Over the weeks leading up to the
start of the 2018 NFL Season we shall be reviewing each NFL team and offering Recommendations
and Opinions on whether or not that team is likely to exceed or fall short of the
number of wins posted at most of the Sports Books located both within the State
of Nevada and around the World.
For purposes of this article the source used
is the Westgate Race & Sports Book in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As we reach conclusions
on each team we shall post them on the "Subscribers" version of this Web
Page that is available ONLY TO SUBSCRIBERS to one or more of our weekly Football
Newsletters and/or our Premium Selections Service.
For information on becoming
a Premiums Selections or Newsletter Subscriber CLICK HERE.
As Posted at the Westgate Race & Sports Book, Las Vegas, NV
Totals/Lines As of April 29, 2018 "Current" Totals/Lines As of July
Open Open Curr Curr Curr
TEAM Wins OVER UNDR Wins OVER
----------------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Arizona Cardinals 5 1/2 -130 +110 5 1/2 -145 +125
Atlanta Falcons 9 -110 -110 9 1/2 +110 -130
Baltimore Ravens 8 -120 Even 8 -140 +120
Buffalo Bills 6 1/2 -130 +110 6 +110 -130
Carolina Panthers 9 Even -120 9 +110 -130
Chicago Bears 6 1/2 -130 +110 6 1/2 -150 +130
Cincinnati Bengals 7 Even -120 6 1/2 -135 +115
Cleveland Browns 5 1/2 -120 Even 5 1/2 -160 +140
Dallas Cowboys 8 1/2 -120 Even 8 1/2 -110 -110
Denver Broncos 7 Even -120 7 -140 +120
Detroit Lions 8 Even -120 7 1/2 -130 +110
Green Bay Packers 10 +120 -140 10 +120 -140
Houston Texans 8 1/2 -120 Even 8 1/2 -150 +130
Indianapolis Colts 6 1/2 +110 -130 6 1/2 -130 +110
Jacksonville Jaguars 9 -130 +110 9 -125 +105
Kansas City Chiefs 8 1/2 Even -120 8 1/2 -110 -110
Los Angeles Chargers 9 -140 +120 9 1/2 -120 Even
Los Angeles Rams 9 1/2 -150 +130 10 -110 -110
Miami Dolphins 6 -110 -110 6 1/2 -130 +110
Minnesota Vikings 9 1/2 -150 +130 10 -110 -110
New England Patriots 11 -120 Even 11 -160 +140
New Orleans Saints 9 1/2 -110 -110 9 1/2 -130 +110
N Y Giants 6 1/2 -130 +110 7 -135 +115
N Y Jets 6 +110 -130 6 +105 -125
Oakland Raiders 8 -120 Even 8 -125 +105
Philadelphia Eagles 10 1/2 +120 -140 10 1/2 +110 -130
Pittsburgh Steelers 10 1/2 -110 -110 10 1/2 +105 -125
San Francisco 49ers 9 Even -120 8 1/2 +110 -130
Seattle Seahawks 8 Even -120 8 +110 -130
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6 1/2 -120 Even 6 1/2 +110 -130
Tennessee Titans 8 -110 -110 8 -110 -110
Washington Redskins 7 +110 -130 7 +110 -130
The following 6 teams have had their Total Wins INCREASE since the Opening --
Atlanta from 9 to 9 1/2
L A Chargers from 9 to 9 1/2
L A Rams from 9 1/2 to 10
Miami for 6 to 6 1/2
Minnesota from 9 1/2 to 10
N Y Giants from 6 1/2 to 7
The following 4 teams have had their Total Wins DECREASE since the Opening
Buffalo from 6 1/2 to 6
Cincinnati from 7 to 6 1/2
Detroit from 8 to 7 1/2
San Francisco from 9 to 8 1/2
The Westgate generally uses a
20 cents line in setting a spread for the Overs and Unders. This means that for
a team on which the Over is priced at - 140 the Under is priced at + 120. Likewise
a team on which the opinion is evenly divided the line would be - 110 on the Over
and - 110 on the Under. As the 'favoritism' for an Over or Under increases the
20 cents spread may also increase.
In approaching an analysis of
playing individual teams to go Over or Under their respective win totals, several
global perspectives need to be looked at first.
One key thing to keep in mind
is that the public is usually geared to thinking in the positive -- i.e. that things
will happen rather than that they won't. In other words, much as the public tends
to prefer Favorites over Underdogs in betting the pointspread, and tends to prefer
betting Over the Total Points as opposed to Under the Total Points in individual
games, the Team Over/Under wins are geared more to betting the Over rather than the
Under, be it in terms of the number of wins or the "vig" attached to the
Over vs the Under.
In seasons prior to 2007 there had been huge biases towards
the OVER that resulted in the best values by far being found in playing the UNDERs.
In recent years the public -- especially the so-called "Wise Guys"
part of the public -- has become more enlightened about sports betting in general,
and Over/Under Season Wins in particular.
