2021 NFC Win Totals with Borg & Betz (Fantasy Football)

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After unpacking the AFC Win totals last week, Betz and I decided to finish the drill with the NFC Win Totals on the Fantasy Footballers DFS podcast.

With the NFL Schedule release on Wednesday, I offered ten fantasy insights and detailed some of the weirder scheduling quirks of 2021. Here is a breakdown of each division in the NFC, our early schedule-adjusted forecast, DraftKings Sportsbook opening and current lines, and our takes on the best wagers to make for the 2021 season.

NFC East
WIN TOTAL FORECAST Kyle’s Schedule Adj. Win Proj. DK Sportsbook Opening DK Sportsbook Current OVER OVER Break-Even % UNDER UNDER Break-Even %
Dallas Cowboys 10 9.5 9.5 107 47.62% -134 57.26%
Washington Football Team 8 8 8.0 -141 58.51% 116 46.30%
New York Giants 6.5 7 7.0 -130 56.52% 107 48.31%
Philadelphia Eagles 7.5 6.5 6.5 -155 60.78% 127 44.05%

Division Winner Props: DAL (+125), WAS (+260), NYG (+350), PHI (+500)

Dallas Cowboys
It’s a stark turn for a team that was 3rd in the division last year to be the overwhelming favorite. But when you have Dak Prescott returning and hopefully a healthy offensive line, the Cowboys project to be a top-5 offense yet again. The fact there is plus money on them as NFC East division winners is shocking considering they have a full 1.5 game edge on Washington. Dallas starts out against Tampa Bay in Week 1 and eventually gets to play three home games in a row Weeks 3-5 (PHI, CAR, NYG). They are also an interesting longshot bet to win the Super Bowl (+2800) with worse odds than Indianapolis and Denver for some reason.

Betz and Borg’s Take: To Win the NFC East (+125)

Washington Football Team
The Football team has gained a ton of steam over the last year and with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm, they are definitely one of fantasy Twitter’s favorite teams to hit the over. Eight wins do seem achievable although it does need to be noted they play a “1st place schedule” including matchups against the Seahawks & Bills. We like them to be in the mix to make the playoffs as Matthew “Move the Line” Betz got it +300 in mid-April. 

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Betz and Borg’s Take: Make playoffs (+149)

New York Giants
The Giants are an enigma as Daniel Jones is an easy person to gang up on and fade this team. But they went 6-10 last year without Saquon Barkley and now also add Kenny Golladay in the mix. They have offensive playmakers and the defense was a solid unit in 2020. There seems to be some value on the under currently although the line at seven wins looks dead on when considering our schedule-adjusted projections. The Giants have a brutal road schedule including KC, LAC, NO, TB, WAS, DAL, and MIA.

Betz and Borg’s Take: Pass

Philadelphia Eagles
I feel like a mean person hating on Betz’s Eagles like this but this team is in trouble on a number of fronts. I detailed earlier this off-season they were a team I’m willing to take the under and Vegas is inviting me to do so at +127 on DK Sportsbook. While their overall schedule isn’t concerning, having a Week 14 bye is rough for a team still lacking identity. By then, it’s possible the organization has made its decision on Jalen Hurts being the long-term answer at QB. They are a sneaky longshot to end up with the No. 1 pick. If the Eagles’ line moves to seven, I would feel even more confident in the under.

Betz and Borg’s Take: Under 6.5 wins (+127)

Getty Images / Norm Hall

NFC North
WIN TOTAL FORECAST Kyle’s Schedule Adj. Win Proj. DK Sportsbook Opening DK Sportsbook Current OVER OVER Break-Even % UNDER UNDER Break-Even %
Green Bay Packers 10.5 10.5 10.5 -143 58.85% 118 45.87%
Minnesota Vikings 9.5 8.5 9.0 125 44.44% -152 60.32%
Chicago Bears 6.5 7 7.5 107 48.31% -130 56.52%
Detroit Lions 4.5 5 5.0 -110 52.38% -110 52.38%

Division Winner Props: GB (-134), MIN (+260), CHI (+375), DET (+2000)

Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers and his ongoing saga aside, this team is not a sure thing to win the NFC North even if the MVP sorts things out. Offensively, Green Bay operated at a ridiculous pace last year averaging a league-leading 97 yards per TD. I mentioned their offensive line as another moment to pause losing All-Pro center Corey Lindsey and David Bakhtiari could miss the beginning of the season. They have one of my three true “gauntlet schedules” from Weeks 6-12 that will be a true test of their ability to overcome. Ok, all of that to say they are still the favorite in the division. With so much risk related to Rodgers, it’s not a situation I’m wanting to give a firm take on.

