The best time of the sports year is upon us: football season is almost here! Training camps open next week, preseason games start soon after, and for college football, the real games begin as early as the final Saturday in August!
So it’s time to dive into win totals bets and find which teams will surprise or disappoint their fans this year.
Below I’ll give you 10 each from the pros and college ranks where I see the best value. Take these predictions to Vegas as you see fit!
All lines via BetOnline.ag and / or HeritageSports.eu. The standard line is -110 ($110 bet wins you $100 profit).
Arizona Cardinals: UNDER 8.5 wins (-125)
I can’t say I’m overly confident in this pick as Bruce Arians’ teams generally over-achieve. To me, this team just isn’t playoff-bound so 8-8 appears to be the ceiling. Expect massive personnel changes come next offseason including at the quarterback position.
Chicago Bears: UNDER 4.5 wins (+155)
John Fox is in his last season as an NFL head coach as I see it and it doesn’t help that he has two inexperienced QBs and one of the two worst receiving cores in football (along with the Jets).
Cleveland Browns: UNDER 3.5 wins (+190)
They are improved over last year but still a very young and lousy team. They might have the worst QB trio in the league yet again. Should be favored over the Jets in Week 5 but otherwise, they’ll have to pull off three upsets to hit the win total over.
Denver Broncos: OVER 8.5 wins (+110)
They open with 3 of 4 at home and by starting fast, the Broncos should be contenders to win the AFC West. I like this value for a team with an elite defense.
Green Bay Packers: OVER 10.5 wins (+115)
Assuming the Packers offensive line keeps Aaron Rodgers upright, this is a 12 or 13 win squad who should be the favorite to win the NFC by midseason.
Jacksonville Jaguars: OVER 6.5 wins (-120)
A good friend of mine put a sizable wager in Vegas this past weekend on the Jags to win the Super Bowl at 125-1. If they pull off the stunner of all stunners, he’ll make enough to be able to buy a decent-sized house with his winnings. Not happening whatsoever…but a 7-9 or 8-8 season looks promising with a strong defense. (As a side note: when you wonder how Vegas gets so rich, people betting on the Jaguars to win the Super Bowl is certainly a contributor.)
New England Patriots: OVER 13.5 wins (+210)
I’m calling for a 16-0 regular season so this isn’t much of a surprise.
New York Giants: OVER 8.5 wins (-155)
Not great value on this play…but an improved passing attack and potential Ezekiel Elliott-troubles in Dallas make the Giants my NFC East frontrunner.
New York Jets: UNDER 3.5 wins (+130)
This is a bad, bad football team. 0-16 is a possibility and even if they win a few games, I can’t see anything more than 3-13. Find a game on their schedule where they will be favored…I sure can’t!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OVER 9 wins (+175)
My NFC sleeper team in 2017. Jameis Winston should have a huge season leading the Bucs to a 10-6 record and NFC South Division title.
One note: conference championships & bowl games don’t count for these over / unders.
Arizona Wildcats: OVER 5.5 wins (+125)
While I’ve predicted them to go 5-7, the schedule isn’t bad until late. Could the ASU game decide the over/under? I like the value (+125) so I’d play the over conservatively (aka don’t empty your wallet).
Arizona State Sun Devils: UNDER 5 wins (-125)
Let me clarify this one: I think ASU very well may be more talented than UofA. And I wanted to pick the over as there is value. But have you seen their schedule? It’s like murderers row come Pac-12 season! Beat San Diego State and win at Texas Tech in September and you’ll likely have at least a push. Then comes Oregon, at Stanford, Washington, at Utah, and USC at home. Lose both the non-conference games and Todd Graham won’t make it to November.
Baylor Bears: UNDER 7.5 wins (-120)
New coach, only 13 returning starters, and possibly Anu Solomon (former UofA QB) as their starter. Considering the Big XII plays a full round-robin schedule, I don’t see Baylor surpassing the 7 win mark.
BYU Cougars: UNDER 9.5 wins (-115)
First of all, they play 13 regular season games hence the inflated win total. But with games against LSU (in Houston), Utah, and Wisconsin to start the season, anything less than 2-1 in those three and this under is a lock.
Michigan Wolverines: UNDER 9 wins (+100)
I don’t care that Jim Harbaugh is a great coach. They have FIVE returning starters…that’s it…FIVE! This team won’t come close to winning 9 games especially with a back-loaded schedule including trips to Penn State, Wisconsin, and the finale at home against Ohio State.
Oklahoma State Cowboys: OVER 9 wins (-125)
I’m all in on the college football-version of the Cowboys this year. Senior QB-WR combination Mason Rudolph-to-James Washington should be among the best tandems in the country. I expect the Cowboys to win at least 10 games with 9 as a worst case scenario barring injuries.
Penn State Nittany Lions: OVER 9.5 wins (-130)
This is a really good team with 15 returning starters! I expect Penn State to be favored in every game this season with the exception of a trip to Ohio State in late-October. I’ll predict an 11 win regular season and a trip to the College Football Playoff (Final Four).
UCLA Bruins: OVER 6.5 wins (-155)
Playing chalky lines like -155 isn’t my favorite thing. But this is such a good bet that I couldn’t resist. If they win one of these three road games: at Memphis, at Arizona, and / or at Utah, the over should be a cinch. If UCLA only wins 7 though, Coach Jim Mora will be looking for a Southern California realtor at the end of the season.
Virginia Tech Hokies: UNDER 9 wins (-120)
The schedule isn’t tough for second year coach, Justin Fuente, but I’m not betting on a team with an unproven redshirt freshman QB and only 12 returning starters winning double-digit regular season games.
Wisconsin Badgers: UNDER 10.5 wins (-120)
They may have 15 returning starters but this team isn’t going 11-1. The schedule is favorable with only BYU, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota as road opponents. Not a murderer’s row there. Still I’ll say 10-2 at best.
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2 thoughts on “Best Bets: Finding Value In NFL and College Football Team Win Over / Unders”
I agree with all your college picks.
Not sure about the Buccaneers win total. I do like the Raiders over 10 however and Redskins under 7.5.
This maybe homer comment but I really disagree with the Cardinals.
Think the Cardinals win one of the first two road games (1-1)
Lose to Cowboys (1-2)
Beat 49ers (2-2)
Lose to Eagles (2-3)
Win the next three of Buccaneers Rams and 49ers (5-3)
I think the Cardinals should at least compete really well vs the Seahawks at home but lets call this a loss in case the Cardinals slip up in one of the previous 3 games (5-4)
Cardinals go on another run after a mini bye week and beat the Texans, Jaguars, Rams, Titans and Redskins (10-4)
Cardinals slip against the Giants as they are in the lead in the NFC West and a little full of themselves (10-5)
Lose at Seahawks (10-6) Same record as the Seahawks and tie breakers determine NFC West winner
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Not sure how I feel about that Cardinals 10 win prediction. Sure, it’s very possible. But I’m not bullish on the Cardinals QB situation (Carson Palmer included) hence I’m taking 8 wins or less.