There’s still some time to get your season win total bets in and we’re here to tell you where your money should go. (Note: Don’t blame us if the books take you to the cleaners. You were the one who listened to the advice of some random blogger.) All odds are taken from Bovada’s sportsbook and the money lines are for the over.
We’ll start with tonight’s kickoff game – Baltimore at Denver.
Baltimore: 8 wins (-115)
Casey: Even though the defending champs are looking at the 5th toughest schedule this season, they still have Buffalo, Miami and the Jets so there’s probably 3 easy ones. Add in playing Cleveland twice and they don’t have to work too hard to get to 8. Go Over.
Armando: According to About.com, only seven defending Super Bowl champs went on to have losing records the next season. Of those, four would have improved to at least .500 with one more win. You’re telling me that the Ravens – the same Ravens who are returning much of their offense from last year, including a DWTS finalist – are going to join that group and go sub-.500? “Oh but their defense sucks this year” – um, did you miss the part where they signed three-time Pro Bowler and NCAA single-game sack record holder Elvis Dumervil? Totally agree with Casey here – Go Over.
Denver: 11 wins (-115)
Casey: The Broncos should have no problem pulling 5-6 wins in division. But they will face some tough road trips to Houston, New England and an early test to face the New York Football Giants. Thanks to the Chiefs, Bolts and Raiders, they’ll face the NFL’s easiest schedule this year. I’d say 12 wins is probably an easy pull. Going Over.
Armando: Yeah, kinda tough to bet against this one. If they don’t sweep the AFC West, they should be given three losses as a penalty. The run game is the only question mark here, but John Fox and OC Adam Gase will have that hammered out by Week 4, max. Go Over, Bangers, and don’t look back.
Arizona: 5 wins (-160)
Casey: Based simply on the fact that they’ve got a semi-competent quarterback under center, I’d say they’re a lock to go over. Granted, not many of those wins (if any) are coming in their division, but still barring an epic collapse, 6 wins should be doable here. Overeem.
Armando: Read this article. Done? Okay, now consider that the 2013 Cardinals might be worse than the 2012 version. Under.
Atlanta: 10 wins (+120)
Casey: 10 does seem pretty generous. New Orleans will be better this year, Carolina looks to be on the upswing and Tampa Bay looks like a wild card. So the division doesn’t look to be an easy go and two December road trips to San Francisco and Green Bay will tell us exactly where the Falcons could be come playoff time. Have to agree with Vegas, even though they may only be off by a win. Taking Under.
Armando: Eventually I’ll take an Under, right? Today is not that day. Contrary to (un)popular belief, Carolina looks like they did last season. I’m not sold on TB yet either. NO will put points on the board, and asses in the seats at the Superdome, but their defense remains suspect. On the flip side, their out-of-division schedule is brutal (Seattle, NE, Washington, @SF). Going Over here, but don’t be shocked to see a push either.
Buffalo: 6 wins (+125)
Casey: Despite having the 28th toughest schedule this year, these still are the Bills. They will still be lead by a rookie QB whose coming off a knee injury. Cleveland and Jacksonville look like the only winnable non-division road games. And those are no guarantees because… the Bills. The books have this one just about right. Push.
Armando: Finally, it’s Under Time! The best part of this team – BY FAR – is a stud RB whom Bills fans would be over the moon to see play seven games in a season. Taking Under.
Carolina: 7 wins (-175)
Casey: Toughest schedule in the league, bland offensive weapons outside of Cam Newton, but developing defense lead by Luke Kuechley. Even in a rough division, I think they can weather at least a .500 season. Up and Over.
Armando: “…developing defense led by Luke Kuechley”… yipes. That doesn’t sound like a 7-win squad to me. Cam’s gonna Cam, of course, but Cam’s Camming couldn’t pull them over .500 last year, and it won’t this year. Thanks to the continued influx of mobile QBs (Vick’s return, Kaepernick, Wilson, now E.J. Manuel), the effectiveness of that style will continue to fade. Cam has a cannon (Cammon?) but his accuracy is crap (3rd last year in YPA; 26th in comp. %). Also he’s throwing to a 34-year-old Steve Smith, and a who-gives-a-fuck-how-old Brandon LaFell. Underoos, kids. (Side note: how the hell did Carolina never hire Cam Cameron? Seems like a no-brainer to me.)