In 2017 the total number of
projected wins for all 32 teams summed to 258 1/2 for the Opening numers. In 2016
the total number of projected wins for all 32 teams summed to 260 for the Opening
numbers. In 2015 the total number of projected wins for all 32 teams summed to
262 1/2 for the Opening numbers. In 2014 the total number of projected wins for
all 32 teams summed to 258 for the Opening numbers. In 2013 the total number of
projected wins for all 32 teams summed to 260 for the Opening numbers. In 2012
the total number of projected wins for all 32 teams summed to 258 for the Opening
numbers. In 2011 the total number of projected wins for all 32 teams summed to
260 for the Opening numbers. In 2010 the total number of projected wins for all
32 teams summed to 257 1/2 for the Opening numbers. In 2009 the total number of
projected wins for all 32 teams summed to 256 1/2 for the Opening numbers. In
2008 the total number of projected wins for all 32 teams summed to 252 1/2 for the
In seasons prior to 2008 it was not unusual for the "projected"
wins to total in the mid to upper 260's.
A look at the "vig" attached
to the Overs and Unders shows that there has been a shift in that rather than having
the public play OVER inflated Win Total numbers, the public must now pay an unusually
high "vig" to play OVER more realistic (and slightly lower) Win Totals.
More about this shortly as this has become a major change/development.
2018 the total wins sums to 257 1/2 for the Opening numbers. Since then, as
noted above, 6 teams have had their Total Wins increase by 1/2 win each with 4 team
having a decrease of 1/2 win, thus the "current" Total Wins for 2018 has
increased to 258 1/2.
Barring any games that end in ties, there can only
be 256 wins accumulated by the league as a whole, 256 being the total number of regular
season games to be played.
Thus there is an imbalance with a bias towards
the OVER. With the CURRENT 258 1/2 projected wins there are also just 253 1/2 projected
losses (see the "Projected Standings," below).
There was a slight
bias towards the UNDER in 2008 which means that on a global basis there was slight
value in betting the OVER as the Opening Projected Current Wins summed to just 252
1/2 -- 3 1/2 wins less than the 256 games that are played in a season.
In each season since then the bias has been towards the OVER which
means the "value" was globally on betting the UNDER!
In 2009 and
again in 2010 there were slight biases the other way meaning that the global value
was in betting the UNDER as the Total Projected Wins totalled slightly more than
the possible total wins of 256.
In 2011 there was a bias towards the OVER
with 260 projected wins (providing some value to playing the UNDER) as was also the
case in 2012 when 258 total wins were projected and in 2013 when the Total projected
wins summed to 260.
In 2014 there was a slight initial bias to the OVER with
the projection of 258 Total wins. Similarly, in 2015, the bias was towards the OVER
with the projection of 262 1/2 Total wins. And again in 2016 there was a bais towards
the OVER with the Opening Wins summing to 260.
Last season again saw a bias
towards the OVER with 258 1/2 the total projected wins based on the Opening Totals.
in 2018, once again the bias is again towards the OVER, though less than in the past
few seasons, with the Total Wins summing to 257 1/2 at the Opening Totals and a bit
more to the OVER with the "current" 258 1/2 --- 3 1/2 games more than the
256 the league as a whole can win, thus providing a slight "numerical"
value in playing the UNDER.
Going even further, using the "Current --
July 16, 2018" Total Wins, above, if one were to bet EVERY TEAM TO GO OVER their
total by simply the minimum amount possible (1/2 game for teams lines at 1/2 wins
and 1 game for teams lined at whole numbers), it would take 282 wins overall to cash
every ticket, or a league record for 256 games of 282-230, a variance of 52 games.
If you were to bet EVERY TEAM OVER the total and those teams with whole numbers for
their projected wins landed exactly on those numbers and teams with 1/2 wins went
over by the minimum of 1/2 game you are still looking at a total number of 267 to
WIN or PUSH betting EVERY team to go OVER their Total, a variance of 22 games (267-245)
from the 256 being played (this would result in 17 wining plays and 15 pushes --
the 17 wins resulting from the 17 teams with 1/2 wins and the 15 pushes resulting
from the 15 teams that are lined at whole numbers).
Obviously this is impossible
but compare this scenario to betting UNDER for EVERY TEAM in which case the total
number of wins needed to cash every ticket drops to 235, or an overall record of
235-277, a spread of 42 games. To WIN or PUSH EVERY TEAM going UNDER its Total would
require a total of 250 wins, a variance of only 12 games (250-262) from the total
number of 256 games to be played (this would result in the same 17 wins and 15 pushes
since, obviously, only the 17 teams with "half games" would not result
in those Pushes).
"Globally" there is slight value in 2018 in playing
the UNDER with the Total Wins projected at 258 1/2 (i.e. a league record of 258 1/2
- 253 1/2) which is 2 1/2 wins more than the maximum number of possible wins, 256.
One way to get an overview of what the linesmaker expects is to recast
the above table in the form of projected standings, division by division.
doing this exercise we get the following projections.
Based on the "Current"
Win Totals listed above, here is how the Projected 2018 Standings look, Division
AFC EAST NFC EAST
-------------- ------------ -------------- ------------
New England 11.0 - 5.0 Philadelphia 10.5 - 5.5
Miami 6.5 - 9.5 Dallas 8.5 - 7.5
Buffalo 6.0 - 10.0 N Y Giants 7.0 - 9.0
N Y Jets 6.0 - 10.0 Washington 7.0 - 9.0
AFC NORTH NFC NORTH
-------------- ------------ -------------- ------------
Pittsburgh 10.5 - 5.5 Green Bay 10.0 - 6.0
Baltimore 8.0 - 8.0 Minnesota 10.0 - 6.0
Cincinnati 6.5 - 9.5 Detroit 7.5 - 8.5
Cleveland 5.5 - 10.5 Chicago 6.5 - 9.5
AFC SOUTH NFC SOUTH
-------------- ------------ -------------- ------------
Jacksonville 9.0 - 7.0 Atlanta 9.5 - 6.5
Houston 8.5 - 7.5 New Orleans 9.5 - 6.5
Tennessee 8.0 - 8.0 Carolina 9.0 - 7.0
Indianapolis 6.5 - 9.5 Tampa Bay 6.5 - 9.5
AFC WEST NFC WEST
-------------- ------------ -------------- ------------
L A Chargers 9.5 - 6.5 L A Rams 10.0 - 6.0
Kansas City 8.5 - 7.5 San Francisco 8.5 - 7.5
Oakland 8.0 - 8.0 Seattle 8.0 - 8.0
Denver 7.0 - 9.0 Arizona 5.5 - 10.5
By looking at the projected standings we can often spot teams that look out
of place. Such teams are not necessarily those that are predicted to win Divisions
but rather may be teams projected to finish second or teams projected to finish last.