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Betz and Borg’s Take: Pass

Minnesota Vikings
In early April, I was in on the Vikings as an over at 8.5 and the line has since moved to nine wins. Projecting a team to go 9-8 doesn’t feel that comforting but it’s an over with room for Minnesota to hit the high end of their projections and go off for 10 or 11 wins or their median projections which in our schedule-adjusted forecast has them closer to 9.5 wins. (If you want to be precise, it’s more like 9.2) They are also a solid bet to win the NFC North (+260) if you think the Packers are due either for regression or a Jordan Love-submarine. The Vikings’ defense should be better in 2021 but some of their signings (CB Patrick Peterson) are a bit curious. I still don’t mind the over (+125) with a push clearly in view.

Betz and Borg’s Take: Make playoffs (+122)

Chicago Bears
The Bears’ total has moved to 7.5 since the lines opened mostly due to the drafting of Justin Fields. We are big fans on the DFS Podcast but we also might need to press the brake on the Bears busting out in 2021. They have Mike Clay’s toughest strength of schedule (an opinion I respect) and some of their road games look like a trap: LAR, CLV, TB, PIT, GB, SEA, MIN. As of right now, Andy Dalton is the declared starter per Matt Nagy but if you think Fields is lightning in a bottle, this team can go 8-9 or better, and their over (+107) is tempting.

Betz and Borg’s Take: Pass

Detroit Lions
Oh, the Lions… Dan Campbell aka Guns Mahoney is a living legend here at the Fantasy Footballers. You might think their win total would be something to take advantage of but five wins feel spot on. While any NFL game is certainly far from a sure thing, here are the projected “winnable” games on their schedule: CIN, CHI, MIN, @DEN, ARZ, @ATL. That’s it. The offensive line is actually a major source of strength of the team so don’t completely discredit the offense. Nevertheless, you can’t really have a ton of confidence either way on this one.

Betz and Borg’s Take: Pass

NFC South
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WIN TOTAL FORECAST Kyle’s Schedule Adj. Win Proj. DK Sportsbook Opening DK Sportsbook Current OVER OVER Break-Even % UNDER UNDER Break-Even %
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11 11.5 11.5 -125 55.56% 103 49.26%
New Orleans Saints 10 9 9.0 103 49.26% -125 55.56%
Atlanta Falcons 8 7 7.5 -155 60.78% 127 44.05%
Carolina Panthers 7 7.5 7.5 110 47.62% -134 57.26%

Division Winner Props: TB (-200), NO (+300), ATL (+800), CAR (+1100)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers kept the gang together for another Super Bowl run and they were somehow rewarded with Mike Clay’s easiest strength of schedule. Yes, you read that correctly. The Bucs get a “2nd place schedule” and the benefit of playing the Panthers twice, the Jets, and the NFC East. While I might disagree slightly with this metric, it’s hard betting against Tom Brady. See: the last 20 years. In terms of win totals, 11.5 is a lot to stomach even in a 17-game season. They are +325 to win the NFC which is probably a better bet instead of the minus just to win the NFC South.

Betz and Borg’s Take: Pass

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New Orleans Saints
The Saints are a tough team to project based on what we know right now with Taysom Hill & Jameis Winston. Regardless of who it is though, Vegas currently thinks this team isn’t a playoff team (Yes: +114/No: -139) which is telling you something. They are right on the line and it’s possible the bottom could fall out sooner than later. While our schedule-adjusted projections are kinder than the current win totals, it’s still not a team you can have a ton of confidence in. We graded their schedule against the run as among the five toughest in the league (playing TB twice will do that) and outside of Michael Thomas & Alvin Kamara, who else is going to see targets? (Whispers: ‘Adam Trautman)

