Another NFL season is upon us, and without any major changes like an 18-game schedule. I began looking at regular season wins futures bets last season, when I picked the Chiefs over and the Bills under. I followed that up with an easy Knicks over for the NBA season, and was tempted by the Mariners' low number (60 wins) to take the over, but didn't pull the trigger.
I think a regular season wins futures bet is a terrific way to add interest to the season, especially for someone like me who doesn't follow a specific team, while avoiding the temptation to overbet during the season. Every week I'll have a few teams to specifically root for or against.
First up are the Cincinnati Bengals. The number opened at around 7 wins, and was quickly bet down by smart money to the point where right now it's about 5.5 wins with -165 on the under. The early line was caused by the easy schedule. However, I look at their depth chart and I only recognize Cedric Benson on offense. With the owner willing to pay Palmer $11 million to warm the bench out of spite, I don't see why they wouldn't be aiming for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.
Next, remaining in the same division, are the Pittsburgh Steelers. Some may be worried about the Super Bowl loser's curse, but the team looks a lot healthier and the offense looks like it could do a lot of damage. Then again, everyone knows that and the line is at 10.5 wins with the over at -135. I think it's still worth taking, as they have a comfortable-looking schedule after the bye week, and they will probably need every win they can get to keep up with the Ravens.
Speaking of the Baltimore Ravens, they are my favorite bet by far. The line is 10.5 wins with the over offered at +105. While I do believe that the Steelers are the better team, I think the Ravens have a bit of an edge in their overall schedule. While both teams play the NFC South, the Ravens get the two tougher teams (Indianapolis and Houston) at home while the Steelers get them on the road. The Ravens also get the Jets instead of the Patriots, which I think is an easier match up. This is a team that won 12 games last season, and I see no reason for a 2 game drop off.
My final pick is the New York Giants under 9.5 wins. There's a premium you have to pay to make this bet as the under is -175. The Giants defense has been hit by injuries while I think the offense will suffer with the loss of last year's third receiver and tight end. With three out of division opponents that I think they can't beat (@Patriots, @Saints, and Packers), they will go under the number just by losing all their games against the Eagles and the Cowboys, which I think can very easily happen.
Cincinnati Bengals Under 5.5 -165
Pittsburgh Steelers Over 10.5 -135
New York Giants Under 9.5 -175
5 Star Recommendation:
Baltimore Ravens Over 10.5 +105