Chicago: 8 wins (-145)
Casey: A lot rides on how well new head coach Marc Trestman’s new offense. The schedule looks decent and with 2 rebounding teams in their division, a .500 year shouldn’t be too hard to grab. Over.
Armando: Tough to think anything other than a push here. Drafting stud Oregon OG Kyle Long will help Jay Cutler tremendously, but how much better can he do? With no pressure on him ever, he’s still a middle-of-the-road guy. Nowadays, you’re not gonna win big with a fair-to-middlin’ player under center, and until Da Bears cop an elite QB, they’ll be stuck with a very middle-of-the-road record. Push.
Cincinnati: 8 wins (-165)
Casey: There’s a lot of talk of them overtaking the Ravens for the division here. Solid defense, winnable games on the road, quarterback with a proven (albeit short) track record. At the very least, we’re talking about a wild card team here. Over.
Armando: The Cincinnati Bengals will win the AFC North division – which isn’t really a crazy sentiment anymore. There’s a very good possibility that the Bengals will start 4-0, and a Week 5 win over the Pats will give them all the momentum they need to continue to crush. James Harrison gives the D some much needed nasty, and RB tandem Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis are both line for a huge season. Over!
Cleveland: 6 wins (-175)
Casey: I’m probably giving them too much “fan optimism” here, but they get a soft AFC East and some few winnable games at home. If the pieces come together (not like that’s something we’ve been saying since 2004), they’ll sneak up on some better teams (Steelers). Let me temper my enthusiasm by saying this is at best a .500 squad. Over.
Armando:Someone’s got to lose in the AFC North. Ain’t gonna be Cincy or Baltimore (see above), and it won’t be Pittsburg either (see below), so Cleveland draws the short straw. They’ll figure it out eventually, with an offense that is starting to show signs of gelling, and a defense that is clicking much better than the last few seasons. Alas, they’re not quite there yet. Josh Gordon’s suspension is a huge blow to this squad, and maybe the one thing pushing this from an Over or Push to an Under for me.
Dallas: 8 wins (-115)
Casey: Man, the NFC East is hard to read this year. The Boys, ‘Skins and Giants all look like they could win the thing and Eagles, well who knows with their new offense. That said, a pretty manageable schedule and a better organized defense should have Dallas solidly in the playoffs this year, so I’m taking them over. And I did that without a single Tony Romo joke… Romover.
Armando: It’s Washington’s division to lose, but as you all know, the NFC East is never a runaway division. The Eagles are the only team of the four that are out of the running. The offense will get it done – assuming DeMarco Murray stays healthy. He’s such a bit playmaker that you’re talking a potential difference of 10-6 with him to 6-10 without him. With that said, I’ll assume he’ll play half the season and split the difference. Push it real good.
Detroit: 8 wins (-130)
Casey: Rough schedule (2nd toughest), but some winnable road games. Still looking at a 3rd place finish in the division, but the potential in that defensive line is terrifying. Push.
Armando:Probably the toughest call of the 32, mainly because we don’t know which Lions team will show up on any given week. As Casey mentioned, the schedule does their inconsistency no favors either. 7-9 seems to be the size of it, but they’re gonna look really good in those 7 wins. Under.
Green Bay: 10 wins (-110)
Casey: An improving running game behind the game’s best quarterback make this one a pretty easy choice. Over.
Armando: The Packers always live and die by the D, and this season will be no different. I see them being about as defensively strong as last season, which puts them into the “fair-to-middling” range. Rookie RB and ex-Bama beast Eddie Lacy is a strong kid, but still raw and unproven. They will do well and almost certainly nab at least a Wild Card slot, but they won’t win over 10 games. Fromunda cheese, but not by much.
Houston: 10 wins (+120)
Casey: Best defense in the AFC, one of the game’s best runners, only one team in their division that will even give them a game. Add a pretty easy schedule and they may not have to play Wild Card weekend this year. Over.
Armando: No brainer here. These boys have a SERIOUS chip on their shoulder after winning the AFC South and being bounced in the Divisional round the past two years… doubt it will happen again. They play four of the odds-on favorites to win it all this year (Seattle, San Francisco, New England and Denver) but will likely split those four tiltsOver, no doubt.
