BettingPros asked 21 experts to pick how many games each NFL team would win. From these predictions the average was calculated, producing a final total with which to recommend win total overs and unders. In total, 13 teams came out pretty much dead on their projected win total. Nine were projected to hit the over, and the remaining 11 projected to hit the under. Earlier on in the offseason, I gave my picks for both the NFC and AFC win totals. In this article, I will take a look at the expert consensus numbers and highlight the ones that I see being the most different come to the end of this season.
Generally, the expert consensus picks have nailed most of my over picks this season, including the Colts, Texans, Eagles, and Chargers. However, many of the teams I expect to struggle have slightly inflated win predictions compared to my view of things.
Expert Projection: 5.6 wins (55% over)
I simply cannot get my head around the Bengals getting over five wins this season. At best I can see them winning two division games, and I would say one is the more likely. Therefore, they need to win either four or five of their non-division games to reach six. Their out of division games include trips to Seattle, Buffalo, Oakland, and Miami. They will also travel to London to face the Los Angeles Rams as the designated road team. Those are not easy road trips, with the games in Buffalo and Oakland looking the most likely victories.
In terms of home games, they could get off to a good start with both the Cardinals and 49ers coming into Cincinnati. However, they finish with visits from the Jaguars, Jets, and Patriots. Arguably four of those games are winnable, but the Jaguars, Jets, 49ers, and Cardinals all figure to better this year. It will be tough to run the table on them. With their first-round pick Jonah Williams likely to miss the first half of the season, their line could be a liability. Four or five wins feels about right for this team.
Expert Projection: 6.8 wins (72% over)
This is another team I struggle to get my head around how they hit the over, which is set at 6.5. Much like the Bengals, their division is extremely tough. Both the Chiefs and Chargers are likely to win somewhere in the region of double-digit games once again. The Raiders should also be improved, which should make it hard for the Broncos to add to their total from last year. The addition of Joe Flacco is not really an upgrade over Case Keenum, and they do not feel like they have improved their roster in a big way this season. Their road schedule is incredibly tough, as they have to go to the Colts, Texans, Bills, Vikings, and Packers. Combined with their division, they could easily go 0-8 on the road, and I cannot see them going 6-2 or better at home.
Expert Projections: 5.3 (50/50 split)
These consensus win projections for the bottom teams in the league are very aggressive. The Giants only managed to win five games last year with Odell Beckham in their ranks. Now without one of the best receivers in the league, it is hard to imagine them adding to that wins total. Hopefully, the line will be better, but Eli Manning is still likely to be the starter for the vast majority of the season. They are not helped by having two good teams in the division in the Cowboys and Eagles.
They have three winnable home games in the Bills, Cardinals, and Redskins. On the road, there are maybe four games that could be winnable, the Lions, Jets, Buccaneers, and Redskins. That is seven games on the schedule I see them having a shot to win, so the chances they get a 100% hit rate in those games is minimal. This feels like a four-win team, with five wins being an aggressive pick. Not a comfortable under, but an under all the same.
Expert Projection: 5.6 (37% push)
The Redskins are frankly quite unlucky to be in the mess they are. The injury to Alex Smith has put them deep in a hole that will be hard to climb out of. They tried to make some big additions this offseason, but not having a quarterback they can feel 100% confident about will really hurt as the season wears on. Additionally, they have a lack of pass-catching talent around whoever is their quarterback, which will make it hard for them to compete in some games.
Some of their problems are their own doing, as they have struggled to keep their players healthy through the season. This team does not have the depth to handle injuries. If they lose a couple of players they could be set to sink very quickly. This is a team who could very easily be in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick come December.
Expert Projection: 9.4 (63% under)
This is really the only team who I feel aggressively will go over that is projected to hit the under by our expert’s consensus. Defensive performance can be difficult to find consistency from year to year. If Chicago regresses defensively it is going to be interesting to see how they fair. However, Soldier Field offers a fantastic home-field advantage, with real grass and the cold weather late in the season. Additionally, Mitchell Trubisky will be in his second year of the Matt Nagy offense, which should see him able to grow and make up for any regression in the defense. Will they win 12 again? Probably not, but they can lose two more games and still hit the over. I like those odds.