So you really like football. The hard hitting is fun. Drinking on Sunday's with friends is great. Drafting your fantasy team and managing your roster gives you bragging rights. What do you do during the off-season? Sure, you follow the draft and free agency, but OTA's are nonsense (please attach story on OTA's), and there isn't even a preseason game for months. Ahhh, Las Vegas has the answer. Start studying up, NFL over/under's have been released.
The LVH Superbook is one of the biggest and most respected in the industry. They have provided a win total for every team in the league and handicappers have an opportunity to wager on whether a team will win more or less games than the total. Without further ado, our five favorite investments.
Oakland Under 5.5 – The Raiders went 4-12 last season and what reason do we have to believe that they will be two games better this year? Matt Flynn is a huge question at quarterback who may be an improvement on Carson Palmer, and just as easily might not. Even if Flynn plays well, Denarius Moore, Rod Streater, Jacoby Ford and Nick Kasa aren't exactly elite targets. Home games against the Jaguars, San Diego, Tennessee and Kansas City seem like the best chances for wins. On the road Oakland could win in Kansas City, San Diego, or against the Jets. The other 11 games seem like unlikely spots to triumph. What are the odds they go 6-1 in the seven winnable games?
Baltimore Over 8.5 – The Ravens have won nine games or more in five straight seasons. Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Anquan Boldin, Dannell Ellerbe, and Paul Kruger are all gone. A lot of their money went to Joe Flacco. Doubting Ozzie Newsome has proven to be a mistake over the years. Chris Canty, Marcus Spears and Elvis Dumervil could prove to be good additions, and having Bryant McKinnie in the fold at left tackle from the start of the season should benefit Baltimore. If they go 3-1 against the AFC East, beat Cleveland twice and split with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, they need two wins among a six game group against Denver, Houston, Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota, and Detroit to hit nine victories.
New Orleans Over 9 – If it could go wrong last year it did for the Saints. While Sean Payton doesn't play defense, having their head coach around will make a major difference. Not having an NFL investigation taking place all season, and Drew Brees being under contract during the off-season will have a positive effect too. Two years ago New Orleans went 13-3. While their schedule is difficult, they have more talent than division rivals Tampa Bay and Carolina, and there are wins to be had against the AFC East.
Buffalo Under 6.5 – A rookie coach and rookie quarterback that play in a division with the Patriots and free spending Dolphins seem unlikely to do better than 3-3 in the division with 2-4 more likely. They take on the NFC South with four teams that are more talented than they are though beating Carolina at home is possible. Games against Jacksonville, Cleveland and Kansas City are potential victories but with two of them on the road they'll struggle to go 2-1 in the threesome. They won six games last year and have dramatically altered their roster. What leads us to believe this roster that needs to develop chemistry is any better than the previous one?
New York Jets Under 6.5 – Much like the Bills, New York has a talent deficit against division foes Miami and New England. Their quarterback situation is different than last year when Tim Tebow was in the fold, but doesn't feel any more settled. If things start slowly, Rex Ryan will either by fired or discussion of his job status will discussed endlessly. Besides home games against Oakland and Cleveland and Buffalo it is hard to find a game they'll be favored win.