Indianapolis: 8 wins (-110)
Casey: Can Andrew Luck avoid a sophomore slump? I’m not sure that would help even if he does. The defense is still very rough around the edges. While they play one of the easier schedules this year, I’ll blindly call them for a step backwards this season. Under.
Armando: I think the opposite… I think the Colts will be just a step behind. Out-of-conference games vs. Miami, Arizona and KC, as well as being in the same division as Jacksonville, will help tremendously.Over, and a surprise trip to the AFC Championship game to face the Broncos. (A guy can dream, yes?)
Jacksonville: 5 wins (EVEN)
Casey: It will take a HUGE step forward on offense for them to make this line. MJD is the only proven weapon and that’s if he can stay healthy in a contract year. Is this another 2-14 year? Probably not. But 5-11? I’m going with no. Under.
Armando: I think Casey nailed it. This is a sad, sad team with a sad, sad offense and a sad, sad defense. Look for Justin Forsett and Ace Sanders to lead the team in their respective positions. Puke. AsUnder as under can get.
Kansas City: 7 wins (-155)
Casey: These are the Chefs we’re talking about right? Actually yeah. The Matt Cassel Experiment is over and with some stability in a proven starter in Alex Smith, the offense should improve. New head coach Andy Reid will lead this team to a big step forward, but the defense still needs work. LB Tamba Hali is still the only pass rush threat. Big improvement, but a year from contention in a weak division. Push.
Armando:I don’t care if Andy Reid is in the house (you forgot too, didn’t you?). I don’t care if Jamaal Charles stays healthy-ish the majority of the season (even though he won’t, obv). I don’t care how many Dwayne Bowe/rainbow puns you have (RIP Dio). I don’t care about Alex Smith (that’s just it, nothing clever there). They will be way Under here; honestly I would still pick Under as far down as 5 wins.
Miami: 8 wins (+115)
Casey: Could this be the year the Pats finally get taken down? It’s possible and Miami could be the team to do it. Everything’s coming together and if Dion Jordan can make an immediate impact on defense, opposing QB’s will be on the run and often. Plus, they get to play the Jets and Bills twice. Over.
Armando: This is a squad that will be near or at the top of the division in the next 3 years or so, as long as Ryan Tannehill stays healthy. Getting some WR help would be nice too. Can’t see this team going at or over .500 yet, but it’s on the horizon. Keep Calm and Miami Dolphins, I guess. Just not in 2013. Under.
Minnesota: 7 wins (+150)
Casey: Average defense, average schedule, average quarterback with average numbers. Nothing not named Adrian Peterson really jumps out about this team. It’s gonna be another year of leaning on Purple Jesus and it just not being enough. Under.
Armando: Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings will be the spark this team needs, and Adrian Peterson will be the tinder. I’m not quite sure where I was going with that analogy; whilst I sit here and Ponder it, enjoy the dulcet Overtones of my prediction.
New England: 11 wins (+120)
Casey: Not often we can say this about the Pats, but there is some real uncertainty going into the year. With both of Tom Brady’s big weapons out to start the year, a lack of proven depth at WR and the usual RB by committee, the offense has more questions than it ever has in Belichick’s reign. I mean they’re not the Jets and will still make the playoffs, but won’t meet their usual lofty goals. Under.
Armando: Remember back in 2001? When the Pats hadn’t won the AFC East since 1997, and hadn’t been to the AFC Championship game since 1996? Remember how everyone wrote them off before the Playoffs even started? This is probably their worst showing since then, in the eyes of many… but Belichick is the best coach in the game, Tom Brady is one of the best QBs – if not THE best – of the past decade, Gronk WILL play at 100% for at least half the season (if not more), and DE Chandler Jones is the brother of one Jon Jones. What more do you need? Over. I said it.
New Orleans: 9 wins (-150)
Casey: Sean Payton is back and so will be the Saints. They walk into a highly competitive division with Atlanta and an improving Carolina. Rob Ryan will hopefully have the defense headed in the right direction a year after being the worst in the league. The 2nd toughest schedule in the league won’t make matters any easier, but the offense will have them in every game. If they return to 2011 form, this is a double digit win team but I’ll err on the side of caution right now. Push.
