Koerner’s NFL Win Total Projections: Buy, Sell Grades for All 32 NFL Teams

Koerner’s NFL Win Total Projections: Buy, Sell Grades for All 32 NFL Teams article feature image
Credit:

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cam Newton

  • Sean Koerner built a model to pinpoint the teams being overrated and underrated by the market.
  • He analyzes each team's win total below and picks out the best way to buy or fade the teams offering betting value.

There are plenty of NFL win total pieces out there that point out specific players gained and lost as a means of finding betting value, but I wanted to go much deeper as the 2019 season approaches. So I created an NFL Buy/Sell Rating Model to spot the teams that market is generally overrating and underrating.

The model takes five key metrics into account from last season, all of which influence the public perception of a team but can be more luck-driven than anything to do with skill:

  • Fumble recovery rate
  • Pythagorean Wins expected vs. actual
  • Turnover margin
  • Record in one-score games (adjusted to expected one-score games won vs. actual one score games won, so if a team went 1-0 in one-score games it wouldn’t have as much weight if a team went 5-0)
  • Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Games Lost metric (measures a team’s injury luck from the previous season)

The most predictive stat by far is a team’s record in one-score games. Because this a high variance metric year-to-year, we see teams regress to the mean (we can generally expect teams with a good 2018 record in one-score games to be worse this year, and vice versa.)

This stat, in combination with the other four, creates the ideal blend that we are looking for when evaluating teams to buy and sell headed into the 2019 season.

I’ve broken teams up by grade below: Teams with a grade of F are being overvalued in the market and I’ll look for opportunities to fade them. Grade A teams fall in the opposite bucket: I’m trying to find any way I can to buy stock, either in the futures market or the game-to-game market.

Let’s dive in.

All odds as of Monday, Aug. 26 and are via the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. As always, be sure to shop around for the best number, as odds can vary book-to-book.


Go To Grade: A | B | C | D | F


GRADE F

Dallas Cowboys

2019 Win Total: 9 (over -120/under +100)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 8.5
Strength of Schedule Rank: 25

The Cowboys have the lowest Buy/Sell Rating in my model largely due to them going 7-2 in close games, good for an adjusted number of +2.5 wins above expectation. It’s unlikely they will be able to rely on good fortune alone to win 10 games again this year. An 8-9 win season seems about right.

Dallas does have a favorable schedule this year, which will prevent too much regression in the win column. But even with that, I have eight games where I’m projecting a point spread of less than a field goal, so the Cowboys will have to maintain their luck in close games to go over their win total.

Important note: My numbers assume Ezekiel Elliott will reach a deal before the season starts (or shortly thereafter); if that doesn’t occur, there’s clearly even more hidden value on the under.

Los Angeles Rams

2019 Win Total: 10.5 (over +130/under -150)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 10.1
Strength of Schedule Rank: 21

Half of a win is roughly worth -135 on the moneyline, so the line is pretty much right in line with my projection. I’ll be staying away.

It’s worth noting the Rams’ F grade in my Buy/Sell Rating is due to their +11 turnover margin, +1.3 wins over Pythagorean expectation, +2.5 wins added in one-score game luck, and them finishing fourth in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Games Lost metric. To say they were a good team last year that also happened to have extreme fortune on their side is an understatement.

Since their win total is pretty sharp right now, the best way to invest against the Rams would be Week 1 against the Panthers, who — spoiler alert — have an A+ grade in my Buy/Sell grading. I have the point spread closer to a pick’em, but you can currently get the Panthers +3. Betting against them Week 1 seems like a quicker way to take advantage of the Rams’ expected regression.

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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay

New Orleans Saints

2019 Win Total: 10.5 (over +130/under -150)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 9.8
Strength of Schedule Rank: 15

At times last season, we caught a glimpse of Drew Brees’ inevitable decline, but he also set career highs in adjusted net yards per pass attempt and completion percentage. Brees turns 41 this year, and while no one can stay elite forever, I still think he will put up a good 2019 season.

The Saints get an F grade because they benefitted from good luck in nearly every metric my model looks at; most notable is their 5-1 record in one-score games last year. They are the definition of a high-ceiling/low-floor team, which is why I like Under 10.5 on a two-way bet (where a low floor helps) in addition to their Super Bowl odds at 11-1 odds (where a high ceiling helps).

I don’t think both bets will hit but I do think they act as nice insurance on one another. Surely the Saints can’t have their Super Bowl chances ruined on a freak play or non-call for the third straight season can they?