that Divisional realignment in 2002 created eight Divisions, each with exactly four
teams, producing 4 Division winners and 2 Wild Card teams from each Confernece in
the Playoffs. This represented a dramatic change from the prior alignment which featured
five Divisions of five teams each and one Division of six teams and sent 3 Division
winners and 3 Wild Cards from to the Playoffs from each Conference.
from the 6 games against their Divisional rivals, all teams within a Division play
8 of their 10 non-Divisional games against the same 8 opponents -- 4 games against
a specific Division within their conference and 4 "interconference" games
against a specific Division in the other Conference. The other 2 games Conference
gamesand are based upon a team's finish the previous season such that a team will
play the team that finished in the same Divisional position in the other 2 Divisions
within the same conference.
Thus, in 2018 all 4 teams in the AFC East, in
addition to the 6 Divisional games against one another, will play all 4 teams in
the NFC North and all 4 teams in the AFC South. New England, which finished first
last season in the AFC East, will also play the first place finishers in the AFC
North (Pittsburgh) and the AFC West (Kansas City). Buffalo, which finished second
in the AFC East in 2017 will also play the second place finishers from the AFC North
(Baltimore) and the AFC West (L A Chargers). Third place Miami's two "non-common
opponents" are Cincinnati and Oakland while the last place New York Jets will
face Cleveland and Denver.
Major Changes in Bookmaker
Approach to NFL Over/Under Season Win Totals In the Past Decade or so
As referenced above, for many
seasons after the concept of Season Win Totals was introduced there was a built in
value in playing teams UNDER their season win totals as the sum of all team's projected
wins would be significantly greater than the total number of games that would be
played during an NFL season.
For example, 32 teams playing a 16 game schedule
results in a total of 256 regular season games. Often the total projected wins for
the 32 teams would sum to the mid to upper 260's. In fact, between 2002 (the first
season of 32 teams with the addition of the Houston Texans) through 2006 the sum
of Projected Total Wins was been between 261 and 267. In 2007 we saw the sum drop
to 257 1/2, just a game and a half more than the number of games to be played, but
still with the slightest of edges towards playing the UNDER. But in 2008 the sum
was just 252 -- actually creating an edge to the OVER. And in 2009 and 2010 the sum
was virtually right on the 256 games that will be played during the regular season.
For 2011 the Total Wins summed to 260, for the 2012 season the Opening Totals sum
to 258, for 2013 they summed to 260. In 2014 they summed to 258 and they summed to
262 1/2 in 2015. In 2016 the Opening Totals summed to 260. In 2017 the Opening Totals
summed to 258 1/2 and in 2018 they sum to 257 1/2..
As also boted above, in
2008 this shift towards lower Projected Total Wins continued to a point where there
was a numerical edge in playing the OVER. Summing the 32 Projected Win Totals yielded
a result of just 252 1/2 total wins -- 3 1/2 fewer than the number of games to be
played. But rather than blindly conclued that there was now an edge in playing the
OVER, closer inspection showed that any such edge was all but wiped out by the "vig"
attached to playing the OVER.
A look at the first chart above ("Opening
and Current Totals") shows that for 21 of the 32 teams bettors must lay a vig
to play the OVER (using the Current July 16, 2018 Lines). For 11 teams is there a
"plus" price on the OVER with no teams being priced at "Even Money"
for the OVER.
Compare that to playing the UNDER and we see that there are
only 16 teams that require the bettor to lay a vig to play the UNDER while the other
16 teams are either priced with a "plus" price (15 teams) or are at Even
Money (1 team) to play the UNDER.
Thus for 2018 there are both a numerical
value and a price value in looking to play UNDERs!
Note that for 5 teams you
would have to lay some "vig" on both the OVER and the UNDER where the prices
are -110 each way or a split of -115/-105 (Dallas, Kansas City, the L A Rams, Minnesota
look at the past 20 seasons of NFL Season Win Totals (603 team seasons from 1998
through 2016) there have been 299 OVERs, 310 UNDERs and 26 PUSHes -- nearly a 50/50
split that has averaged basically one-half more UNDER than OVER per season for the
20 seasons, a pretty remarkable testament to the NFL as a league of parity. And to
the abilities of the oddsmakers. As we know, the closer results come to being 50/50,
the better the Sports Books generally fare.
