The NFL offers betting opportunities long before the opening weekend in September. One of those wagers that’s extremely popular is the projected win total.
The win total is simply the total number of games a team is expected to win over the entire season. The bettor has the option of wagering over or under the projected number. The sports betting operator will usually make the number end in .5 so neither side can push or end in a tie.
Most people will be swept up in the emotion of betting the total of their favorite or home team. While that’s the most popular practice, that’s not always the best strategy to make a win total wager. Let’s look at some factors that lead to making an intelligent play.
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NFL Schedule Big Factor
The schedule is the first thing to consider. How many times is your team favored during the 17-game schedule. During the 2022 regular season, NFL moneyline favorites that were -115 or lower posted a record of 175-88-2. That’s a winning percentage of 66.5%. So, if your team was favored in every game, based on this theory they would win 11 games out of 17. If they were favored in 10 games, they would win six games. Compare those numbers to your team’s projected win total. If the team wins the total within one to two games of the scenarios indicated, they are a clear candidate for making a win total Over wager.
The next factor is the strength of schedule. Is the team playing a tough conference and out of division schedule? If your team played the AFC North or the NFC East in 2022, the results wouldn’t be favorable. The AFC North won 75% of their non-conference games. The NFC East won 85% of their non-conference games. Each team plays 5 non-conference games. If you don’t see your team winning two or more games in the non-conference, avoid them going Over their projected win total.
The last two to three years of wins are another indicator of how your team fared compared to the projected win total for those seasons. Did they exceed it in any of those years? If they went over the number in two of the last three seasons, your team merits consideration, assuming they are returning with the core of the team intact.
Lean Towards Consistent Winners
Let’s look at the top teams and their projected wins totals. These win totals are from Caesars Sportsbook.
- Cincinnati Bengals 5
- Kansas City Chiefs 5
- San Francisco 49ers 5
- Philadelphia Eagles 5
- Buffalo Bills 5
Each of these teams exceeded their projected totals in 2022. The Bengals are the only team in this group that only surpassed their total by one game. The Buffalo Bills will be playing in an improved division with the New York Jets making the addition of QB Aaron Rodgers; the top off-season acquisition.
The Kansas City Chiefs have exceeded their projected total in each of the past three seasons. The Philadelphia Eagles improved their team through the draft and via trades, so their win total should be achievable.
Also, look at teams that fall in the next tier of NFL Win totals within their division. This is a smaller sample but has more relevance. These teams play each other every year and have familiarity. If your team didn’t make a coaching change this is clearly a handicapping situation where a trend is established. The Dallas Cowboys win total in the division is over 3.5. They have exceeded that number in the last two seasons. If they split with the Eagles and the New York Giants, it is conceivable that they will sweep the Washington Commanders. The Cowboys have four wins. The price is a hefty -175. Grab it early because this price will go up.
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Improvement Pays Off
One team that will make a dramatic improvement is the Denver Broncos. They should go Over the 8.5-win total. The price is -105. The addition of Sean Payton as head coach and the resurgence of QB Russell Wilson should account for four more wins this season.
The Broncos won five games in 2022. They have a favorable out of conference divisional schedule because they are playing the NFC North. The NFC North has an 8-11-1 record against non-conference opponents. The Green Bay Packers accounted for four of those wins. I see the potential for two to three wins from that group. The Packers and Minnesota Vikings are two teams of that group that the Broncos can beat at home. The Packers don’t have Rodgers so don’t expect them to play as well. The Vikings under Kirk Cousins do not play well in prime time and that game is a Sunday Night contest in November. Denver also opens the season against the Washington Commanders. This should be a win! Take Denver at a great price to go over the win total.
Remember to look at the recent history, strength of schedule and matchups as you make your selections for NFL Win totals this fall.
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