Pittsburgh Steelers

2019 Win Total: 9 (over -145/under +125)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 9
Strength of Schedule Rank: 26

My projected win total for Pittsburgh is only offering some slight value on the under, but I’m not quite as down on them as my model’s F grade indicates. First-rounder Devin Bush could be the linebacker they need to fill the void left by Ryan Shazier. If the defense is able to regain top form, it’ll help reduce the need for Big Ben to attempt 42 passes per game again this year.

I am a bit worried about Antonio Brown’s departure and Big Ben’s age (38). He will have to be healthy all 16 games for Over 9 wins to have a chance here, and last season was only the fourth time in his 15-year career that he played every game. Roethlisberger has never really been as durable as Drew Brees or Tom Brady, so we can’t be so sure that will change in his late 30s. There’s maybe a 10-15% chance Ben misses multiple games due to injury, giving this under some hidden value.

San Francisco 49ers

2019 Win Total: 8 (over -140/under +120)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 8
Strength of Schedule Rank: 19

I wouldn’t read too much into the 49ers’ grade. They had a league worst minus-25 turnover differential last season. While they will surely see some positive regression in that stat, the model doesn’t necessarily think teams with massive negative turnover margins make a great buy next season, since it could signal a fundamental issue with the team itself.

But because we know the 49ers were without their starting QB for the final 13 weeks of the season last year, this is even more reason to not look too much into their 2018 data. While I expect San Fran to bounce back in a big way, the market has, of course, factored this in, requiring you to lay some steep juice on the Over 8 wins. I think there is some value on the under here, especially at +120.


GRADE D-

Chicago Bears

2019 Win Total: 9 (over -110/under -110)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 9
Strength of Schedule Rank: 4

The Bears were a bit fortunate in nearly every metric in my model so they grade out as a D. They are hoping new DC Chuck Pagano can keep their defense elite after Vic Fangio left the job to coach the Broncos. In 2017 the Bears had the second-highest Adjusted Games Lost. This past season, they had the third-fewest. It’s a good reminder just how quickly a luck-based stat such as this can change from one season to the next.

Having said all that, the market isn’t proving much value on Under 9.5 wins — 9 isn’t a great number and any book offering 9.5 requires you to pay a ton of under juice. I’m passing on a side here and will instead look to fade the Bears against the spread against any A grade teams early in the season.

bears-vs-colts-odds-starters-spread-over-under-line-movement
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chicago Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack

Los Angeles Chargers

2019 Win Total: 10 (over +100/under -120)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 9.6
Strength of Schedule Rank: 15

A few books, including Westgate, bumped this total up to 10, so if you have access to Under 10, that would be ideal. The Chargers get a D- grade in my model, mostly due to their 5-1 record in one-score games last year.

On paper, I feel like they are one of the more complete teams on both sides of the ball; I have them ranked inside the top five of my power ratings. But betting the over on season win totals for good teams typically isn’t going to net you a profit. Bookmakers and bettors are typically aware of what teams should be contenders and that is already factored into the price.

The angle to the under here is the Chargers’ lack of a true home field advantage and regression in one-score games. They currently play at a 27,000-seat soccer stadium where half the crowd typically shows up rooting for the away team. They are going to have to remain lucky in almost every metric I measure in order to clear 10+ wins again this year.

One word of caution before running to bet Under 10: With Andrew Luck’s retirement, the Chargers moved from 3-point to 7-point favorites against the Colts in Week 1, which makes me like the under a bit less.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2019 Win Total: 6.5 (over -110/under -110)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 6.3
Strength of Schedule Rank: 10

The Bucs are much like the 49ers in that they were pretty unlucky in nearly every metric I was testing, and yet the model is saying to sell. It’s an interesting quirk: The extreme blend of bad “luck” could very well be signaling to the model that this isn’t a team worth investing in the following year.

At any rate, I think the Bucs should improve under new HC Bruce Arians. My one main concern for their win total is the brutal schedule they have from Weeks 4-9, when they play zero games in Tampa. Their one “home” game in that entire stretch is in London. It will be tough for them to make it through that stretch with a winning record. In a market that has been sharpened up, making it hard to find much value, this seems like something that could be overlooked and gives us some edge on the under.


GRADE C-

Minnesota Vikings

2019 Win Total: 9 (over -110/under -110)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 8.7
Strength of Schedule Rank: 8

The Vikings were one of the biggest disappointments of the 2019 season. With their strong roster on both sides of the ball mostly intact, it’s reasonable to expect them to bounce back in a big way this year.