In 2016 if you played EVERY team
to go OVER its Total, using $100 as a standard unit of play (risking more than $100
to win $100 when laying vig or laying $100 to win $100 or more when playing even
money or 'plus' teams) -- using the then Current (June 27, 2016) Win Totals and Vigs
from the 2016 study -- you would have risked a total of $ 3,865 to win $ 3,355 (by
wagering $ 2,965 to win $ 2,300 on the 23 teams with minus vig, $ 600 to win $ 755
on the 6 teams with "plus" vig and $ 300 to win $ 300 on the 3 teams at
Had you played every team to stay UNDER its Total you would have
risked a total of $ 3,585 to win $ 3,455 (by wagering $ 1,785 to win $ 1,400 on the
14 teams with a "minus" vig, $ 1,400 to win $ 1,655 on the 15 teams with
a plus vig and $ 400 to win $ 400 on the 4 teams at Even Money).
if you played EVERY team to go OVER its Total, using $100 as a standard unit of play
(as just described) -- using the then Current (July 3, 2017) Win Totals and Vigs
from the 2017 study -- you would have risked a total of $ 3,770 to win $ 3,395 (by
wagering $ 2,570 to win $ 2,000 on the 20 teams with minus vig, $ 700 to win $ 895
on the 7 teams with "plus" vig and $ 500 to win $ 500 on the 3 teams at
Had you played every team to stay UNDER you would have risked
a total of $ 3,680 to win $ 3,410 (by wagering $ 2,080 to win $ 1,600 on the 16 teams
with a "minus" vig, $ 1,500 to win $ 1,710 on the 15 teams with a plus
vig and $ 100 to win $ 100 on the 1 team at Even Money).
For 2018 if you
play EVERY team to go OVER its Total, using $100 as a standard unit of play (as just
described) -- using the Current (July 16, 2018) Win Totals and Vigs as per above
-- you would be risking a total of $ 3,855 to win $ 3,310 (by wagering $ 2,755 to
win $ 2,100 on the 21 teams with minus vig, $ 1,100 to win $ 1,210 on the 11 teams
with "plus" vig and $ 0 to win $ 0 on the 0 teams at Even Money).
play every team to stay UNDER you would be risking a total of $ 3,580 to win $ 3,485
(by wagering $ 1,980 to win $ 1,600 on the 16 teams with a "minus" vig,
$ 1,500 to win $ 1,785 on the 15 teams with a plus vig and $ 100 to win $ 100 on
the 1 team at Even Money).
As noted above, what we have seen more and more
in recent seasons is a major shift in setting season Total Wins.
that the public generally prefers to bet the OVER, and recognizing that over the
long run there will be nearly the same number of teams going OVER their Total Wins
as will be staying UNDER, the Sports Books attaching more of a "minus"
vig to playing the OVER results in a greater bottom line as the public remains willing
to pay that vig to play the OVER.
What the Books may give up in terms of perhaps
one additional OVER winner they will more than make up for in the added "net"
vig they will collect on the OVER losers.
Interestingly for 2011 there
was more "minus vig" on more teams attached to playing the UNDER rather
than the OVER, in contrast to the prior few seasons (and in 2012, 2013, 2014 and
again in 2015), perhaps largely due to the uniqueness of 2011 created by the prolonged
lockout that eliminated all activities for nearly all 5 months of the off-season.
2012 and again in 2013 we saw a return to attaching a much greater overall vig to
playing the OVER than to playing the UNDER which continued in 2014 and again in 2015
although the gap in "minus vig" between OVERs and UNDERs has been reduced.
In 2016 there was a significant gap between the 23 teams that carried a 'minus vig'
on playing the OVER ($2,965) and the 14 teams that carried a 'minus vig' to play
the UNDER ($1,785).
For 2017 the cost to play OVER the Total for the 20 teams
that carried a "vig" on the OVER ($2,570) was considerably greated than
the total cost to play the UNDER for the 16 teams that had a "vig" attached
to the UNDER ($2,080).
And as the above chart shows, for 2018 the cost to
play OVER the Total for the 21 teams carrying a "vig" on the OVER ($2,755)
is considerably greated than the total cost to play the UNDER for the 16 teams that
have a "vig" attached to the UNDER ($1,980).
Thus, over time, from
a "vig" standpoint it has become even more attractive to seek out UNDERs
as we are more likely to get them at Even Money or better, even though we may be
playing UNDER a number that could be a half game lower than in the past (no way of
knowing this, of course, as every season sets up uniquely, but the half game is a
reasonable estimate based on the decline in the overall total of projected wins from
the mid 260's to the mid 250's to 260 range).
At the same time, it becomes
imperative to proceed cautiously when considering an OVER play as we must now pay
a higher price than in the past to back the OVER, even though we may be playing OVER
a number that is roughly a half game lower than it might have been in the past (for
the same reason as just mentioned for the UNDERs). As noted before, the reverse
was the case for the unique 2011 season.
Therefore, we have seen a tradeoff
involving the number of projected wins and the vigorish attached.
we outline and discuss below regarding Playoff teams, combined with the detailed
history we will provide, is still a valid way of looking for teams to play OVER their
Totals while at the same time our similarly outlined approach to playing UNDERs offers
greater returns due to the increased "plus" vigs.
Some Approaches To Playing
Season Win Totals
In the past, our general approach
was twofold -- to look for teams that figure to struggle and thus teams to be played
Under their Total, taking advantage of the built in value in the Under. But there
is also a strategy geared towards finding teams that may be played Over their Total.
This strategy involves looking for teams that you expect to make the Playoffs and
has a total wins listed of 9 games or less.
