While perusing the over/under for betting the NFL 2020 season win total for teams, it struck me that the totals for the league just don’t add up. On oddsshark.com, they very nicely lay out the projected totals for 2020 and the actual wins for 2019 in a great, easy to read table. It also makes analysis of the predictions a straightforward exercise.
After close scrutiny, the numbers are very interesting. Of the twelve teams that the oddsmakers set an over/under number that is less than their 2019 win total, eleven were playoff teams last season.
It’s normal for as many as half the prior season’s teams from the postseason to be left out the following season. But for every team to fail to reach the prior season’s win total would be unusual.
Is it the perfect bet?
According to the betting win totals, 18 teams will improve, two will stay the same, and 12 will have a worse season in 2020 than in 2019. Cumulatively, the league will end up with eight more wins than in 2019.
That is statistically impossible, considering each team will still play 16 games, and there will be a winner and a loser in each one. Furthermore, the average wins per team is 8.22, again, statistically impossible to happen.
On the surface, one could conclude that the credibility of the numbers is in doubt. Surely the publisher would ensure that the totals would balance in such a way as not to make it easy to win by simply betting the under on every team. With the cumulative win total greater than that of the league as a whole, it would appear to be the prudent bet.
I then analyzed the lines, thinking that the cumulative under bets would end up with more negative lines than the over ones. I was surprised that the under bets carried a higher net return than bets on the over, making it a better strategy to bet the under on every team.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s what the numbers dictate, indicating that the oddsmakers believe there is a better chance of more teams going over the win total than under.
Teams to Watch for Betting the NFL
Last season, the Dallas Cowboys won eight games and were in the playoff hunt down to the wire. This was all despite going 1 – 6 in one-possession games. The Cowboys also outscored their opponents by an average of seven points a game, despite their mediocre .500 record. In addition, their turnover ratio was a respectable -1.
America’s Team has Dak Prescott playing under the franchise tag this season, which means the fifth-year quarterback has bet on himself and should be looking to convince the Cowboys or another team of his long term viability.
They also have wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back Ezekiel Elliott locked into long term deals. The over/under win total for the Cowboys is 9.5, with a 10 or 11 win season likely in the weak NFC East.
Another team of interest is Tampa Bay, as they look to ride the arrival of quarterback Tom Brady to a playoff appearance. Their schedule includes the usual NFC South teams and games against the NFC West and AFC West.
They get the Chiefs, Vikings, and Packers at home in Raymond James Stadium, but adding three wins to last year’s total to get above the 9.5 over/under will be a challenging task, even with arguably the best quarterback of all-time on the roster.
While it takes a few months to get the payout, wagers on the season win totals are interesting to analyze, execute and follow.