Their plan to go back to a more balanced offense will only result in wins if their offensive line can improve and their defense can stay elite. That’s a lot to ask: Most of their key players on defense are likely at the tail end of their prime or even at an early stage of their decline.

It’s quite possible their win total of 9 could end in a push, but I think it’s more likely they win 8 or fewer than win 10+.

Oakland Raiders

2019 Win Total: 6 (over -110/under -110)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 5.8
Strength of Schedule Rank: 2

Antonio Brown has been in the news for all the wrong reasons the past couple weeks. I’m afraid the off-the-field difficulties he has brought to the team could become a problem on the field, as well. I mentioned in the Steelers’ section above that Big Ben would miss AB’s on-field presence given the chemistry the two had built over the years. Big Ben had an innate ability to anticipate when Brown was going to break off a route unexpectedly.

I’m afraid Derek Carr is no Big Ben, and there’s a chance that this experiment could backfire big time. To make matters worse, the Raiders have the third-toughest schedule according to my power ratings. I only have them favored in three games this year (only once over as more than a 2-point favorite). I like targeting Under 6; the chances they win five or fewer games appears greater than their odds of winning seven or more.

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jon Gruden

Tennessee Titans

2019 Win Total: 8 (over +100/under -120)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 7.7
Strength of Schedule Rank: 7

For these middle-of-the-pack teams in my Buy/Sell Ratings, it makes more sense just to treat them straight up. The Titans have put up 9+ wins in three straight seasons, and I’m willing to bet against that trend with the under here.

They will likely have the same approach as they did for their run at the end of last year — win with Derrick Henry running the ground-and-pound game and and solid defense. A few issues: Henry has been dealing with a calf injury all camp and left tackle Taylor Lewan is suspended the first four games. To make matters worse, they have the seventh-toughest schedule according to my power ratings.

Washington Redskins

2019 Win Total: 6 (over +125/under -145)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 5.9
Strength of Schedule Rank: 20

The Redskins had a bit of luck in nearly every metric I looked at that helped them win 7 games last year. It seems unlikely they will be able to repeat that feat, so the under might have some very slight value.

This is a case where I think it’s tough to tie up your bankroll for four-plus months for 10-20 cents of value on the line. You are better off tying that up on just a few of the win totals with the most value — and some season-long player props, which I typically hit at a 60%+ clip (I’ll have an article on a few of my favorites before the season).


GRADE C

Arizona Cardinals

2019 Win Total: 5 (over -110/under -110)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 5.3
Strength of Schedule Rank: 13

As the Cardinals love has grown this offseason, their win total has now reached a point where I don’t see any value on either side.

I like the idea of backing them early in the season against the spread, as opposed to betting a four-month-long win total that’s sharpened considerably. It may take the league a few games to adjust to the Air Raid offense. Even better: The Cardinals open up with an easier seven-game stretch (I have their average projected line at +3.4).

Their final nine games are much harder (average spread of +6.6), so it would be timely to start fading them once teams have enough film to better handle the unique Air Raid offense. The Cardinals are going to be such a volatile team under rookie QB Kyler Murray, they will offer more value on the moneyline whenever they are getting double digit points against the spread.

Buffalo Bills

2019 Win Total: 7 (over -140/under +120)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 7
Strength of Schedule Rank: 29

The Bills’ RB/WR depth was a weakness for them last season, but headed into this year, it looks like a strength. Cole Beasely should give QB Josh Allen a slot receiver he can check down to, as opposed to having to run as much as last season. John Brown is a veteran deep threat who fits perfectly with Allen’s air-it-out mentality. Buffalo also sports the third-easiest schedule, according to my power ratings.

All of these factors have led to bettors buying the Bills Over 7 wins, which is now up to -140 juice. That’s too steep for me, as I have them projected for exactly 7 wins. I’ll pass.

buffalo-Bills-Playoff-Odds
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Josh Allen

Cleveland Browns

2019 Win Total: 9 (over -110/under -110)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 8.9
Strength of Schedule Rank: 28

The Browns are now a top-10 team on paper, and it’s not hard to envision them winning 10+ games this year. Their easy schedule (28th overall) certainly helps, but it’s worth pointing out that I only have them favored in three of the first eight games, before finishing the season as projected favorites in seven of eight down the stretch.