In most seasons it will take at
least 10 wins to qualify for a Wild Card. In fact, since the NFL adopted its present
Playoff format of 12 teams (6 division winners and 6 Wild Cards beginning in 1990,
since modified in 2002 with Realignment to 8 Division winners and 4 Wild Card teams
but still producing 12 Playoff teams each season) there have been 336 teams to make
the Playoffs in those 28 seasons. Of those 336 teams, 275 of them had at least 10
wins and another 49 teams had exactly 9 wins. Only 12 teams made the Playoffs with
8-8 records or worse (including San Diego, winner of the AFC West at 8-8 in 2008,
7-9 Seattle, winner of NFC West in 2010, 8-8 Denver, winner of the AFC West in 2011,
8-7-1 Green Bay, winner of the NFC North in 2013 and 7-8-1 Carolina, winner of the
NFC South in 2014).
Looked at another way, 81.8% of all Playoff teams won
at least 10 games and 96.4% of all Playoff teams won at least 9 games. Only 3.6%
of all Playoff teams over the past 28 seasons made the Playoffs with fewer than 9
Thus in looking to play teams OVER their posted wins total the best
strategy is to look for team with a good chance of making the Playoffs and whose
win totals are 9 or less. Generally these teams will have win totals between 7 and
9 (with 8 1/2 and 7 1/2 especially appealing numbers).
Remember that 9 wins
for a Playoff team should at least get you a 'push' on the Over and you have roughly
a 4 in 5 chance of cashing your ticket should your team make the Playoffs since teams
making the Playoffs have won at least 10 games over 80% of the time.
at teams you may expect to make the Playoffs use history as a guide. Since the NFL
expanded to include 12 teams in the Playoffs in 1990 only an average of 6.3 teams
(52.5 %) make it back to the Playoffs the following season after a Playoff appearance.
That is, of the 12 Playoff teams from 2017 (Atlanta, Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville,
Kansas City, the L A Rams, Minnesota, New England, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
and Tennessee) only 6 or 7 of them can be expected to again make the Playoffs in
2018. Only three times -- in 1995, 2012 and 2015 -- did as many as 8 of 12 Playoff
teams make the Playoffs for at least a second straight season, although 2 of the
3 occurrences were in the past 5 seasons. Only in 2003 and again last season (2017)
did as few as 4 teams repeat while in 1999, 2005, 2006 and 2008 just 5 teams repeated
from the previous season. Thus, 6 or 7 teams from 2017 can be expected to make the
Playoffs in 2018 with 5 or 6 teams failing to do so, based on the 27 season averages.
.... be aware that the number of only 4 Playoff repeaters from 2016 to 2017 marked
the first time that fewer than 6 teams repeated since 2008 when 5 teams that made
the Playoffs in 2007 made them again in 2008.
As far as current "trends"
are concerned it is worth noting that 7 Playoff teams from 2012 again made the Playoffs
in 2013 and that was repeated again in 2014 when 7 of the teams that made the Playoffs
in 2013 made them again in 2014 such that in 5 of the last 8 seasons either 7 or
8 teams repeated their Playoff appearance from one season to the next.
the past 6 seasons -- 2012 through 2017 -- of a possible 72 total teams that could
have repeated making the Playoffs (12 per season), 40 of those teams did repeat.
That "recency rate" of 55.6 % might be suggesting that the NFL has been
drifting further away from the relative parity that had existed over the previous
7 seasons when 40 of 84 possible teams repeated (47.6 %).
BUT, again, in the
past 2 seasons 'only' 6 teams repeated from 2015 to 2016 and 'only' 4 teams repeated
from 2016 to 2017.
Could we be entering an era of 'non-parity' but rather
of 'haves and have nots?' It's a very small sample size but the results prior to
the past 2 seasons might be part of a case that answers that question with a "yes."
But with just 10 of a possible 24 repeaters over the past 2 seasons that case is
weakened and, arguably, reversed.
It will be interesting to see how many of
2017's dozen Playoff teams repeat making the Playoffs this season. Another season
of 6 or fewer repeated could strengthen that argument that 'parity' is returning.
might wish to focus your OVER plays on teams you think might make the Playffs this
season after having missed out last season, some of which may have relatively low
Totals because of their failure to make the 2017 Playoffs. Over the past couple of
decades there had been a high degree of parity in the NFL which seemed to reverse
for a few seasons but may be returning as just discussed.
Between 2012 and
2015 of a possible 48 teams that could have repeated their Playoff appearances from
the season before a total of 30 teams did just that (62.5%). But in 2016 and 2017
just 10 of 24 teams were Playoffs repeaters (41.7%).
Yet another way
of looking at 'parity' is to look at the recent composition of Playoff teams vis-a-vis
how many of the NFL's 32 teams have made the Playoffs in recent seasons.
the past 3 seasons (2015 through 2017) 24 different teams have made the Playoffs,
filling the 36 available spots. Put another way, 75.0 % of the NFL's 32 teams have
made the Playoffs over just the past 3 seasons. The OVER Season Wins Total becomes
more of a value if you are able to identify those teams that did not make the Playoffs
last season but may have made them 2 or 3 seasons ago and appear to be improved entering
Over the past 5 seasons (2013 through 2017) 28 of the 32 teams
have made the Playoffs (87.5% of the 32 teams).
Dallas, Detroit, Green Bay,
Houston, Miami, the New York Giants, Oakland and Seattle are the 8 teams that made
the Playoffs in 2016 that did not make them in 2017, replaced by Buffalo, Carolina,
Jacksonville, the L A Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Tennessee.