Armando: I like the Push here too. NO has always been Drew Brees and whatever scraps they can scrape up, and this season isn’t looking much different. (NO’s stats last year: 1st in passing yds., 25th in rushing yds., 31st in opponent passing yds., and 32nd in opponent rushing yds.) Luckily, the NFC South should be on a down year, and the Saints should cruise to at least 9 wins. Who dat? Dat Over.
New York Giants: 9 wins (+120)
Casey: This is right were I’d put Big Blue, which is what they’ve really looked like for the last few years. They’ll duel Dallas for the division title. They’ll have a few bad games that will have everyone calling for Eli’s head, but he’ll bounce back and they’ll be in the thick of it at the end of the year. Push.
Armando: Yay! Casey didn’t use the classic “New York Football Giants” reference, so I don’t mind if I do. This might be the most explosive offensive team in the league – Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are as good as anyone else playing today, and David Wilson will look to have a breakout year, made even breaky-outy-er with the loss of Andre Brown. Jason Pierre-Paul will anchor the defense once he’s healthy (maybe Week 1?). I’ll optimistically say that the team will stay healthy, making this a pretty easy Over call.
New York Jets: 6 wins (+160)
Casey: There isn’t a single thing about this team that says 6 wins. Hell, 4 might be too generous. The way this offense is looking, a butt fumble might look like a season highlight. Under.
Armando: I was listening to a sports radio interview with new Jets GM John Idzik yesterday afternoon. When asked if he thought the Jets could make the playoffs this year, he basically said (I’m paraphrasing here) that he did not want to look that far into the future. Who the hell doesn’t answer that question with a “yes”? I think you know the answer to that. LOLUnder.
Oakland: 5 wins (+175)
Casey: I think Terrelle Pryor starting actually gives them a better shot at reaching this number. A healthy DMC would help push the offense forward. Also, consider their division. They are one of three rebuilding squads and could take advantage of that. An easy schedule helps out here too. Don’t go nuts and pencil them in for the playoffs or anything, but an improvement over 4-12 is very possible. Over.
Armando: Kind of a homer pick, because of Pryor, but they have promise, as Mr. McCall stated. First-round draft pick CB D.J. Hayden should pay dividends in the secondary, one of the best in the league – along with new additions Tracy Porter and (the returning) Charles Woodson. A solid Over.
Philadelphia: 7 wins (-105)
Casey: Depth is once again an issue on offense, especially with Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense. The defense is average at best and 7 wins seems about right here. That’s being generous with an upset in-division. Year One of the Kelly era will see some growing pains. Now, Year Two could be very interesting if the right pieces come to town. But for now: Push it real good.
Armando: Bangers – you must know that Casey and I have written these up at separate times, without one having the knowledge of the other. So the fact that we would both bust out the Salt-n-Pepa is pretty… well, sad, I guess. But I digress: I think 7 is the perfect number for this Eagles squad. I feel that they will be one of the best – if not THE best – in the league this year at the read option, with a deceptively-quick and mature Michael Vick at the helm. Patrick Chung and Cary Williams were both sneaky good pickups in the offseason, and will make a good secondary great. Still too many offensive questions to peg them at over .500 though. I wanna Push them around… well I will, well I will.
Pittsburgh: 9 wins (-115)
Casey: Is this the year the AFC North finally outpaces the Steelers? Yes, yes it is. The Bengals are better than most will expect, the Ravens are the Ravens and even the Browns are an improved team that should stay in games longer than in the past (we’ll still choke it away in the 4th quarter, don’t worry). The defense is again a strong point, but aging and as we saw last year only an injury or two away from collapse. Going to a land down Under.
Armando: 9 wins is a pipe dream this year. Age (31) and injury (lots) are finally catching up to Ben Rothelisberger, not to mention their RB situation should be illustrated by the ghost of Bil Keane. Perennial underachievers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown aren’t much more promising. Studs Ziggy Hood, Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu keep the D stout, but losing LB James Harrison will hurt them a ton. As mentioned above, he always brings the nasty, and without him the Steelers will be much depleted in that category. There’s no amount of Under Armour that will get Steel Town over .500 this year, or for a number of years to come.
San Diego: 7 wins (+110)
Casey: Until Phillip Rivers has someone to throw to not named Antonio Gates, the Bolts will struggle on offense. Especially since their featured back is the second coming of Fred Taylor: Ryan Mathews. Under the bridge.