It may take a few games for Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham to build their chemistry, so I’m anticipating the Browns to only get better as the season unfolds. It’s worth waiting to see if they get off to a slow start and then buy the Browns against the spread down the stretch if the market overreacts to their tough opening half of the season.

Miami Dolphins

2019 Win Total: 4.5 (over -130/under +110)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 4.8
Strength of Schedule Rank: 24

There’s a reason the Dolphins the lowest win total in the NFL. They have an awful roster, and they’re coming off a 7-9 season that was mostly the result of great luck in one-score games (5-1 record). Plus, Miami will have extra incentive to get a high draft pick in the QB-loaded 2020 draft if they get off to a slow start and Josh Rosen doesn’t appear to be their future QB.

I typically shy away from betting the under on such low win totals. The public tends to underestimate the ability for NFL teams to regress to the mean the following season, but in this instance, the Dolphins’ mean is being the worst team in the league this year. There is some slight value on Under 4.5 +110.


GRADE C+

Indianapolis Colts

2019 Win Total: 7.5 (over -105/under -115)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 7.3
Strength of Schedule Rank: 9

Andrew Luck’s unexpected retirement was a huge blow to the Colts’ outlook for 2019 and beyond.

Yes, Jacoby Brissett is one of the better backup QBs, but this takes them from a Super Bowl contender to a middle-of-the-pack team, and gives all other AFC South teams a slight upgrade.

My projected win total for the Colts has dropped from 9.3 to 7.3, and the market has adjusted accordingly, so I don’t see any value on either side here. But they might be worth backing against the spread in-season, as I think the public might overestimate the drop-off from Luck to Brissett.

The Colts still have one of the best rosters on both sides of the ball and are one of the better coached teams in the league, so they’ll be close to a .500 team.

Kansas City Chiefs

2019 Win Total: 10.5 (over -120/under +100)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 10.6
Strength of Schedule Rank: 5

Once the NFL announced that it would not be suspending Tyreek Hill, I raised the Chiefs’ power rating a bit. He’s one of the few WRs who is worth about a point on the spread. His dynamic playmaking ability in this offense is hard to replace.

It’s rare to see a 12-4 team get almost no help from some of the “luck” metrics I look at, but it’s pretty clear that the Chiefs are simply a great football team with a great coach in Andy Reid. If their defense improves at all this year they could top their 12 wins from a year ago. I have them favored in all but one game this year (Week 14 at. New England).

This win total looks pretty spot-on in comparison to my projections, so it’s a stay away.

Tyreek-Hill
Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tyreek Hill

New England Patriots

2019 Win Total: 11 (over -140/under +120)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 11
Strength of Schedule Rank: 32

The Patriots are constantly in the top 5-10 for turnover margin, which has been an under appreciated part of their success during the Brady/Belichick dynasty. The model won’t ding them for their +10 margin (fifth overall), as their turnover success was more likely the result of skill than luck, given their history.

So New England gets a pretty straight forward C+ rating with fairly average luck across the board last season. As usual, the Patriots have a cupcake schedule (32nd in SoS) due to the weak AFC East and the fact that they never have to worry about having the Patriots on their schedule.

I am always willing to bet against the Patriots during the regular season, but I typically never invest in them going under their season win total or bet against them going to or winning the Super Bowl. It’s worked out well for me, so I think I’m going to stick with it.


GRADE B-

Atlanta Falcons

2019 Win Total: 8.5 (over -145/under +125)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 8.2
Strength of Schedule Rank: 5

I have the Falcons rated as a borderline top-10 team. However, their win total is a bit low due to their tough schedule (fifth in SoS). I think the market is overlooking that very important metric. They have a brutal opening to open the season (Vikings and Eagles) before having to face the Saints/Panthers twice and the Rams once at home.

Just to hammer my point home: If you gave the Falcons the Patriots’ 32nd-ranked schedule, their projected wins would jump from 8.2 to 9.5. So while the strength of an individual team is important, it’s important to remember that it’s not the only factor. Paying attention to metrics like strength of schedule is vital to spotting value. Give me the under 8.5 +125.

Baltimore Ravens

2019 Win Total: 8.5 (over -110/under -110)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 8.3
Strength of Schedule Rank: 22

The Ravens only went 1-4 in close games last year, but they also happened to have the fewest Adjusted Games Lost. Even the injury to Joe Flacco turned out to be a good thing, as it led to the Ravens turning to rookie Lamar Jackson, who led them to a 5-1 record in their final six games.

