Instead of telling you which favorite to bet the OVER on, here are four NFL win totals to avoid like the plague (and why).
Justin Fields will eventually lead the Bears offense but against the toughest overall schedule, it won’t matter who’s under center
NFL Win Totals: Da Bears
If the Bears had announced Justin Fields as their starter, this is one of the NFL win totals that would have had some attention. Instead, the Bears are sitting at 7.5 wins and getting juiced to the UNDER.
2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 7.5 UN -135
Pre-draft NFL Win Total Odds: 7 OV -110
2020 Record: 8-8
Average Wins 2018-20: 9.3
Odds to win the Division: +465 (3rd place)
Net Strength of Schedule: 1st most difficult
Chicago opens the season on Sunday Night Football at the LA Rams. The current line is Rams -7.5 and you can check all the Week 1 NFL odds at my site.
- The Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last five as a road dog and the UNDER is 13-5 (72%) when they are in this role.
Given Chicago’s road slate, with stops in Tampa, Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Seattle, you can get used to reading ‘road dog’ trends for Da Bears all season long. Even if they were to split their divisional matchups with Green Bay and Minnesota, sweep the Lions, and pull off a couple non-conference upsets, they still wouldn’t clear this win total.
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Darnold’s Fresh Start in Carolina
Bold NFL futures prediction: By the time he retires, Sam Darnold will go OVER the number of NFL teams that Ryan Fitzpatrick (8) has played for in his career.
After three mediocre years with the Jets, Darnold was traded to Carolina in April for a bunch of draft picks. He’s picking up Joe Brady’s offense but with an O-Line that’s as bad as New York’s last season, when Darnold was sacked 35 times, we can’t expect much.
Instead, look for a sad start, a sub-500 record by the midpoint, and then an injury that sidelines Darnold until the Week 13 bye. Like Fitz, he’ll come in after the rest and win one game, looking like a star. After that, the Panthers will lose out and the journeyman’s mold can start being cast.
2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 7.5 OV -120
Pre-draft NFL Win Total Odds: 7.5 UN -115
2020 Record: 5-11
Average Wins 2018-20: 5.7
Odds to win the Division: +1170 (4th place)
Net Strength of Schedule: 13th easiest
The Panthers’ final four games are at Buffalo, vs. Tampa, at New Orleans and then at Tampa. If the Bucs are resting starters in Week 18, that’s the only way Carolina doesn’t go 0-4 down the stretch.
Vegas NFL Win Totals All Over the Map
I’ve been tracking NFL win totals all through the offseason and the Raiders have been one of the most active lines. Denver, Cleveland, Green Bay and Houston deserve honorable mention, but most of that can be attributed to Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson.
When NFL win totals opened, the Raiders were available at 7.5 OVER -110. That line was moved to 8 within a month but this wasn’t a great offseason by any measure. Vegas broke up their O-Line, who Pro Football Focus ranks 26th in the league. With a thin receiving corps, QB Derek Carr will be hard pressed to replicate his 2020 production.
Vegas also has the 21st ranked strength of schedule which includes games against the AFC North, Dallas, and Washington. And then of course there’s the six divisional matchups. Today you can get even-money betting the Raiders UNDER 7 wins. Based on the juice books’ charge for some of the other NFL win totals available, that’s not a bad option.
2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 7 OV -120
Pre-draft NFL Win Total Odds: 7.5 OV -110
2020 Record: 8-8
Average Wins 2018-20: 6.3
Odds to win the Division: +1900 (4th place)
Net Strength of Schedule: 11th most difficult
The Raiders open the season on Monday Night Football, hosting the Ravens. As of press time, the Ravens are favored by -4.5 points but my NFL consensus data only shows 56% action on Baltimore.
NFL Week 1 road favorites (including the Ravens), are averaging 70% action with online sportsbooks.
The Ravens have covered six-straight times as a favorite and Lamar Jackson is expected by many to have another double-digit win season, but Baltimore’s offense has been ravaged. RB JK Dobbins is out for the year and the wide receiver corps is thin with all four starters, plus TE Nick Boyle, nursing injuries.
With fans in the stadium, perhaps the Raiders will start to develop a home field advantage at Allegiant, similar to the one they had in Oakland. For now, this team hasn’t had a winning record in 16 of the past 17 years. Getting points on a week-to-week basis, they’re worth a look. Breaking out of that cycle for nine straight up wins in 2021 however, is unlikely.
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Lions Once Again Own One of Lowest NFL Win Totals
It’s only fitting that the Lions are last on this list. If it weren’t for the Houston Texans, Detroit would be a clear winner in terms of the lowest posted win total in 2021. Jared Goff takes over for Matthew Stafford and while he does have a nice looking O-Line in front of him, the offense has a challenging year ahead.
It starts with games against the Niners, Packers and Ravens. After a Week 9 bye, Detroit will need to catch a break or two, or they might go winless in the second half. D’Andre Swift will be a positive this season, as will counterpart Jamaal Williams. O-Co Anthony Lynn has proven his ability to make the worst of a good situation, but now that he’s out of the head coaching role, Lynn should be better suited to turn red zone situations into touchdowns rather than turnovers.
Defensively there is not enough here to make me think the Lions will win more than four or five games straight up. Detroit is a 62% OVER team in home games during the first half of the season, so circle Weeks 1-3-6-8. Garbage time TDs were one of Stafford’s specialties and given the situation, Goff should pick up right where his predecessor left off.