Armando: Ryan Mathews. Philip Rivers. Manti Te’o. Malcom Floyd. If seeing these guys on your roster doesn’t give you nightmares, then you’re a better person than I. Under, Jeeves.
Seattle: 10 wins (-135)
Casey: The favorite to win the NFC this year will have a tough road in their division, but they have the league’s best D to lean on. Russell Wilson will probably dodge a sophomore slump and look like the quarterback that finished 2012. Beast Mode is Beast Mode and with the emergence of Christine Michael, the Seahawks have even more depth in the backfield. I’m going out on a limb and calling for a Seattle/San Fran showdown, best 2 of 3 falls for a trip to NYC in February. Over.
Armando: Who would’ve thought the Seahawks – the team that has sniffed one Super Bowl before the Steelers turned the lights out – would be one of the top teams in the league? I’ve seen them flip-flopped with SF, but most would agree that those are the top two teams in the country. I tend to be in that camp as well. Look for Russell Wilson th put on a hell of an encore in his second year, continuing to impress those who somehow didn’t stop to watch him play at Wisconsin. Over is easy money.
St. Louis: 7 wins (-140)
Casey: The Rams are one of those teams that just have so much potential and this looks like the year that it comes together. Sam Bradford looks poised to finally justify his price tag. The defense, led by Animal Jr., is ready for a breakout year. There are some questions at the skill positions, they play in the rough NFC West and face the 2nd toughest schedule in the NFL, so I’m thinking an 8-8 year sounds just about right. Over.
Armando: Daryl Richardson has carved out his starting role, and will make Rams fans all across Missouri forget about that one dude. It’s a shame that the Rams are in the NFC West, because they could be a division-leading squad in many other divisions. But with Seattle and SF ruling the roost, this squad will be nothing more than 3rd. Still a respectable 7-9 though. Push.
Tampa Bay: 7 wins (-140)
Casey: Speaking of quarterbacks who need to prove themselves this year, Josh Freeman needs to bring those numbers of 2 years ago back to keep his job here. He’s surrounded with good talent and the defense should be better than expected, depending on when Revis returns to action. The schedule doesn’t get any more average (opp. winning pct. in 2012 of .500) and they should be competitive in the NFC South.
Armando: The Bucs are in a similar situation as the Rams are: an above-average team in an above-above-average division. I actually see them being a step behind the Rams, due to Josh Freeman’s QB woes, and a defense that hasn’t been the same since Jon Gruden was in the house. (Quick aside: it’s been months since we’ve had a “Maybe Gruden Will Be Hired Soon?” conspiracy… what the hell, sportscasters and beat writers?) Under.
Tennessee: 6 wins (EVEN)
Casey: Sorry Armando but your hometown boys are just about right here at 6 wins. CJ2K should get a nice kick in rear by the newly-arrived Shonn Greene, but Jake Locker is still your starting quarterback. And the offensive line still needs work. Push.
Armando: Vegas sees this as even on 6 games, Casey sees this a Push, and I’m hard pressed to argue. The team is young, but they’re hungry. Head coach Mike Munchak knows that he’s on a hot seat of sorts; his 20+ years of service with the Oilers/Titans organization won’t be enough to save his job with a poor showing. Is 6-10 poor enough? Who knows. Truth be told, Bud Adams is probably throwing darts at a board to make those decisions anyway. Push.
Washington: 8 wins (-115)
Casey: Will RG3 be able to replicate his performance of last season after off-season knee surgery? He’ll need to get the ‘Skins back to the playoffs. In a year when the Giants are the Giants and the Cowboys actually look improved, the NFC East will be a crap shoot. The defense will need to step up though after an underwhelming 24.3 ppg last season. I’ll say Push but I don’t feel too confident about it because of the amount of variables here.
Armando: Mike Shanahan’s 1998 Denver Broncos currently hold the record for most 1st-quarter points in a season. With one year of the RGIII era under our belts, and a lukewarm-but-good-enough relationship between coach and QB, it’s time for the ‘Skins to start pushing that envelope again. Alfred Morris is really the missing piece here, as having a defined starting back will take the guesswork out of the RBBC game for Shanny. One of only 7 teams to give up < 100 YPG on the ground, Washington has instead invested in the secondary, drafting Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo to help fill-in those gaps. I'm liking this team to make a strong run, win the NFC East, and go Over 8 wins no doubt.