Reflections on the 2019 NFL season win totals with an eye towards 2020.
This Sunday the word "seedings" comes into play into our vocabulary along with "draft order position" for significant reasons to focus in with great intent on the last week of the NFL regular season. It's intense for most football fans and especially for those aching with love for their home teams current and future fortunes.
But can we all remember what we were investing hours thinking about at the beach, at picnics or perhaps during Summer vacation back in August? Many (including myself) were living in the moment, to forecast the OVER/UNDER Win Totals for each team going into the new 2019 NFL season. At that time, the most significant wagering investment to put aside a reasonable amount of cash to be hopefully available come Christmas time and the New Year. Ho, ho, ho. It's here.
Perhaps not so jolly for those who had significant faith in the 2018 Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Chargers to continue their winning ways. Or those who wrote off the usual chances of the Buffalo Bills. Maybe it wasn’t possible to witness the Kansas City Chiefs or New England Patriots continue to be this good? In all, like all NFL seasons, there were many surprises.
The following is a consensus of the preferred list of sportsbooks starting the NFL regular season back on September 1st and where things stand today going into the final week of action. *Keep in mind, many were numbers tilted either way (-/+) beyond the usual -110 money line depending on action received.
|Team||Preseason Total Wins||Current # of Wins|
|New England Patriots||11||12|
|San Francisco 49ers||8||12|
|Green Bay Packers||9||11|
|New Orleans Saints||10.5||12|
|Kansas City Chiefs||10.5||11|
|Los Angeles Rams||10.5||8|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6.5||7|
|Los Angeles Chargers||9.5||5|
|New York Jets||7.5||6|
|New York Giants||6||4|
The biggest surprise looking at the entire chart is the small number of teams where the result has come down to the final 17th week game. Either oddsmakers didn't do a very good job of forecasting results or maybe players didn’t do a thorough investigation of current trends. They relied on past season applications, draft picks and over hype from the media, etc. Or likely the biggest unknown aspect of all: Injuries. Just ask anybody who backed the win total going over for the Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers or Detroit Lions. Incredibly, some bettors could get a push in the win total this Sunday with a Steelers victory.
As of week 16, here are the teams who have already officially gone over or under their win total this season through a consensus of the top online sportsbooks Including Bovada, BetOnline, 5Dimes and WagerWeb.
Over: Ravens, 49ers, Bills, Seahawks, Packers, Vikings, Texans, Bucs, Saints, Patriots
Under: Eagles, Chargers, Falcons, Bengals, Jaguars, Falcons, Lions, Rams, Browns, Panthers, Redskins, Giants, Cowboys.
On the "over" list the only team that strikes me as somewhat of a surprise is the Tampa Bay Bucs who are a gamble each week with Jameis Winston at QB. Winston has set NFL records this season with his high touchdowns and interceptions ratio. You never know with him whether you’re getting three touchdown passes or three interceptions and likely both every game.
Classify both the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills as "way overs". If you had those overachievers secured back in August, you had your wagers won by Thanksgiving.
The "unders" are your more predictable disappointment list and there were many this season. Thirteen in all and perhaps a few more to be added after the season completes this Sunday.
Although NFL executives would never admit it, they are often tied to predictable coach firings and personnel changes. Notice the Washington Redskins are on the list. And it features several top candidates to axe their head coaches come next Monday including the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants and hopefully the Cleveland Browns. Funny that "under the season win total" often means a pink slip under your door come playoff time.
Here are teams where this Sunday's game is in play for determining the fate of their Over/Under win total for the NFL regular season:
Pittsburgh Steelers. A win puts them at a possible push in the total (9). A loss adds them to the under list.
Tennessee Titans. Tricky. Depending on where you wagered, their consensus win total of (8). A win likely puts you over, a loss might either be a push or perhaps another under.
Indianapolis Colts. Even more peculiar due to Andrew Luck’s late pre-season retirement. Depending on when a bettor invested, either a lock already on under. Or needing a win to go over the total this Sunday.
Denver Broncos. A win likely puts you at a push, again depending on which book wagered upon.
Arizona Cardinals. A mild surprise with their win over the Seattle Seahawks last week. Win totals investment bettors were likely figuring they had an under wager secured. Now another possible upset win over the LA Rams could put them over for the season.
Lessons for 2020
As the toothpaste is out of tube for possibly cashing in on the 2019 team win total wager, what significant lessons could we learn while improving our tan next Summer:
Go Underboard. That is, spend more time isolating certain teams with the best opportunity to fail against their predicted win total. No one can predict significant injuries, but certain chances occur to see where teams are playing against improved teams in their divisions or may have won several close games the year before. The Los Angeles Chargers standout as an example here. They were now up against improved Broncos and Raiders teams plus handled an aging Phillip Rivers at quarterback, who pulled them through many wins in 2018.
Lame-duck Head Coaches. There will be a record number of them to select from next year. Those who will be given the “make the playoffs or else” warning. No surprise the Atlanta Falcons made the under list this year with their coach Dan Quinn expected to be tossed next week. Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden was axed in early November, long before anyone had a prayer of seeing a meager six wins go over.
In all, good luck this week if you have an investment on the Steelers, Titans, Colts, Cards and Broncos. For the rest of you, either a nice New Year’s gift waiting or future tickets long ago past forgotten.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.