Atlanta, Kansas City, New England and Pittsburgh were the 4 Playoff teams from 2016
that made the Playoffs again in 2017.
Arizona, Carolina, Cincinnati, Denver,
Minnesota and Washington are the 6 teams that made the Playoffs in 2015 that did
not make the Playoffs in 2016, replaced by Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, the New
York Giants and Oakland.
Green Bay, Houston, Kansas City, New England, Pittsburgh
and Seattle made the Playoffs in both 2015 and 2016.
Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit
and Indianapolis are the 4 teams that made the Playoffs in 2014 but missed the Playoffs
in 2015, replaced by Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota and Washington.
Carolina, Denver, Green Bay, New England, Pittsburgh and Seattle made the Playoffs
in both 2014 and 2015 (although note that Carolina made the 2014 Playoffs as Division
winner of the NFC South with a 7-8-1 record).
Kansas City, Philadelphia, New
Orleans, San Diego and San Francisco are the 5 teams that made the Playoffs in 2013
but missed them in 2014, replaced by Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit and Pittsburgh
as teams that made the Playoffs in 2014 after having missed the Playoffs in 2013.
Cincinnati, Denver, Green Bay, Indianapolis, New England and Seattle are the 7 teams
that made the Playoffs in both 2013 and 2014.
Atlanta, Baltimore, Houston,
Minnesota and Washington were the 5 teams that made the 2012 Playoffs but did not
repeat in 2013. Detroit, New Orleans, the New York Giants and Pittsburgh were the
4 teams that made the Playoffs in 2011 but missed them in 2012.
Of the 12
teams that did not make the Playoffs in 2014, 2015 or 2016, 4 teams (New Orleans,
Philadelphia, the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers and San Francisco) last made the
Playoffs in 2013.
4 of the teams that made the Playoffs in 2017 ended
lengthy doughts. Buffalo had last made the Playoffs in 1999, the Rams in 2004, Jacksonville
in 2007 and Tennessee in 2008.
Only 8 teams have not made the Playoffs
in any of the past 3 seasons and just 4 teams have not made the Playoffs in the past
5 seasons. Those teams, and the season in which they last made the Playoffs, are
as follows, shown in order of their most recent season to make the Playoffs --
-- 2014 Indianapolis -- 2014 L A/San Diego Chargers -- 2013 San Francisco
-- 2013 Chicago -- 2010 N Y Jets -- 2010 Tampa Bay -- 2007 Cleveland
Note that in 2010 Tampa Bay went 10-6 but missed the Playoffs
due to tie breakers! The New York Jets were 10-6 in 2015 but also missed the Playoffs
due to tie breakers.
It is often easier to decide on teams
to play UNDER the total for several reasons.
Most developments during
the season tend to be negative, generally in the form of extended or season-ending
injuries. In looking for teams to play UNDER it is often a good strategy to look
for teams that don't have much depth at several positions, especially at QB and other
skill positions. A change in coaching staff or replacing of key players from the
prior season can often lead to a slow start out of the gate.
Let's look at
the opposite of the statistics that define likely Playoff teams.
and 2017 there have been 865 individual team seasons. 195 of those teams, or 22.5%,
have won 5 or fewer games in a season. And 129 of those 195 teams (66.2 % of that
group and 14.9% of the overall 865 total teams) have won just 4 or fewer games. Historically,
the LOWEST Over/Under Season Win Total had been either 5 or 5 1/2 games although
Cleveland was at 4 1/2 wins in 2016 and the Browns, along with the New York Jets,
were held at 4 1/2 wins for 2017.
Using the historical percentage of 22.5%
it is projected that 6 or 7 teams should win 5 or fewer games in 2018 with 4 or 5
of those teams winning 4 or fewer games. For 2018 only 2 teams -- Arizona and Cleveland
-- have Win Totals below 6 and both the Cardinals and Browns are at 5 1/2.
season 4 teams won exactly 5 games (Chicago, Denver, the N Y Jets and Denver) and
another 4 teams won 4 games or fewer -- Houston (4), Indianapolis (4), the New York
Giants (3) and Cleveland (0-16))!
Note that in each of the last 7 seasons
and in 10 of the last 11 seasons at least 7 teams have won fewer than 6 games.
each season since 1990 there have been at least 2 teams that won 4 or fewer games
and at least 4 teams that won 5 or less.
Since Divisional realignment in 2002
(16 seasons) at least 3 teams have won 4 or fewer games and at least 6 teams have
won 5 or fewer.
Thus we can expect that 3 or 4 teams will win 4 or fewer games
in 2018 and that another 2 or 3 teams will win exactly 5 games.
As just noted,
last season (2017) saw 4 teams win 4 or fewer games and another 4 teams win exactly
The most likely prospects to win 5 or fewer games would generally
be teams projected at 7 or 7 1/2 wins or less.
In considering teams to
make the Playoffs in 2018 note that only New England has a Season Win Total of 11
or higher (11). The next 2 highest teams each have a Wins Total of 10 1/2 (Philadelphia
and Pittsburgh). 3 Teams -- Green Bay, Minnesota and the L A Rams -- are each at
exactly 10. 3 teams are at 9 1/2 (meaning they would need to win 10 or more games
to cash the OVER -- Atlanta, the L A Chargers and New Orleans). 2 teams -- Carolina
and Jacksonville -- would also need to win 10 games to cash an OVER ticket but would
PUSH with 9 wins.
