Some sports books will be releasing their 2015 NFL Season Team Win Totals in the next couple of months, but this handicapper get's a head-start on mulling potential NFC Team Totals.
In Part 1 of this two-part NFL Season Win Totals piece, we looked at the rough AFC Team Win Totals, so now it’s time to examine the NFC. Odds for Season Win Totals will start coming out in the next two to three months. and last year, CG Technology (formerly Cantor Gaming) actually had its opening numbers posted in March while the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook released its 2014 NFL Season Win Totals on May 18 (2014).
The 2015 NFL season begins on Thursday, Sept. 10—part of ‘NFL Kickoff 2015 Weekend’—with the Super Bowl XLIX champion New England Patriots hosting an opponent to be named. With the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers both on the list of New England’s Home opponents for the coming year, it would definitely be a nice way to start of the new season with a game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro against one of these two teams from the Keystone State, with the Steelers and QB Ben Roethlisberger probably providing the ultimate primetime TV matchup.
Here is a look at the NFC, with last season’s Team Win Totals from the SuperBook here in Sin City, the result, the team’s record and a range where the 2015 season’s number could open, looking at who each team has to face twice in their own divisions as well as their non-divisional opponents. We’ll obviously reexamine all of this in the future when real, hard numbers have been released.
The schedule-maker has been good to the NFC East for the coming 2015 NFL Season, blessing its inhabitants with games against the AFC East and the NFC South, along with two meetings apiece with the half-lackluster members of its own division. The skinny? This may be good for the division’s top two teams—the Dallas Cowboys (Last season: 8; Over, 12-4) and the Philadelphia Eagles (Last season: 9; Over, 10-6), both of whom went over their respective 2014 NFL Season Win Totals. Tony Romo and the Cowboys have to play the three toughest teams in the NFL right now next season—the Super Bowl champion Patriots and last year’s titlists, the Seattle Seahawks—both at Home—and Dallas also has to play Green Bay at Lambeau Field. And Jerry’s Boys also have have a date with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in The Big Easy, and, with the Eagles twice, the Cowpoke’s schedule is challenging to say the least. The 8 odds makers hung last season will be too low to be the opener as Dallas improved much last season and had a nice run. The overall interest in America’s Team means a 9 or a 9½ could be the number. As far as the Eagles, Philadelphia is at New England and Detroit, but the overall look of this team’s opponents hints at a good season in the City of Brotherly Love, QB willing. The number should be between 8½ and 9½ likely, and even at the high end of that range, the Eagles should get over their Team Win Total and into double-digits in the 2015 NFL season.
The New York Giants (Last season: 8; Under, 6-10) could be the beneficiaries of games with the AFC East and NFC South, but this team is too unpredictable to back here. An 8 or maybe 7½ seems right for 2015, but this team could win 6 games again or explode and win 9. No thank you. And the Washington Redskins (Last season: 7½; Under, 4-12) have issues and last year’s 7½ looks comedic in retrospect. The schedule draw could also help the Redskins, but this team also is shaky at QB and we all know how important the QB position and stability (and sometimes depth) is in the NFL. And great QBs are actually pretty hard to find. Washington will probably be lined anywhere from 5½ to 6½ this campaign, but like the G-Men, this team is schizophrenic and will likely have another disappointing season.
The NFC North’s four teams will play the AFC West and NFC West in 2015, so, besides the talent that lies within those two divisions, travel will also be a reality for The Division Formerly Known As The NFC Central—and betting teams here could be tricky. The Green Bay Packers (Last season: 10½; Over, 12-4) have a very tough schedule in 2015, having to face San Francisco, Arizona, Denver and Carolina on the Road and NFC champs Seattle, Kansas City, San Diego and Dallas all at Home. The Pack will probably be lined at 11 or 10½ again, but with so many potential landmines from September to December, just finding individual spots on QB Aaron Rodgers seems wiser. The Chicago Bears (Last season: 8½; Under, 5-11) are living or dying by QB Jay Cutler and 3½ games under last year’s posted Team Win Total (8½) with 5 wins does not seem like something Papa Bear George Halas would be enjoying if he were still alive. Odds makers should drop Chicago’s number to a range of 6 to 7, but even with a sparkly new coach (former Broncos head man John Fox), it could still take some years for Da Bears to right the ship...if not longer.
The Detroit Lions (Last season: 8½; Over, 11-5) exceeded expectations last season, thanks in great part to a staunch defense and no doubt odds makers make the Lions Team Win Totals number around 9 or 9½ this season. But the aforementioned schedule with its games against members of the AFC West and NFC West will be a tough weight to bear and the Lions need to be more consistent offensively. And, the Minnesota Vikings (Last season: 6; Over, 7-9) can thank the Bears for getting them out of the NFC North cellar, but the Vikings number will most likely be about the same (6, 6½) as it was last season and having to face the Packers and Lions each twice as well as the Seahawks at Home and Denver Broncos and San Francisco on the Road is tough sledding although the Home slate this season looks to be pretty appetizing if you’re a Vikings fan.
