Preseason look at NFL season wins totals
Although preseason games may seem the only current alternative for bettors eager to wager on NFL action, there are without question better ways to spend time handicapping and money betting. Whether it be either point spreads, the money line or over/under total wagering, as I've endlessly covered, the NFL preseason is an exercise in historic wagering futility.
But wait. Don't solely concentrate on Major League Baseball just yet. Or gather up another $25,000 to show on Arrogate this Saturday in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. If you can't wait to bet on the NFL, several preferred sportsbooks delegate a significant portion of their menu to NFL Future Wagering. Their most popular segment is devoted to Win Totals for individual teams in the regular season.
Best Bet NFL Season Totals
Game One is only three weeks away. Again, the most reliable axiom to note here is "follow what the line is telling you". That means there rarely are wagering line bargains and if something looks too good to be true it usually is 95% of the time.
For example, two years ago the Minnesota Vikings were listed by most sportsbooks at Over 6.5 (-190). It was initially suspicious due to their previous failings the year before. Alas, the Vikings cruised to an 11-5 season under rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater and bettors who paid attention to the "smart money" had their money won by mid-November. The bets continued to pour in on Minnesota as a headlight toward a great season.
Taking that consistent template as a guide, here are the strongest current indicators from leading offshore sportsbook Bovada:
Carolina Panthers -175 Over 8.5
OK, which Carolina Panthers will show up this season? The Super Bowl edition from a few years ago or the team that fell flat on their face last year. Keep in mind that failure included many close, tough losses and a pouting QB Cam Newton, who never seemed to get over that Super Bowl disaster. That's why the line is telling you something here and paying that -175 price looks worth it with a fresh start.
On the field, the Panthers are loaded with All-Pro talent. WR Kelvin Benjamin and LB Luke Kuechly are 100% healthy again. Carolina has among the best defensive units in the NFL. This could be the best steal on the board. The only real concern is their competition in what might be the league's top division this year. Expect Tampa Bay to be improved and Atlanta fighting back for Super Bowl redemption.
Jacksonville Jaguars -165 Over 6.5
An iffy proposition here as the Jags disappointed last year in a similar optimistic situation. The difference this year is the Jacksonville offense with QB Blake Bortles having more experience. More so, the added excitement comes from rookie RB Leonard Fournette from LSU. The Jaguars have never had a star and this could be the guy. Add on underrated WR Allen Robinson with a good offensive line and the Jags will score points. More questions will come from a young defense but Over 6 wins is very foreseeable.
Miami Dolphins -170 Under 7.5
Not surprising everyone has lost confidence in the Dolphins with their rash of key injuries mounting weekly. It's become a who's going down next after starting QB Ryan Tannehill was finished for the season in practice. Now RB Jay Ajayi is in concussion protocol and star WR Jarvis Landry still has his court case hanging over his head before the regular season. It's nice to get Jay Cutler out of retirement to play quarterback. However, it doesn't help team morale to see reliable QB Matt Moore head back to the bench after filling in admirably last season for Tannehill. Under 8 wins looks good.
New York Jets -220 Under 4.5
This one is basically your Vikings of 2015 but with more anxiety. Instead of counting wins you will be counting losses to cash a ticket. But the Jets are expected to be the NFL's worst team and why they kept head coach Todd Bowles on remains a mystery. Longtime back-up Josh McCown takes over at QB but it might not be long before either Bryce Petty or even Christian Hackenberg finds their way into the NY Jets huddle. A tough schedule and being in a division with the Patriots doesn't help. The only good news is the Dolphins injury problems aiding their win chances. But overall, likely their Number One choice in the NFL draft next year awaits.
San Francisco 49ers -170 Over 4.5
This is a solid bet now that the Niners have eliminated their major problems and excess drama. With Chip Kelly and Colin Kaepernick gone, the future can only be brighter. New head coach Kyle Shanahan should be able to squeeze out at least 5 wins in this division with experienced QB Brian Hoyer, solid RB Carlos Hyde and veteran WR Pierre Garcon. The 49ers defense was reasonable good last year and should be better this season. Only major concern would be injuries as this team cannot afford anyone to go down.
Individual NFL Player Props
Many interesting and potentially profitable props are available from all preferred sportsbooks. Here's a popular regular season example from major offshore sportsbook BetOnline:
Total TD Passes by Aaron Rodgers (GB)
Over 35½ TD Passes -120
Under 35½ TD Passes -110
Total TD Passes by Drew Brees (NO)
Over 33½ TD Passes -115
Under 33½ TD Passes -115
Total TD Passes by Tom Brady (NE)
Over 35½ TD Passes -120
Under 35½ TD Passes -110
Difficult to bet the Under for any of these future Hall of Famers HOWEVER, one of these QB's figures to miss some significant time this year due to injury. All would be forecasted to throw about 35+ touchdowns IF they played all 16 regular season games. My hunch here is Drew Brees' luck plus age finally will be a factor. Add to that more dependence on the Saints running game. Under 33.5 TD passes could be an effective play.
Overall, the BEST BET is avoiding all NFL preseason wagers by focusing on this variety of more patient regular-season prop opportunities. Think of them as long-term investments worth your careful thought and study.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, inlcuding previews and picks from Glenn, click here.