In 2017 a total of 10 teams won 10 or more games with 4
teams, including eventual Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia, leading the pack with
13 wins (Minnesota, New England and Pittsburgh were the others) in the regular season.
No team won 12 games but 3 teams -- Carolina, the L A Rams and New Orleans -- each
won 11 games. Atlanta, Jacksonville and Kansas City each won 10 games. All 10 of
the double digit win teams made the Playoffs as did a pair of 9 win teams, Buffalo
and Tennessee, both of which were the AFC Wild Card teams. The NFC South produced
both NFC Wild Cards with 11-5 New Orleans edging 11-5 Carolina for the Division title
and joining Atlanta as a Wild Card.
In 2016 a total of 10 teams won 10 or
more games, led by eventual Super Bowl Champion New England which went 14-2 in the
regular season. Dallas won 13 games and both Oakland and Kansas City won 12 games
with Kansas City winning the AFC West Title due to tie breakers. All 10 of the double
digit win teams made the Playoffs as did a pair of 9 win teams. Houston won the AFC
South with a 9-7 record while Detroit, also9-7, captured the second NFC Wild Card.
2015 a total of 11 teams won 10 or more games with Carolina having the best record
at 15-1. Arizona won 13 games and a trio of teams -- Cincinnati, Denver and New England
-- each won 12 games. Of the 11 double digit win teams only the 10-6 New York Jets
failed to make the Playoffs, losing the AFC East title to New England and losing
out on a Wild Card to Pittsburgh. 2 Division winners -- Houston in the AFC South
and Washington in the NFC East -- each made the Playoffs with a record of 9-7.
2014 12 teams won 10 or more games with 5 of those teams winning a league high 12
games. Of the 12 double digit win teams only Philadelphia failed to make the Playoffs.
The Eagles were 10-6 but lost the NFC East title to Dallas and missed out on the
Wild Card as both Arizona and Detroit went 11-5 but not winning their Divisions and
thus earning the two NFC Wild Cards. The other Playoff team was Carolina, which won
the weak NFC South with a 7-8-1 record.
In 2013 there were 11 teams that
won 10 or more games with 5 of those teams winning at least 12 games. Only 10-6 Arizona
failed to make the Playoffs as the 2 NFL Wild Card teams won 12 games (San Francisco)
and 11 games (New Orleans). Only one team won exactly 9 games last season and that
team, San Diego, made the Playoffs as an AFC Wild Card. The other team to make the
Playoffs with fewer than 10 wins was Green Bay whose 8-7-1 record was good enough
to win the Division title in the NFC North.
In 2012 there were 13 teams that
won 10 or more games with 4 of those teams winning at least 12 games. Only 10-6 Chicago
failed to make the Playoffs, losing out on tie-breakers to Division rival Minnesota.
No team that made the Playoffs in 2012 won fewer than 10 games. Only 1 team won exactly
9 games in 2012 and that team, the New York Giants, failed to make the Playoffs.
7 teams won 5 or fewer games in 2012.
In 2011 there were 9 teams that won
10 or more games, including 6 that won at least a dozen (tying 2003 for the greatest
number of teams to win at least 12 games since the Playoff format was revised in
1990). 7 teams won 5 or fewer games in 2011. One AFC team that won 9 games, Tennessee,
failed to make the Playoffs although 8-8
Denver did make the Playoffs as winners of the AFC West (winning the tie breaker
versus both Oakland and San Diego, each of whom were also 8-8). In the NFC only one
team finished 9-7 and that team, the New York Giants, not only made the Playoffs
but went on to win the Super Bowl. No other NFC team won 9 or more games and missed
the Playoffs last season.
In 2010 there were 13 teams that won 10 or more
games and 6 teams that won 5 or fewer. The New York Giants and Tampa Bay became only
the seventh and eighth teams to win at least 10 games and not make the Playoffs.
2009 there 10 teams that won at least 10 games (all made the Playoffs) and 8 that
won 5 or less.
In 2008 there were 10 teams that won at least 10 games and
8 teams that won 5 or less. The New England Patriots became just the sixth teams
since to win at least 10 games and not make the Playoffs. In fact, the Patriots were
11-5 but lost the AFC East title to Miami, also 11-5, on tie breakers. Unfortunately
for the Pats Indianapolis earned the first AFC Wild Card with a 12-4 record and theBaltimore,
also 11-5 like the Patriots, earned the second Wild Card on tie breakers.
2007 there were 8 teams with 5 or fewer wins and 10 teams with 10 or more wins. 10-6
Cleveland became the fifth team since 1990 to win 10 games and not make the Playoffs.
The previous 4 such teams also won exactly 10 games -- San Francisco and Philadelphia
in 1991, Miami in 2003, Kansas City in 2005).