Betz and Borg’s Take: Pass

Atlanta Falcons
Hold on to your “homer” complaints. I get it that the Falcons may seem like I’m showing a bit of favoritism here. But it helps that Betz is seeing the same things related to the Falcons in 2021. We were all over their over at seven and now it’s at 7.5. I was fortunate to place a wager on the Falcons making the playoffs at +300 and it’s now moved to +215. While playing .500 ball is not exactly inspiring, it’s worth noting the Falcons play a “4th place schedule” which includes Lions & Jaguars. Not that those are free wins, but it boosts their floor. They also were competitive in the division actually leading both games versus Tom Brady and the Bucs before predictably laying an egg in the 4th quarter. The Falcons are arguably our favorite bet of the season when we got in at seven wins. Don’t be shocked if it moves up to eight in the next couple of weeks.

Betz and Borg’s Take: Over 7.5 wins

Carolina Panthers
Betz mentioned on the podcast that this looks like a clear misprice. While the Panthers have been at 7.5 wins since the books opened, they’ve been last in terms of odds to win the NFC South. Sam Darnold is a wildcard and you have to project him to take a major step forward with the weapons in front of him. The offensive line is by no means a strength and the defense projects to be a bottom-10 unit with little pass rush and a run defense that was routinely steamrolled last year. There’s no way the over is on the table for me. Their schedule after the Week 13 bye is especially intimidating: ATL, @BUF, TB, @NO, @TB. 

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Betz and Borg’s Take: Under 7.5 wins

NFC West
WIN TOTAL FORECAST Kyle’s Schedule Adj. Win Proj. DK Sportsbook Opening DK Sportsbook Current OVER OVER Break-Even % UNDER UNDER Break-Even %
Los Angeles Rams 10 10.5 10.5 105 48.78% -129 56.33%
San Francisco 49ers 10 10.5 10.5 107 48.31% -130 56.52%
Seattle Seahawks 10.5 9.5 9.5 -134 57.26% 110 47.62%
Arizona Cardinals 8 8 8 -134 57.26% 110 47.62%

Division Winner Props: LAR (+180), SF (+180), SEA (+300), ARZ (+600)

Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford brings an air of optimism and when you mix in Sean McVay’s scent of success, it seems we should be smelling all roses with the Rams. Over 10.5 wins are tempting but we haven’t actually seen how this offense will play out in 2021. The defense is also an all-world wrecking crew but they are due for some regression especially losing defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. We fail to realize that defensive statistics are not “sticky” year-to-year. While we would agree that the Rams are our NFC West favorite, the distance between them and the 49ers, Seahawks, and Cardinals is not enough to bet on.

Betz and Borg’s Take: Pass

San Francisco 49ers
There’s a lot to like with the 49ers and currently, they are favorited to make the playoffs (-177) and equal odds with the Rams to win the division. The team should return its key players (Nick Bosa, George Kittle) with a clean bill of health and Kyle Shanahan seems to be everyone’s favorite NFL guru these days. However, there is a downside to 10.5 wins with an unproven rookie QB (Trey Lance) in the NFL’s toughest division. Trusting Shanahan is a narrative that seems to have a taken root and become GroupThink but remember rational coaching and our expectations in fantasy don’t always align.

Betz and Borg’s Take: Pass

Seattle Seahawks
I liked them over 9.5 wins in early April partially based on Russell Wilson‘s pedigree. He’s never won fewer than nine games in any season in his career and averaged 10.7. That’s a high floor to work with but the Seahawks find themselves projected 3rd in the division. The offensive line quietly has improved and you saw how their defense improved in the second half of 2020. Seattle is a team worth looking at in a number of futures markets as they’ve been passed in popularity by the latest hotness in the NFC West.

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Betz and Borg’s Take: Over 9.5 wins, Win NFC West (+300)

Arizona Cardinals
Betz liked Arizona earlier as well given their upgrades on defense and the chance to slightly improve last year’s 8-8 record. It’s not a bad bet on the Cardinals to make the playoffs (+190) although Kliff Kingsbury is often woefully bad at his job. If Kyler Murray takes another step forward and the team wins a couple more one-score games, eight wins seem more than doable.

Betz and Borg’s Take: Over 8 wins

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