Early NFL Win Totals to Bet (Fantasy Football)
NFL win totals are out on most sports books, including DraftKings Sportsbook. For those new to this market, an NFL Win Total bet is when you are betting on how many games a team will win. Books will set the over or under on each team, and you can bet if it will be less or more than that number. For example, if you bet on the Cardinals to win over 5.5 games, they would need to win six or more. If you bet under, they have to win five or less games for your bet to win.
Kyle and I discussed NFL win totals in detail last season and had our most profitable year to date. We’re hoping to build on a strong 2022 and kicking things off with these three official plays. We’ll be talking a lot more about NFL win totals on the DFS and Betting Podcast in the next several weeks, so make sure you’re subscribed on your favorite podcast platform!
In addition, I’d recommend checking out Kyle’s Schedule-Adjusted Win Totals article he released last week. His projections are a key part of our process.
*Lines accurate at time of publishing
1. Carolina Panthers U7.5 (+100)
The Panthers finished 2022 with a 7-10 record, “earning” them the 2nd seed in the NFL’s worst division, the NFC South. As a result, they now get a 2nd place schedule featuring difficult matchups against Dallas, on the road against Miami and on the road against Seattle. Sure, they’ll get winnable matchups against their division foes, but there’s plenty of things that could go wrong for the Panthers in 2023.
CAR win total sitting at U7.5 (+100)
If you exclude Trey Lance and Mahomes who barely played their rookie year, since 2014 teams with a top 10 selected rookie QB have averaged 5.2 wins
2nd place schedule:
— Matthew Betz (@TheFantasyPT) March 27, 2023
In 2022, Carolina ranked 28th in total DVOA according to Football Outsiders and now they bring in a new coaching staff, lose their most explosive playmaker in D.J. Moore and will be playing the vast majority of their games with a rookie QB after trading up for the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. If you exclude Trey Lance and Patrick Mahomes who barely played in their rookie season, teams with a rookie QB taken in the top 10 of the NFL Draft have averaged 5.2 wins since 2014. DJ Chark is coming off ankle surgery, and this team overpaid for a declining veteran in Adam Thielen, whose targets per route run (21.3% > 19.3% > 15.0%), yards per route run (1.86 > 1.63 > 1.08) and yards per reception (12.5 > 10.8 > 10.5) have declined for three consecutive seasons. With a rookie QB and no legit playmakers, it’s tough to win in today’s NFL.
2. San Francisco 49ers U11.5 (-130)
The Niners probably have one of the best rosters top to bottom in the NFL. They’ve got a legit defense with excellent pass rushers and an offense with plenty of weapons to put up points in bunches. However, this line feels too high when you look at the win totals market around the NFL.
Only three teams have an 11.5 win total as of this article: The Kansas City Chiefs, the Cincinnati Bengals and the 49ers. Two of these teams have Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow under center. The other? Some combination of Trey Lance, Brock Purdy coming off major elbow surgery and Sam Darnold. Sure, San Francisco has won plenty of games despite not having a legit QB, but Jimmy G at least has starting experience in the NFL and a proven track record. Trey Lance has made four career starts (and quite frankly might not be that good), Brock Purdy was the last pick in the NFL Draft for a reason, and Sam Darnold….well…yeah…
The Niners also lost their defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and they only have one draft pick in the top 100 (pick 99) this year. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see San Fran rattle off 12+ wins this year, but this team has major QB issues, and it’s the most important position in sports. I’m with Borg and his 11 projected wins. Under.
3. Los Angeles Rams U7.5 (+100)
The Rams are…a mess. Two years ago, they embraced the “F the picks” mentality and won a Super Bowl. Hats off to them for a great run. Now, they’re paying the price. After a season in which they dealt with a ton of injuries a year ago, this team’s lack of depth was exposed. The same could be true in 2023 given their lack of financial resources available.
This team had no money to spend in free agency, and they once again don’t have a first round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Matthew Stafford (coming off a serious neck injury) and Aaron Donald contemplated retirement this off-season, Cooper Kupp is recovering from injury, and they’ve got no playmakers on the offensive side of the ball behind Kupp (shoutout to Allen Robinson’s 0.93 yards per route run rate in 2022 aka worse than Trent Sherfield).
On defense, this team lost its leading tackler in Bobby Wagner and their starting safety Taylor Rapp in free agency. Of course, Jalen Ramsey is now in Miami. The Rams are one of the NFL’s most fragile teams. It’ll be an uphill battle for LA to get to 8+ wins.