Obviously 2002's Divisional realignment meant that a different type of analysis
was needed to project how a team will fare in total wins over the course of a season
and what number of wins will be needed to make the Playoffs. Realignment radically
altered scheduling dynamics and how teams will qualify for the Playoffs. For example,
from 1990 through 2001 every team played at least half of their games against Division
rivals. Now a team plays only 6 of their 16 games against Division foes so by definition
Divisional games are not as important as they had been in the past in regards to
making the Playoffs is concerned. Division games still are important in determining
Also, the Playoff field is now comprised of 8 Division winners
and 4 Wild Cards instead of 6 and 6. Thus we might see teams in a relatively weak
Division reach the Playoffs by winning the Division with a record of just 8-8 as
Denver did in 2011 and as San Diego did in 2008. In 2013 Green Bay won its Division
with an 8-7-1 record. And in 2010 Seattle became the first team with a losing record
(7-9) to make the Playoffs because they played in the incredibly weak NFL West which
had a woeful 13-27 record in non-Divisional play. Seattle's woeful 2010 record was
only slightly better than the 7-8-1 record fashioned by Carolina in winning the 2014
Since the Playoffs field was expanded to 12 teams in 1990 only
a dozen teams have made the Playoffs with fewer than 9 wins -- 10 with 8 wins and
2 with 7, the 7-win teams having won Division titles. The 8 win teams were a mixture
of Division winners and Wild Cards.
It is possible that a team could finish
second in a division with a 10-6 or 11-5 record but not make the Playoffs, such as
was the case with 11-5 New England in 2008. In losing QB Tom Brady in the first half
of their 2008 season opener, the Patriots -- who had gone 16-0 in the regular season
in 2007 -- still managed to win 11 games but lost the AFC East on tie breakers to
Miami and also lost out for the second Wild Card on tie breakers to Baltimore (Indianapolis
earned the first Wild Card with a 12-4 record that was second to Tennessee's 13-3
in the AFC South). Under the circumstances in which an elite QB was lost, not in
the pre-season but in the regular season opener -- Bill Belichick may have performed
the greatest single season coaching job in NFL history, even topping the 16-0 regular
season of a year earlier.
In 2015 the 10-6 New York Jets finished second to
New England in the AFC East and lost a Wild Card on tiebreakers. In 2014 Philadelphia
finished second in the NFC East at 10-6 but missed the Playoffs. A season earlier,
in 2013, Arizona finished third in the NFC West with a 10-6 record yet did not make
Remember, there are now 4 second place teams in each conference,
not just 3. Prior to 2002 it was possible for the top two finishers in EACH of the
3 Divisions to make the Playoffs. Such is no longer the case.
In 2002, for
example, the New York Jets made the Playoffs with just a 9-7 record by virtue of
being the AFC East champions. However, no team with more than 9 wins missed the Playoffs
in 2002. In 2003 only one 10 win team -- Miami -- failed to make the Playoffs and
no team with 9 or fewer wins made the Playoffs. The same was true in 2005 when Kansas
City's 10 wins did not get them into the Playoffs but also no team with 9 or fewer
wins made the field either. In 2006 the New York Giants made the Playoffs with just
8 wins. In 2007 Cleveland missed the Playoffs despite 10 wins but no 9 win team failed
to make the Playoffs. In 2008 11-5 New England missed the Playoffs while 8-8 San
Diego made them. The 2008 New York Jets also missed the Playoffs despite their 9-7
record being better than that of the Chargers. And in 2010 both the Giants and Tampa
Bay missed the Playoffs with 10-6 records while NFC West champion Seattle made them
with a 7-9 record. In fact, 18 other teams had the same or a better record than Seattle
while just 13 teams had a weaker record. In 2011 Denver won the AFC West with an
8-8 record but Tennessee, second place finisher in the AFC South, missed the Playoffs
with a 9-7 record. In 2012 Chicago missed the Playoffs with a 10-6 record. Such was
also the case in 2013 when Arizona finished 10-6 but missed the Playoffs as did 10-6
Philadelphia in 2014 and the New York Jets in 2015.
In analyzing a team's
schedule, as noted earlier, teams in the same Division have 8 common opponents plus
two games against each of their 3 Division rivals with just two "unique"
opponents based upon the prior season's standings.
and Opinions are available as a FREE BONUS to Subscribers to our Premium Selections
Service or to one or more of our Weekly Newsletters. A link to information about
those offerings is included at the very top of this Article and is repeated below.
looking at our 2018 Recommendations and Opinions note that they are presented within
each of 3 categories in the chronological order in which we have reviewed the teams.
The 3 categories we use are "Recommendations," "Strong Opinions"
and "Weak Opinions." Unless otherwise indicated, all Recommendations and
Opinions are weighted and rated equally within each group.
As a means of comparing
how to consider the plays within each category you might wish to view our "Recommendations"
as full, one unit plays, the "Strong Opinions" as half-unit plays and the
"Weak Opinions" as either quarter-unit plays or no plays at all.
cases where the OVER or UNDER we prefer is so highly priced with the attached "vig"
that we cannot fully recommend a play because of that high vig we would likely classify
that play as a Strong Opinion rather than a Recommendation, worth at most a half
unit play. Generally these will be plays where the OVER is priced at more than -125
or the UNDER is priced at more than - 150. For teams in which the opinion is luke
warm and/or the attached vig is too high, those opinions will be classified as Weak
Opinions and would be the least attractive plays to make and, if made, would be rated
as a quarter unit play.
Also -- and this may be of interest to some -- do
note that there may be hedging opportunities late in the season if some of our Recommendations
and/or Opinions are to be decided in the final week or two.
Our Logical Approach to, Analysis of and Recommendations/Opinions for 2018 ================================================================ Recommendations
and Opinions for all 32 NFL Teams are availiable as a
subscribers to any of our 2018 Football Newsletters and/or our 2018 Premium Selections
For information on becoming a Premiums Selections or Newsletter
Subscriber which includes access to Recommendations & Opinions for all 32
teams, CLICK HERE