The NBA has been known for teams tanking to have a better shot at the number one pick. It has worked in some cases and others it hasn’t. In the NFL, it doesn’t seem to be as big of a deal for the teams at the bottom of the league. Some of those teams end up finishing the season better than we thought and toppling their low over/under win total set by Vegas.
From the average handicapper to the esteemed, many are set to turn in their official regular season win total bets. In all likelihood if you’re putting in a serious strong wager you’re going to wait until the day before the regular season. This gives you the time to rethink a total if a serious injury occurs in the preseason.
Surely people are tracking the schedules of teams they plan to wager a win total on. But are you looking at the possibility of a team resting their starters week 17? It happens all the time and it’s no longer just teams that have secured a bye week.
Years ago bye week teams were stronger than they are now, in terms of record. Therefore records of 14-2 and even 13-3 are fewer and fewer. That means stronger wild card teams who sometimes are in position to rest week 17 to make way for a strong playoff run.
If you’re planning on taking the under on teams, you better put together some hypothetical scenarios in week 17. Just like in a straight wager, you’ll be surprised how dead on totals can be.
In Vegas right now teams that are projected to win double digit games are the Denver Broncos (11), Seattle Seahawks (11), Green Bay Packers (10), San Francisco (10.5), and New England (10.5).
Lets play hypothetical for all these teams and assume that they get in position to rest their starters week 17.
Denver would face Oakland at home
Oakland’s season win total is five games. Juice is -150 on the under and +150 on the over. Playing in a division with the Chiefs, Chargers, and Broncos makes the Raiders one of the toughest teams to bet a season total on the over. They also have the NFC West as their non-conference opponents. Unless the Chargers and Chiefs take a huge step back, getting to four or five wins by week 17 is going to be tough.
Seattle would face St. Louis at home
This is a bit more interesting. Seattle may still be in position for a bye week but might be in a neck and neck race with the 49ers for the division. We’re assuming they have the division clinched and rest against the Rams. St. Louis was one of the better young teams with promise last season. Their butt whippings of the Bears and Colts showcased that. Their total is set at 7.5. Vegas is making it awfully tough to bet on any totals in the NFC West. This Rams team should definitely see a bit of a rise but going .500 is the only way you cash.
San Francisco would face Arizona at home
This was the matchup last season to end 2013. If Arizona would have pulled out the win they would have finished with the same record as the 49ers at 11-5. Not many people are discussing that this Cardinals team went 10-6 and still missed out on the playoffs last year. But they’ve also taking some hits on the defensive side of the football which was their strength. Arizona’s win total is also 7.5 and may be too high considering Carson Palmer’s prior injury history. He went last year unscathed but can he duplicate that against the ferocious defense’s of the 49ers, Seahawks, and Rams?
Green Bay would face Detroit at home
Out of all the teams projected for double digit win totals the Packers may be in the best position. They’re a veteran team that should finally be healthy. They’re also in a division that heralds the Vikings, Lions, and Bears. The Bears and Lions have the talent but year in and year out fall into the category of teams that are inconsistent. Green Bay also gets the AFC East for their non conference division. Buffalo, New York, Miami, and the Patriots at home. Detroit’s win total is set at 8. I could see the Lions being one of those 8-7 week 17 teams but eliminated from playoff contention. Either way I think the Packers are resting week 17, which makes the play on the over for Detroit more appealing.
New England would face Buffalo at home
Buffalo’s season win total is 6.5. We’ve seen rookies before have success such as EJ Manuel and then have a disastrous second year. I’m not sold on Manuel yet, and I think his injuries in and out of the lineup actually helped the Bills. Teams were not able to get a consistent feel for Manuel’s abilities and Manuel didn’t have the built up pressure mentally on a weekly basis. Doug Marrone’s coaching abilities remain up in the air as well on the NFL level. Their schedule is favorable though, with winnable games against the Raiders, Browns, Vikings, and Houston scheduled. Assuming they can go 3-1 in those games they may be in position week 17 to pad their season total against a resting Patriots.