The defense lost a couple key players this offseason, so they are likely to regress on that side of the ball. I expect their offense to improve this year under OC Greg Roman, as they’ve had the entire offseason to set up the offense to better suit Lamar Jackson’s skill set.

I’ll nibble on the over (shop for the best number; I’ve seen +120) and bank on their luck in one-score games improving and their run heavy approach benefiting from having the 22nd-ranked strength of schedule.

Denver Broncos

2019 Win Total: 7 (over -135/under +115)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 7.1
Strength of Schedule Rank: 1

The Broncos face the toughest schedule in the NFL this year. I do not have them favored by more than two points in any game until Week 16.

Their win total of 7 seems pretty close to spot-on (I have them projected for exactly seven wins). As their B- grade indicates, they are much more of an “average” team than their 6-10 record a year ago indicates.

With a veteran QB like Joe Flacco now running the offense and Vic Fangio taking over their stout defense, I’m interested in buying them against the spread early this season.

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Joe Flacco

Philadelphia Eagles

2019 Win Total: 10 (over -140/under +120)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 9.8
Strength of Schedule Rank: 30

The Eagles led the league in Adjusted Games Lost last year. It’s a bit misleading since a good portion of that number is from Carson Wentz missing five games. Last year the Eagles were fortunate enough to have Nick Foles as their backup which really wasn’t much of a drop off (if at all) against the spread. This season it will be Nate Sudfeld backing up Wentz; that would be about a 4-6 point drop-off.

Here’s the simple truth: The Eagles will fly over their win total of 10 if Wentz can play all 16 games against the fourth-easiest schedule. If he misses any time, the under will hit. I’m not interested in betting on something so dependent one player’s health.


GRADE B

Detroit Lions

2019 Win Total: 6.5 (over -140/under +120)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 6.7
Strength of Schedule Rank: 12

Matt Patricia had a bit of a rough year in his head coaching debut for the Lions. They were a bit unlucky in their 6-10 finish, and it didn’t help that Matthew Stafford was playing with an apparent broken back.

Their B rating indicates they are likely better than the market realizes, but I don’t see it here when the price for the under 6.5 is +120. There’s a bit of value in that if you can get it +130 or better at your book.

Houston Texans

2019 Win Total: 8.5 (over +110/under -130)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 8.2
Strength of Schedule Rank: 3

I have the Texans just outside of the top 10 in my power ratings, but they’re projected for a mediocre 8.2 wins. The reason? Their schedule, which I have ranked as the third-toughest.

Despite being favored in nine games, they have three brutal road games (at Saints, at Chargers, at Chiefs) where I project them to be at least a 5-point underdog. And then they’ll have to deal with the Pats at home as slight underdogs.

The market has corrected itself with heavy juice on Under 8.5 wins, but I’m eyeing their Week 1 line against the Saints. The Texans have a B rating in my Buy/Sell model, and they’ll be playing the Saints, who graded out as an F. The line is a couple points too high and sitting on the key number of Texans +7 at the time of writing.

New York Giants

2019 Win Total: 6 (over +125/under -145)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 6.1
Strength of Schedule Rank: 27

The Giants are everyone’s favorite punching bag of late — and for good reason: They’ve made some questionable moves over the past couple seasons. But I’m uninterested in piling on here and think there’s actually value to their over 6 +125.

They grade out nicely in my Buy/Sell Model as a B, and I even bumped up their power ratings a bit after Daniel Jones’ solid (albeit brief) debut. No, I’m not saying to overreact to small sample sizes, especially in the preseason, but it’s important to be flexible when the entire goal is to beat the market.

With Jones specifically, my original estimates of him starting 4-6 games this season and for the Giants’ power rating to drop 2-3 points in those starts were a bit off. Once the Giants turn the keys over to Jones, I’d guess the drop-off will be closer to 0 points.

I like their B rating along with their schedule (sixth-easiest); they could surprise this year considering the market isn’t expecting much. Give me the over.

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Saquon Barkley

GRADE B+

Seattle Seahawks

2019 Win Total: 8.5 (over -120/under +100)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 8.2
Strength of Schedule Rank: 14

Seattle was very fortunate in the turnover department last year. Part of the reason? They recovered fumbles at an unusually high rate. While those stats are an outlier, my model does not expect them to completely regress to the mean.

As long as Russel Wilson is healthy, the Seahawks should still be able to dominate in turnover differential. In the past five seasons, they have never finished in the bottom half of the league. It’s a metric we need to treat carefully while still factoring it into the model; certain QBs/coaches can sustain a positive turnover margin better than others.

