History of Betting Double-Digit NFL Win Totals: Is There Any Value on Overs?
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
- What does history tell us about betting the over on double-digit NFL win totals?
- Evan Abrams studied the 161 teams to have a double-digit regular-season win total over the past 30 seasons to find out.
There have been about 5.5 teams with double-digit win totals over the past 30 NFL seasons.
There are six posted at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook for 2019:
- New England Patriots (11): Their ninth consecutive season with a double-digit win total.
- Kansas City Chiefs (10.5): Their first double-digit win total since 2004.
- Los Angeles Rams (10.5): With their win total of 10 in 2018, this will be the first time the Rams will have double-digit win totals in consecutive seasons since 2000-02.
- New Orleans Saints (10.5): Their fourth double-digit win total with Drew Brees. They’ve won just one playoff game the previous three of such seasons.
- Indianapolis Colts (10): The Colts first double-digit win total since 2015 when their win total was set at 10.5 in Andrew Luck’s 4th year. Colts ended up winning 8 games and missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
- Philadelphia Eagles (10): The Eagles have a double-digit win total in consecutive years for the first time since 2011-12. In both 2011 and 2012, the Eagles missed the playoffs, going 12-20 straight up.
But for any bettor considering taking the over on any of these six win totals, there’s a cautionary tale about the history of doing so.
Here’s what my study of the 161 NFL teams to have a double-digit win total over the past 30 seasons revealed.
Note: All win total data via Sports Odds History
The History of Double-Digit NFL Win Totals
It’s proven extremely difficult for a team to exceed expectations when its win total has been set so high.
Only 43 of the 104 teams with double-digit win totals over the past 20 years have exceeded their number. The most alarming aspect of that 40.2% is the fact that those 104 teams have gone under their win total by almost three-quarters of a full win (-0.74).
Finding Value on Double-Digit NFL Win Totals
There’s been a distinct difference between the teams that have been on the edge of great expectations — a win total of 11 or more — and teams simply expected to win around 10 games over the past 30 years.
There have been 50 teams with a win total of 11 or more over the past 30 years, which averages out to about 1.7 teams per season. Those 50 teams are 25-22-3 (53.2%) to the over in that span, including 11-6-2 (64.7%) to the over since 2006.
The advantage comes with teams valued at the 10 and 10.5 mark. The 100 teams with such win totals over the past 30 years are 37-63-7 (37%) to the under, going under the win total by almost full win (-0.93).
The Top of the Class
Over the past 30 years, no team has had more double-digit win total seasons than the Patriots (17); the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers are right behind with 14 each.
The Patriots have had a double-digit win total 14 times under Bill Belichick (including 2019). They’re 9-3-2 to the over in the Belichick era, going over their win total by more than a full win per year (+1.1).
When looking at which of the 161 teams with a double-digit win total over the past three decades exceeded expectations the most, you have to point to the obvious: The 2007 Patriots. They went 16-0 that regular season to go over their win total by 4.5 games — the largest margin of the past 30 years.
The Bottom Of The Class
There’s really only one team that’s earned the scarlet letter for worst bet on a double-digit total over this span: The 2013 Houston Texans.
The Texans won 12 games in 2012 for the first time in franchise history, also making the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time — things were looking up in Houston.
Houston won its first two games in 2013 against the Chargers and Titans … then the wheels came off.
The Texans lost out, becoming the first team in NFL history to start 2-0 and lose 14 consecutive games within the same season. They finished eight games below their win total — the largest margin over the past 30 years.