New England could very well fall below 11 victories for the first time since 2009.
New York Jets: 7.5 (-110, -110) — Gang Green Nation
Why over: They’ve invested heavily on both sides of the ball, but those offensive investments are what could get this team up to .500 or better. Adding Le’Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder, and Kelechi Osemele are key talent infusions, and quarterback Sam Darnold is coming off a solid rookie year that was overshadowed by Baker Mayfield. The on-field additions are big, but the move to new head coach Adam Gase could be the key in 2019. We saw all sorts of drama between him and Mike Maccagnan before the latter was abruptly fired in May. This roster is not yet built for sustained long-term success, or even clear-cut playoff contender success, but there’s enough talent on the table to get this team to .500.
Why under: The Jets have made some solid additions via the draft, but the bulk of their impact additions have been free agent signings. The talent is intriguing, but focusing roster-building on overpaying in free agency is something that often does not pay significant dividends. Add in the drama surrounding Gase-Maccagnan and Gase’s track record as a head coach, and things could go south in a hurry.
Buffalo Bills: 6.5 (-130, +110) — Buffalo Rumblings
Why over: The Bills will not be playoff contenders in 2019, but their offseason additions point to a team that could easily get the one more win necessary over 2018 to hit the over. They surrounded Josh Allen with upgrades at virtually every single position, and while the ceilings for some of those players are relatively low long-term, they are solid additions for 2019. Veteran tackle Ty Nsekhe, guard Spencer Long, and center Mitch Morse will help, and rookie guard Cody Ford is a solid core addition. The Bills added defensive tackle Ed Oliver through the draft. They are coming off a -5 turnover differential, and if that number can move back toward the mean, this is a team that could flirt with .500.
Why under: The biggest question mark could be the ground game. The team added notable veteran Frank Gore to the backfield and drafted Devin Singletary in the third round. Those two plus LeSean McCoy don’t exactly wow for the time being. If the ground game is ineffective and the offense is laid on Josh Allen’s shoulders, things could get ugly.
Miami Dolphins: 5 (Even, -120) — The Phinsider
Why over: The Dolphins have more talent than people realize, especially as everyone lost to injury last year begins returning this year. Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, and Brice Butler are a solid wide receiver group that can have periods of domination when they start using their speed. Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage should be a powerful 1-2 at running back. Mike Gesicki should grow into his role as the starting tight end in his second season. Xavien Howard, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Reshad Jones, and Bobby McCain make up four of the five defensive backs positions - then add in TJ. McDonald who can play up the box as a thumping safety/linebacker mix. Raekwon McMillan, Jerome Baker, and Kiko Alonso are solid linebackers when they are put in the right role - and McMillan and Baker are just growing into the NFL. There is a lot of talent that just needs to be put together - plus the addition of Josh Rosen.
Why under: The offensive line is still a giant question mark, the pass rush has to be discovered still, and the Dolphins are getting really young, really fast. If position groups and the entire offense/defense are not able to come together, or any of the young players are unable to live up to expectations, it could be a long year. At quarterback, the Dolphins will either be relying on Ryan Fitzpatrick and hoping for Fitzmagic more than Fitztragic, or on Rosen and hoping he learned as a rookie in Arizona and will now play like the franchise quarterback he may be. If neither quarterback can do those things, Miami will struggle to find their way to five wins.
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Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
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