Seattle comes in with a B+ grade, but I do not want to take Over 8.5 wins. With Frank Clark gone and Jarran Reed suspended six games, the Seahawks are going to struggle to put pressure on the QB. The QBs they face during those six games include Big Ben, Drew Brees, Kyler Murray, Jared Goff and Baker Mayfield. Yikes. All of them will be able to pick them apart if they have a clean pocket.


GRADE A-

Cincinnati Bengals

2019 Win Total: 6 (over +115/under -135)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 5.9
Strength of Schedule Rank: 22

Our first A- grade goes to a very tricky team to peg right now. Wide receiver A.J. Green suffered an ankle injury on the first day of training camp, and it’s unclear when he will return. I mentioned Tyreek Hill being worth about a point to the spread for the Chiefs (which is rare for a WR), and Green has been that type of WR for the Bengals over the years.

Their depth has improved with Tyler Boyd’s breakout a year ago, so I’m only docking the Bengals 0.5 points per game for Green’s absence. Tight end Tyler Eifert should be healthy enough to start the season, which should help some. The Bengals also completely overhauled their coaching staff and brought in Zac Taylor, a Sean McVay disciple. Taylor is inexperienced and brought in fairly inexperienced offensive and defensive coordinators, as well.

While my numbers indicate there’s slight value on Over 6 at plus-money, it’s hard to buy into the Bengals’ would-be positive regression this year, given the coaching uncertainty and Green’s injury.

New York Jets

2019 Win Total: 7.5 (over -130/under +110)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 7.6
Strength of Schedule Rank: 31

The Jets are popping in my model. Whether you think Adam Gase is a good head coach or not, there’s reason to believe in Gang Green. The roster made some key additions via free agency (most notably RB Le’Veon Bell), Sam Darnold will only improve in Year 2, and they have the second-easiest schedule in football.

They are due for some positive regression in nearly every luck-based metric that causes us to overrate and underrate teams, especially their 1-5 record in one-score games a year ago.

The win total is now high enough to where I don’t see much value in the over anymore, but I’ll be betting the Jets against the spread early in the season.


GRADE A

Green Bay Packers

2019 Win Total: 9 (over -130/under +110)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 9
Strength of Schedule Rank: 10

Yet another A-graded team in model that will feature a new head coach. Matt LeFleur takes over a team that is due for positive regression, so long as Aaron Rodgers stays healthy. Once again what may seem like a coaching change that resulted in massive improvement could be as simple as their luck changing for these five key metrics that doomed them last year.

The Packers’ win total is a bit too dependent on Rodgers’ health so I’d much rather bet them +3.5 in Week 1 against the Bears, who have a D- grade in my Buy/Sell Model.

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers

Jacksonville Jaguars

2019 Win Total: 8 (over -115 /under -105)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 8.1
Strength of Schedule Rank: 18

Expect some positive regression from the Jaguars, who dealt with bad luck in all five metrics. Speaking of luck, the surprise retirement of Andrew Luck gave the Jaguars a considerable boost to their 2019 outlook. They were pegged as having the seventh-toughest schedule according to my projections, and now fall all the way to 18th. Their projected win total also jumped up from 7.8 to 8.1.

Adding a veteran QB in Nick Foles should give them stability at the most important position. And this defense is still elite on paper, so if it all comes together, they can easily win 9+ games. Give me the over 8 at -115.


GRADE A+

Carolina Panthers

2019 Win Total: 8 (over -120/under +100)
Koerner’s Projected Wins: 8.5
Strength of Schedule Rank: 15

This is the only A+ rating in my model, and I couldn’t agree more. The Panthers only went 2-7 in one-score games last year; they were the only team to have -2.5 expected wins because of their performance in close games. Not to mention, Cam Newton played with shoulder issues towards the end of the year before finally shutting himself down. All reports indicate his offseason surgery to help clean up his shoulder means it’s closer to 100% now.

It’s really tough to take the Over 7.5 at the steep price of -190 (where it’s at it some books). You could certainly take Over 8, but don’t pay too much juice — -135 is worth about a half win.

I’m going to sit out betting on Carolina’s win total and instead target their Week 1 games against the Rams, who the model gives an F grade. I have that matchup being closer to a pick’em and most books still have the Panthers at the key number +3 right now. It’s currently my favorite Week 1 bet.