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A Look at 2016 Vegas Futures Win Totals

Bovada has released futures wins totals for the 2016 season. Five teams are set at 10.5 wins, but not all teams with X numbers of wins are equal. For example, if you want to bet on the Packers going over 10.5 wins, you need to put down $165 to win $100, which translates to a 62.3% chance of success. If you want to bet against Green Bay, an Under bet of $100 brings back $135, implying a 42.6% chance. Those odds will always add up to over 100% because of the vig of about five percent. Remove that, and these lines have Green Bay pegged at about a 59% chance of going over 10.5 wins. Conversely, Pittsburgh is given a true 50/50 chance at going over 10.5 wins: you have to bet $115 to win $100 on the Steelers either going over or under 10.5 wins.

RkTeamWinsOverUnderOver %
1Green Bay Packers       10.5-16513559%
2New England Patriots 10.5-15012057%
2Seattle Seahawks10.5-15012057%
4Carolina Panthers10.5-130EVEN53%
5Pittsburgh Steelers      10.5-115-11550%
6Arizona Cardinals9.5-16013059%
7Cincinnati Bengals       9.5-14011055%
8Kansas City Chiefs        9.5-130EVEN53%
8Minnesota Vikings       9.5-130EVEN53%
10Dallas Cowboys    9.5EVEN-13047%
11Indianapolis Colts        9.5110-14045%
12Denver Broncos    9-115-11550%
13Houston Texans   8.5-13510554%
14Oakland Raiders   8.5-115-11550%
15Baltimore Ravens8.5110-14045%
16New York Giants  8-16013059%
17Buffalo Bills    8-115-11550%
18New York Jets8EVEN-13047%
19Jacksonville Jaguars    7.5-15012057%
20Chicago Bears 7.5-115-11550%
20Washington Redskins 7.5-115-11550%
22Atlanta Falcons     7.5120-15043%
22Los Angeles Rams7.5120-15043%
22Tampa Bay Buccaneers      7.5120-15043%
25Detroit Lions   7-130EVEN53%
26Miami Dolphins    7-115-11550%
27New Orleans Saints     7EVEN-13047%
27Philadelphia Eagles     7EVEN-13047%
29San Diego Chargers      7105-13546%
30Tennessee Titans5.5-16013059%
31San Francisco 49ers      5.5-115-11550%
32Cleveland Browns        4.5-130EVEN53%

Vegas knows that once you put the line 11 wins, you open yourself up to a ton of under bets. As a result, it makes more sense to just keep Green Bay at 10.5 wins but make it much less profitable to take the over. There are three other teams, tho, with lower wins totals that are at -160 on their over bets:

  • Arizona was probably the best team in the regular season last year, but ended the season in ugly fashion in the NFC Championship Game. The Cardinals had the second oldest offense in the NFL last year, and that is probably what kept Arizona’s win total down at 9.5 rather than 10 or 10.5.
  • More surprising is the Giants, who are at 8 wins but -160! New York went 6-10 last year but blew at least five games in the 4th quarter last year. The Giants have since invested heavily on improving the defense, but I suppose it’s hard to pick a team that has fallen below .500 for three straight years to go over .500. Instead, Bovada simply made a Giants over bet as unappealing as it could.
  • The Titans are at just 5.5 wins, which is more than Tennessee has won in the last two years combined. But regression to the mean is a powerful force, and Tennessee is tied with San Francisco for the second fewest wins. Smart money would see the Titans as a team to take a flier on with such a low win total, but the -160 makes that a much less attractive idea.

On the flip side, there’s a team like the Colts. Indianapolis is at 9.5 wins, probably because any lower and you start attracting a lot of money on the over. The Colts, of course, went 11-5 for three straight years before falling to 8-8 last year. But don’t mistake that 9.5-win line as a sign that Bovada is high on Indianapolis: the Over bet is much more appealing than the Under bet, where you need to wager $140 just to win $100 if you want to bet against the Colts this year.

I also thought it would be fun to compare this year’s numbers to the early 2015 futures wins totals and last year’s actual wins totals. Here’s how to read the table below. Last year, Carolina was pegged at 8.5 wins, but actually won 15 games. This year, the Panthers are at 10.5 wins, which puts them 2 wins higher than their 2015 projection, but 4.5 wins lower than their 2015 actual results. That’s an average differential (regardless of being higher or lower) of 3.25 wins, the biggest variance of any team.

Team2015 Vegas2015 Act2016 Proj2016 Proj vs. 2015 Vegas2016 Proj vs. 2015 ActAvg Diff
Carolina Panthers8.51510.52-4.53.25
Oakland Raiders4.578.541.52.75
Dallas Cowboys9.549.505.52.75
Arizona Cardinals8139.51.5-3.52.5
Jacksonville Jaguars5.557.522.52.25
San Diego Chargers8.547-1.532.25
Minnesota Vikings6.5119.53-1.52.25
Tampa Bay Buccaneers567.52.51.52
Baltimore Ravens958.5-0.53.52
Denver Broncos10129-1-32
New York Jets6.51081.5-21.75
San Francisco 49ers8.555.5-30.51.75
Cincinnati Bengals8.5129.51-2.51.75
Tennessee Titans535.50.52.51.5
Washington Redskins697.51.5-1.51.5
Cleveland Browns634.5-1.51.51.5
Kansas City Chiefs8.5119.51-1.51.25
Pittsburgh Steelers8.51010.520.51.25
New Orleans Saints977-201
New York Giants868021
Chicago Bears767.50.51.51
Miami Dolphins867-111
New England Patriots111210.5-0.5-1.51
Philadelphia Eagles977-201
Atlanta Falcons8.587.5-1-0.50.75
Indianapolis Colts9.589.501.50.75
Detroit Lions8.577-1.500.75
Seattle Seahawks111010.5-0.50.50.5
Los Angeles Rams7.577.500.50.25
Buffalo Bills8.588-0.500.25
Houston Texans8.598.50-0.50.25
Green Bay Packers10.51010.500.50.25

I’ll leave the rest of the commentary to you guys.