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.
|1||Green Bay Packers||10.5||-165||135||59%|
|2||New England Patriots||10.5||-150||120||57%|
|8||Kansas City Chiefs||9.5||-130||EVEN||53%|
|16||New York Giants||8||-160||130||59%|
|18||New York Jets||8||EVEN||-130||47%|
|22||Los Angeles Rams||7.5||120||-150||43%|
|22||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||7.5||120||-150||43%|
|27||New Orleans Saints||7||EVEN||-130||47%|
|29||San Diego Chargers||7||105||-135||46%|
|31||San Francisco 49ers||5.5||-115||-115||50%|
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.
|Team||2015 Vegas||2015 Act||2016 Proj||2016 Proj vs. 2015 Vegas||2016 Proj vs. 2015 Act||Avg Diff|
|San Diego Chargers||8.5||4||7||-1.5||3||2.25|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||5||6||7.5||2.5||1.5||2|
|New York Jets||6.5||10||8||1.5||-2||1.75|
|San Francisco 49ers||8.5||5||5.5||-3||0.5||1.75|
|Kansas City Chiefs||8.5||11||9.5||1||-1.5||1.25|
|New Orleans Saints||9||7||7||-2||0||1|
|New York Giants||8||6||8||0||2||1|
|New England Patriots||11||12||10.5||-0.5||-1.5||1|
|Los Angeles Rams||7.5||7||7.5||0||0.5||0.25|
|Green Bay Packers||10.5||10||10.5||0||0.5||0.25|
I’ll leave the rest of the commentary to you guys.