With the commencement of the NFL regular season less than three months away, over/under season win totals have been released. Last season’s champion, the New England Patriots, opened with the highest over/under number at 11.0 while the lowly Cleveland Browns opened with the lowest over/under number at 4.0. With a finish to last season for the ages, let’s hope that the same excitement is in store for this season. Below are several factors to take into consideration when betting NFL regular season win totals:
Not all NFL teams have equally favourable schedules and the way a team’s schedule is constructed may provide or take away a few extra wins. Having an easy schedule may help a decent team seem like a great team whereas having a tough schedule can make a great team look average. Specific factors to take into account include amount and distance of travelling required, consecutive number of games that should be relatively easy to win or challenging, and who a team plays at home versus on the road. Additionally, a team’s schedule may pit them against mostly tough opposition or mostly easy opposition, which may have a significant effect on a team’s total number of wins.
Strength of Division
The strength of a particular team’s division must be factored in due to the fact that a team plays each of their division’s teams twice, which amounts to six games played or 37.5% of all regular season games – a significant percentage. If a team’s division rivals are above average teams, this presents more of a challenge as opposed to a team’s division with below average teams.
Over the course of a regular season, player injuries are inevitable. As a result, it is important to assess a team’s depth, as there will not be a team in the NFL that does not lose a key player for a significant amount of time. While it is easy to analyze a team’s starting roster and come to conclusions from that, one must also take on a more pessimistic viewpoint in order to consider factors that are out of your control. Teams that are successful in beating the over on win totals are the ones that benefit from minimal injuries or ones that possess the depth to replace the players lost to injuries. How a team adjusts to player injuries will be paramount to their success over the course of a long and punishing season.
Since NFL oddsmakers take the public’s perception of teams into account, you should be wise to do so as well. There are some teams that the public is in love with and other teams where the public tries to stay away from. If oddsmakers are confident that the public will mostly be betting on the over for a specific team, the line will be pushed a bit higher than it should be. If more people bet on the over than expected, the line will be pushed ever higher. As a result, it is important to try to get into the public’s mind in order to get a sense for which teams’ over/under totals they will be leaning towards. If a team has received an extensive amount of positive media coverage, the public may be more inclined to view the team more favourably. The most popular teams in the NFL will usually receive a majority of bets for the over and are often overvalued as a result. Additionally, the over/under totals may shift significantly from when they were first posted to the day before the start of the regular season. A bet that would make sense for the opening line may no longer make sense on the last day before the start of the season.