There are lots of degenerate gamblers like myself eager to give casinos their money, so it should be little surprise that they already have win totals you can bet on for the 2020 NFL season.
A lot of these look about right, but there are a handful I really like. So today let’s do the top 5 over/under win totals.
1) Ravens under 11
While the Ravens had a strong regular season last year, there are a lot of red flags around them.
Firstly, while they infamously went for it on 4th down more than any other team, they also converted those over 70% of the time. 4th down conversion attempts are high-leverage plays. If they work they greatly increase your chances of winning, but the reverse is also true if they don’t. This was shown in their playoff loss to the Titans, where they went 0/4 on 4th down conversion attempts.
If they continue being aggressive on 4th down in 2020, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll continue to convert at that 70% rate. Even a slight drop could have a huge impact on their record.
Secondly, run-first quarterbacks have historically struggled to maintain success over a long period of time. While guys like Kaepernick and Vick have started strong, they eventually declined once teams figured out how to play them. It’s possible that Jackson breaks that trend, but I prefer to side with history.
With their division also likely to be tougher, the Ravens will struggle to match their 2019 success.
2) Chiefs over 11.5
Andy Reid has coached 7 season in Kansas City, and in all 7 the Chiefs have exceeded their Vegas win total. That’s the type of trend I can get behind. Not to mention that the Chiefs have won 12 games in 3 of the last 4 seasons.
The other thing to like about the Chiefs, despite this line being very high, is that they won 12 games in 2019 despite a multitude of injuries, including to Mahomes. A fully healthy Mahomes playing 16 games seems like a virtual lock to get to 12 wins.
3) Dolphins over 5.5
Call me crazy, but the Dolphins won 5 games in 2019, and with plenty of draft picks and cap space they should be even better in 2020. So I don’t quite understand why this line is so low.
4) Patriots under 10.5
Usually I would go with history, and history says the Patriots are a virtual lock to win 11 games. But this isn’t your father’s Patriots. In 2019 they won 12 games, but had a ridiculously easy schedule. Their defense is likely to decline, as will Brady if he returns. I personally don’t think they’ll even make the playoffs.
5) Lions over 6.5
This one’s for you Tre.
Naturally the Lions’ 3-12-1 record was not enough for them to claim the division, but there is a silver lining for them going into 2020. When Stafford played, the Lions were 3-4-1, which is about as close to .500 as you can get without out actually being there.
It’s not that I think the Lions will be great or anything, but they should be able to reach 7 or 8 wins with Stafford playing the entire season.