Best NFL Win Total Bets: Can You Trust Cardinals, Giants to Improve?

Best NFL Win Total Bets: Can You Trust Cardinals, Giants to Improve? article feature image
Credit:

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray

  • The Westgate SuperBook has released NFL win totals for all 32 teams in the 2019 season.
  • Using The Action Network's NFL model, we highlight the four best win totals bets to place right now.

The Action Network ran 10,000 simulations of the 2019 NFL season using player and team statistics adjusted for Strength of Schedule to determine the number of wins for each franchise.

For the most part, our numbers are in line with the win total odds from the Westgate SuperBook. Based on the projections, 25 of 32 teams were within one game of their season win total.

Though, a few teams are offering bettors value.

To determine if there is value betting a team to go over or under its win total, we compared our projections to betting odds.

For example, Dallas’ win total is listed at 9 (under -120). In order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Cowboys’ under, they would need to win eight or fewer games 54.5% (which is 120/(120+100)) of the time.

Dak Prescott & Co. are projected to win eight or fewer games 64.9% of the time with a chance of a push if the team wins exactly nine games. This means there is value in placing an under bet at -120 odds.

Based on the difference in implied probability and projected chance, here are the best over and under bets available.

In the past two seasons using the same analysis, our top four plays combined to go 7-1, covering by 2.5 games on average.

Arizona Cardinals – Over 5 Wins

  • Current odds: -140, Implied Probability: 58.3%
  • Cardinals go over win total 73.2% of the time

Arizona won an NFL worst three games last year and averaged 14.1 points per game (32nd). That should change under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and first overall pick Kyler Murray.

The Cardinals are going to play fast and dare opponents to keep pace. Last season, Arizona was 31st in plays per game (56.4), but during Kingsbury’s time at Texas Tech the Red Raiders averaged the most plays per game (82.6) in college football.

Murray has the potential to be a true franchise quarterback. In his one season as a starter at Oklahoma the Heisman winner threw for 42 touchdowns and rushed for an additional 12 scores. The Cardinals offense has enough weapons, including David Johnson, Christian Kirk and the ageless Larry Fitzgerald to believe Murray can have similar success at the pro level.

Injuries decimated the Cardinals offensive line in 2018 as Arizona had 47.8 adjusted games lost by the big boys upfront — the worst mark in the league. The team traded for Marcus Gilbert and expects healthy seasons from Justin Pugh and D.J. Humphries, which should provide plenty of protection for its young quarterback.

The defense is a question mark and the absence of Patrick Peterson (six game PEDs suspension) will hurt the unit for the first half of the season. But history is on the Cardinals side.

Since 2003, 75 teams have finished a season winning four or fewer games. The next year those same squads won an average of 6.8 games.

A new offense, an electric quarterback and some positive regression point to value on the over.

New York Giants – Over 6 Wins

  • Current odds: +125, Implied Probability: 44.4%
  • Giants go over win total 78.8% of the time

What was the Giants offseason like? Not great, Bob. Superstar Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Cleveland Browns and the franchise still employs Eli Manning. For a team that seems to be headed in the wrong direction, why should bettors jump on the over?

There are a few reasons to believe the G-Men will be better this fall. The Giants had a point differential of a seven-win team, but managed only five wins.

Part of the difference is explained by a 4-8 record in one-score games. Teams that underperform their point differential and have poor a record in games decided by seven or fewer points tend to experience positive regression the next season.

Perhaps the greatest reason to be optimistic about Manning & Co. in 2019 is that they have the sixth-easiest schedule in football. New York faces only three playoff teams from last season.

With an easy schedule we project the team to win 7.6 games on average and to go over its posted win total of six games 78.8% of the time.

Tennessee Titans – Under 8 Wins

  • Current odds: -140, Implied Probability: 58.3%
  • Titans go under win total 74.2% of the time

Marcus Mariota can’t stay healthy. The Titans quarterback has never played a full 16-game schedule, and when he is on the field the results have been mediocre. Last season, Mariota had a 76.8 overall grade according to ProFootballFocus, which ranked 18th among qualified starters.

Tennessee traded for Ryan Tannehill as a backup this offseason, but the Titans faithful can’t be too excited about the former Dolphin filling in for Mariota. Last season, Tannehill finished 32nd among 33 passers with a total QBR of 35.4.

The Titans finished 27th in scoring (19.4 ppg) in 2018, making it unlikely that the offense takes a major step forward with either quarterback.

With bad options under center, the team is already behind the eight ball when it comes to going over its season win total. The schedulers didn’t do the franchise any favors either. According to our projections, the Titans will face the fourth-toughest schedule this fall.

On average, Tennessee wins 6.7 games — the fifth fewest in the NFL.

Minnesota Vikings – Under 9 Wins

  • Current odds: -110, Implied Probability: 52.4%
  • Vikings go under win total 73.9% of the time

The Vikings offense is talented. Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Dalvin Cook and Kyle Rudolph combine to create one of the top offensive arsenals in the NFL. But even with all that firepower Minnesota took a step back, falling from fifth in offensive DVOA in 2017 to 18th in 2018.

A lot of the blame falls on the shoulders of Kirk Cousins. Sure, he completed a career-high 70.1% of his passes and threw for 30 touchdowns, but in big games he seemed to disappear. Of the team’s eight wins a season ago, only one came against an opponent with a winning record.

Over the final five games of the season, Cousins averaged just 201.8 passing yards per game. Minnesota went 2-3 down the stretch costing it a playoff spot.

According to Pro Football Focus, Cousins received a quarterback grade of 79.3 in 2018, which ranked 15th among passers. Cousins was the sixth-highest paid quarterback last season in the first of a three-year, $84 million guaranteed deal.

Cousins is paid like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL but his inconsistent play will hold the Vikings back.