With the NFL Draft finally in the rearview mirror, the window for educated speculation is now open. The powers that be in Las Vegas have released their projected regular season win totals for all 32 teams.
Going up against Vegas usually proves futile, but it is fun to try anyway. Here are the three best over-under bets to cash in on. All projected win totals are from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.
Indianapolis Colts: Over 6.5 wins
Since Andrew Luck entered the league as a rookie before the 2012 season, Indianapolis has never posted a losing record in a year where their franchise quarterback has started the majority of the 16 regular season games. Luck has also led the Colts to the playoffs on three occasions. However, Luck has missed 26 games over the last three seasons, including all of last season with a shoulder injury.
The good news for Colts fans is there seems to be optimism surrounding Luck’s health for the upcoming season. Owner Jim Irsay recently stated publicly that he believes Luck will be ready to go in the fall. Irsay also mentioned that the Colts turned down trade offers for the three-time Pro Bowler.
If Luck stays healthy, this bet really is easy money. Still, even if he does not, the law of averages is on the Colts’ side. Jacoby Brissett filled in admirably in Luck’s absence last year. He started 15 games and threw 13 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions.
The Colts won just four games last year, but also managed to lose an astonishing seven games in which they held a halftime lead. Close games in the NFL often come down to a bounce of the ball. Some of those losses will turn into wins this year, no matter who is under center. A more offensive-minded coaching staff should help Indianapolis be better in terms of closing out games as well.
The Colts also have a workable schedule. Lastly, the addition of incoming rookie Quenton Nelson should immediately improve a Colts offensive line that is a large part of the reason Luck has been injured so often. One guy cannot fix an entire offensive line, but he can certainly make it better in a hurry. Nelson is the most polished offensive lineman to enter the league in quite some time. Ending a three-year playoff drought is realistic for this team.
Los Angeles Rams: Under 9.5 wins
This will probably raise a few eyebrows. The Rams are being touted by many to make a Super Bowl run.
Forget that. They will have a hard enough time defending their division title. Sean McVay turned the Rams offense and Jared Goff from a dumpster fire into the highest-scoring unit in the league last year. However, defensive coordinators always adjust when something comes out of nowhere and takes everyone by surprise for a year. They will adjust to the Rams’ offense, and it will regress slightly, similar to what happened to Dak Prescott and the Cowboys last year.
The competition for the Rams is also brutal. Division rival San Francisco was the hottest team in the league to close out last year under quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. As long as Russell Wilson is in Seattle, they will remain a tough out. The non-division schedule is not much friendlier. It includes established powerhouses like the Super Bowl champion Eagles as well as the Saints.
Finally, the Rams acquired a wealth of defensive talent. Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh are all outstanding players. However, they are also very strong and volatile personalities. Finances aside, there is a reason they all changed teams this offseason. Whenever you put a bunch of volatile guys on the same unit, there is a reason to be nervous. It could all backfire, especially playing for such a young coach in a city like Los Angeles.
New York Giants: Over 6.5 wins
The Giants went 3-13 last year. Yet, Eli Manning still threw 19 touchdown passes and performed well in the midst of complete chaos around him. Yes, he is getting close to the end of his career, and the simplest thing to do when a team struggles as bad as New York did last year is change the quarterback. Still, the Giants should be applauded for not doing so.
Rookie Saquon Barkley immediately becomes an all-purpose three-down running back that will assist his two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback greatly. Second-round pick Will Hernandez and former Patriot Nate Solder have fortified the offensive line, at least on paper.
Also, the Giants have an easier schedule like the Colts. The Cowboys and Redskins could go either way this year. Even last year when they were awful, the Giants played the Super Bowl champions tough twice.
Lastly, new Giants head coach Pat Shurmur helped guide a quarterback with far less natural talent than Manning to one game away from the Super Bowl last year with the Vikings. Manning is well-positioned to find the fountain of youth in 2018, and the Giants are poised for a big bounce-back year.
Featured image from medium.com
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