This division was the laughingstock of the league last year and could really use a break and the schedule-maker came through for the NFC South, giving them the AFC South and NFC East this 2015 NFL Season. Sometimes it’s the little things. Expect the New Orleans Saints (Last season: 10; Under, 7-9) and Atlanta Falcons (Last season: 8½; Under, 6-10) season Win Team Totals to be down some—Saints 9 or 9½, Falcons 8½ or 8—and if Atlanta is set at 8½ or less, the under is advised. The Carolina Panthers (Last season: 8; Over, 7-8-1) will likely have a better start to 2015 and should challenge the Saints for the division, and the number for Carolina should again be 8. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last season: 7; Under, 2-14) can’t possibly have a season as bad as they did in 2014, can they? But where this number will be set is a mystery to me. Definitely not as high as last year’s 7, but also not as low as 4. Games against beatable Washington, the New York Giants, Jacksonville and Tennessee will probably determine whether or not the Bucs finish over or under their posted Season Team Win Total. Quite simply, there is not much to say about this division except that the Saints and Panthers should do better and that there’s no way all four residents will linger at or under the .500 mark for the duration of the 2015 NFL season. If it happens again, we really need to call someone.
Happy birthday to you, teams of the NFC West. We have all pitched in and bought you a 2015 NFL schedule with games against the nasty AFC North and the gritty NFC North with an accompanying skid-load of Ultra Strength BENGAY® and a case of lavender-flavored epsom salt. You’re very welcome. The defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks (Last season: 11; Over, 12-4) go from losing Super Bowl XLIX to running through The Football Jungle again with deceivingly tough Home non-divisional dates with Carolina, Detroit and Pittsburgh along with Road tilts against Green Bay, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Dallas. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will probably be lined at 11 again, possibly 10½, but even if Seattle re-signs RB Marshawn Lynch and does something to improve its receiving corps, that Seahawks schedule has too many possible pitfalls and 2 losses at CenturyLink this coming season may very well occur. The Arizona Cardinals (Last season: 7½; Over, 11-5) impressed as much as anyone in the NFL for the bulk of the 2014 season—thanks in great part to the Cardinals defense—but this team fizzled late, playing with a third-string QB it had cut earlier in the season. Odds makers will undoubtedly raise the Arizona Season Team Win Total to 8, maybe 8½, but playing in this rugged division and then also having to dance with the dogs from the AFC and NFC North will likely stifle this Cardinals team which will at least enjoy getting starting QB Carson Palmer (torn ACL) back from injury. A horse is always more comfortable with its usual rider.
In the Show Me State, the gritty St. Louis Rams (Last season: 7; Under, 6-10) will also look to improve and get their starting QB (Sam Bradford) back, who was also sidelined from a torn ACL injury. Expect linesmakers to make the Rams Season Win Total around 7 again, but, like everyone else in this division, the non-divisional slate should be a bitch. And, the San Francisco 49ers (Last season: 10½; Under, 8-8) saw head coach Jim Harbaugh leave, only to be replaced by DL coach Jim Tomsula, and Colin Kaepernick still needs to mature and not be so sporadic at QB. Odds makers will definitely make the 49ers number less than it was in 2014, and 9½ or 9 seems about right. If San Francisco can stay healthy, gel under Tomsula and win on the Road, then maybe it can make a run at the division, but a team’s general demeanor is only as good as its starting QB’s, so teams like the Niners, Bears (Jay Cutler), Redskins (Robert Griffin) and Chargers (Philip Rivers) all suffer when their Main Men are in a psychological funk. And it seems for fans of those teams that they often are—in a psychological funk—a little too much. A nervous QB can make an entire fanbase skittish, brother.
One good thing to do at this point in time is to probably identify one or two teams from each conference where you think you may have an edge. And in this particular market, perceived edges should probably be a 1-game cushion—Example: Willing to bet under at 6½, actual Season Team Win Total at 7½—for bigger bets. Many recreational bettors and fans simply end up backing their favorite teams in the Season Team Win Totals marketplace, usually with the Over, but that money comes in later after the Sharps have pounded the line into the shape most of us eventually see and then bet into. So, if you do have a strong opinion and plan on making a significant bet or bets on Season Team Win Totals, plan to do so as soon as possible (when the markets open) and remember that there are a number of different sports books with different release dates and different NFL Odds so always shop around if you’re serious about having the best number in your pocket for the bet you will have to root on for duration of the NFL season. Konichiwa.
2015 NFC Season Wins Team Total Picks: Eagles Over (Projected: 10-6), Redskins Under (Projected 4-12), Falcons Under (Projected: 7-9), Panthers Over (Projected: 9-7), Cardinals Under (Projected: 8-8)