Football is back! Well not really but the NFL schedule release last week means we’re only a few short months from kicking off the regular season (cue the excessive draft dialogue for 4 days). With such a fine line separating teams from one another, there’s no greater equalizer in pro football than a soft schedule. For those unfamiliar with the betting hype surrounding season long win total wagers, they’re a better predictive measure of Vegas’ true expectations for each team than future odds.
As a former bookmaker, setting win totals always provided a welcomed challenge because they attract professional bettors the same way AAU basketball tournaments attract sports agents. Regular season wins create great buzz however they’re rarely a lucrative venture for most casinos, paling in comparison to the profits achieved by a competitive futures market.
For those reading the column out there about to go; “wait, your win projections don’t equal the exact number of wins available during the season!” That’s not a mistake or done on accident; the prices are inflated in anticipation of the public’s tendency to look for overs. Afterall, most recreational gamblers find it more entertaining to root for wins all season long over teams compiling 2-14 regular seasons
Gambler’s Note: Juice you see attached to my win totals indicate additional “tax” or vigorish used to increase or decrease payouts on a wager. Juice is the biggest deterrent to back professionals off a particular bet because consistently laying a steep price erodes your bankroll faster than the traditional 11/10. Half games are used as an intermediate step but juice is added at every price point before a half game would be added or subtracted from the opener.
Example of a typical line move:
Step 1: Price Opens 8
Step 2: Line moves to 8 Over -120
Step 3: Line moves to 8 over -140.
Step 4: So much money keeps flowing in on the over the next step is to go to 8.5
Step 5: Line than goes to 8.5 over -120, 8.5 over -140 etc. You get the idea
Each bookmaker determines how large a move to make between price points based on expected liability and risk threshold.
Rather than speculate on who may come from off the pace to have a surprise season, here are my way too early projected win totals for all 32 NFL teams.
2013 Projected Win Totals
Falcons 11 Over -125
Redskins 8.5 Over -125
Ravens 8 Over -130
Panthers 7.5 Under -125
Bills 6.5 Over -125
Chiefs 6.5 Over -125
Dolphins 6.5 Over -120
Eagles 6.5 Under -125
Chargers 6 Over -120
Jets 6 Over -125
Cardinals 6 Under -125
Jaguars 4 Under -120
Updated Super Bowl odds from LVH Superbook