In anticipation of the forthcoming NFL season which I’m going to look into detail a lot more – going to sling up some thoughts on the 32 teams regular season win lines. Will do them in batches of 5 so there will be 6 or so separate posts. Come the season itself I will try and put up selections each week – I don’t really see the point of plucking a Superbowl winner yet as basically the likely winners are all pretty short and won’t move much until the playoffs. A couple of teams who could trade lower than they are at the minute though are the Atlanta Falcons (55/1 on Betfair) and San Francisco 49ers (70/1 on Betfair) – yes there is a lot of hate about the Niners but they still have some pretty handy pieces – the defense despite losing a few players should still be more than competitive with Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis. While hate on Kaepernick all you want but it was only a few years back that he took them to the Super Bowl. Last year there was an incredible amount of talk coming out of the organisation with Harbaugh leaving – they will still be decent at home. I can see the Niners going 10-6 which will keep them competitively in the hunt for the playoffs. The Falcons division is pretty terrible and their problem last few years has been the defense – Dan Quinn should solve that somewhat. Julio and Ryan are always going to score points. The Falcons also have the easiest schedule this season on paper with their opponent win record from last season totalling 0.409%. Looking through their schedule I can see them also going 10-6 and winning that division which will lead to a home playoff game and the 55/1 should be a fair bit shorter.
Arizona Cardinals – Recommended bet Under +8.5 wins @ Evens (Paddy Power)
The Cardinals went 11-5 last year which was commendable with the sheer number of QBs they ended up playing – but it’s worth noting they play in the toughest division and last year they went 5-1 in games decided by less than eight points and games which were won in the fourth quarter – a few of those to swing the other way and they go 8-8. It also doesn’t help that they have lost Todd Bowles the defensive co-ordinator to the Jets and Antonio Cromartie and Dan Williams on defense. The Cardinals also have no real easy games at home – even if they go 3-3 in the division you wouldn’t pick Baltimore, New Orleans, Green Bay, Cincinnati and Minnesota as your other 5 home games.
Atlanta Falcons – Recommended bet Over +8.5 wins @ 20/23 (Bet 365) – Double Bet
I’ve already spoken in detail about the Falcons and expect them to reach double figures in wins as such I expect them to beat the 8.5 Vegas win line. As I say the coaching changes should help – Kyle Shanahan after all helped the Browns to a 7-9 record last season. The schedule really is the icing on top. Even if they have some shocking games this will be within reach.
Baltimore Ravens – Recommended bet Over +9 wins @ 5/6 (Bet Victor)
The Ravens without fail are one of the more competitive NFL teams year-in year-out they have one of the best head coaches and adding Marc Trestman to the mix should ensure continuity on offense. Jimmy Smith coming back from injury will help boost a leaky secondary and while the 9 win line is high the Ravens have averaged 10.4 over the last five years. The schedule isn’t the easiest one but the Ravens do have some nice easy games on the block including the Browns twice, Jacksonville and Oakland.
Buffalo Bills – Recommended bet Over 8.5 wins @ Evens (Ladbrokes)
The Bills are a tough team to gauge as they tend to usually be underestimated and could throw in a right shocker. However, last year they went 9-7 and this season they look a better team having added playmakers in Percy Harvin and LeSean McCoy and kept the defense intact which was by most metrics one of the best last season. Having Rex Ryan run the defense should make it even more fierce and I don’t imagine the Bills will be blown away in any games. Offensively Greg Roman is an improvement as OC – a lot depends on the QB situation but they do have weapons with the two mentioned and Sammy Watkins. The NFC East could be a right old ding dong this year with the Patriots losing Brady for the first four games.
Carolina Panthers – Recommended bet Under 8.5 wins @ 4/5 (BetVictor)
The Panthers ended last season in excellent form winning the NFC South and then beating the Cardinals in a playoff game as a result they face having to play the three other NFC divisional winners from last year. I think they’ll be competitive but in a division where I expect the Falcons and Saints to improve and to a degree the Buccaneers (they won’t go 2-14) then I’m struggling to see the Panthers winning ten games. Nine is possible – but I think I’d take my chances on eight or less a lot of the time. To get to nine I think they’ll have to win the division which I don’t see happening.
Next up – Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos.