Thursday, September 08, 2011

2011 NFL Over-Under Predictions

Amazingly, it's already time for the NFL season to start up again, as we head into the second half of 2011 with great expectations for both the baseball and the football team among us Philadelphia sports fans. As I have done over the past few years -- never yet to a sub-.500 record, in any sport, I might add -- I am going to make my predictions using the Vegas over/under lines for the win totals for each team in the NFL. Given the small number of total games in the NFL regular season as compared to a sport like baseball, most of these lines are really difficult to pick, and sometimes a half a game makes all the difference in the world between a bettable and a not-bettable number, but as usual there are some of these that I think are pretty easy steals, for a lot of the same reasons as usual with respect to public perceptions about certain teams. So, without further adieu, in alphabetical order by team city:

2011 NFL Regular Season Win Totals:

Arizona Cardinals: Over 6.5 wins. This is one to start off with that I think is very easy. The Cardinals improved on several fronts in the offseason, they added Kevin Kolb at quarterback where they have had a huge, gaping hole ever since Kurt Warner retired, they have the best wide receiver alive today, a new runningback, and the worst divisional competition perhaps in NFL history. This should lead to at least 7 wins for the Cardinals, who I expect to challenge for the NFC West title in 2011.

Atlanta Falcons: Under 10.5 wins. This one was close enough that I really had to pore through the Falcons' 2011 schedule, but no matter how many times I go over it, I just don't come up with more than 10 wins. With games at the Bears, Colts, Texans Saints and Buccaneers on the schedule this year, plus home outings against the Eagles, Packers, Saints and Bucs, I'm thinking we're looking at more like 9-10 wins for Matt Ryan et al in the coming regular season.

Baltimore Ravens: Over 10.5 wins. The Ravens are an awesome team on both sides of the ball, and they should not be hurt too much by the departure of tight end Todd Heap to the Cardinals this offseason. Plus, their division plays the putrid NFC West, which should be enough to put the Ravens over the edge to 11 wins in their 2011 campaign.

Buffalo Bills: Under 5.5 wins. Buffalo will likely be one of the NFL's worst teams, and with uncertainty at quarterback, a worse wide receiver corps, and the Jets and Patriots to deal with within the division, I'm not quite seeing 6 wins in 2011.

Carolina Panthers: Under 4.5 wins. I'm a big Cam Newton guy in terms of his talent as I've written here before this year, but Carolina has got a ton of holes for a rookie qb to have to overcome in his first season in big leagues. 3-4 wins sounds about right to me for this team that plays in one of the toughest divisions in football in the NFC South.

Chicago Bears: Under 8.5 wins. This is one of those amazing NFL lines where a team that went to the NFC Championship in 2010, and really did not lose much in terms of its skill players, is predicted to go only .500 in 2011, making it look a lot to me like one of those "too good to be true" NFL lines that you almost have to play the opposite way of what is obvious. Although the defense was excellent in 2010, the offense was pretty horrible, and I've made no bones here about not being a Jay Cutler fan generally. With the Packers looking to repeat and the Lions on the come, I'll guess we're looking at more like a .500 season for the Bears this coming year.

Cincinnati Bengals: Under 5.5 wins. The Bungles are definitely in breakdown mode, having lost quarterback Carson Palmer to (bitter) retirement and wideouts Chad Johnson and TO to free agency for this coming season. Marvin Lewis has got to be in his final season of failure and ineptitude, but until that guy is gone, I'm not seeing this team winning 6 games in a division with Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and an improving Browns squad as well.

Cleveland Browns: Under 6.5 wins. Although I think in reality it is likely that one of either the Bungles or the Browns goes over these two low numbers, I just can't see it as I look through the Browns' 2011 regular season schedule. For a team with no quarterback whatsoever to speak of, having to finish their season vs. Baltimore, at Pittsburgh, at Arizona, at Baltimore, and vs. Pittsburgh is enough for me to put the kibosh on the team nabbing 7 or more wins in 2011.

Dallas Cowboys: Over 9 wins. The Cowboys are going to be one of the biggest hit-or-miss stories of 2011 in the NFL, with new head coach Jason Garrett finally getting his shot to see what he can do with a full NFL regular season and a full season of Tony Romo at quarterback. The 'Boys play in a tough division, and in truth this one smells like a chop to me at 9 wins, but something tells me that weakened Redskins and Giants teams might enable Dallas to squeak into double digits in a nice comeback year for America's Team (for Douchebags).

Denver Broncos: Under 5.5 wins. This is maybe the most spot-on line of the entire league's worth of predictions for 2011 in my view, as the Broncos are going to struggle mightily without a set idea of who will play quarterback for them, even in a weak AFC West. The Chargers and Chiefs look superior to this Broncos team, however, and let's not forget the Raiders who went undefeated within the AFC West last year for the first time in more than a generation. I'm thinking 4-5 wins for Josh McDaniel's old team in the 2011 NFL regular season.

Detroit Lions: Over 7.5 wins. The Lions are suddenly one of the sexy picks heading into the 2011 regular season, with young quarterback Matthew Stafford teaming again with Calvin Johnson to spark the offense on a team that is clearly on the come this year. Even though the public is so in favor of the over here, I will still take it as well, as every time I walk through the Lions' 2011 regular season schedule, I always seem to come up with 8 wins, and that's being conservative about a couple of games that I could easily see Detroit pulling out to boot.

Green Bay Packers: Over 11.5 wins. It can be hard for some people to take an over when the line is 11.5 wins, but not for me. The Packers are the clear class of the NFC North, and really of the entire NFC along with perhaps the Eagles, and they have basically the best quarterback in the league right now. If this line were 12.5 I would surely not take the over due to the team's inconsistency over the past few regular seasons and their lack of skilled runningbacks on the roster, but at 11.5 wins for this team, I think they will manage to eke out a small victory by season's end.

Houston Texans: Over 8.5 wins. With Indy's Peyton Manning seemingly fixing to miss potentially many games in the AFC South this year, that puts this bet over the edge for me into an Over. Houston has not had a ton of success before this point, but this seems as good a year as any for Matt Schaub and his potent offense including Arian Foster and Andre Johnson to combine with an improving defense to nab a better than .500 record on the season. Perhaps could a division title even be in the works?

Indianapolis Colts: Under 9.5 wins. This one is purely a Peyton Manning pick. Replacing Peyton -- probably the quickest release of any qb in the NFL over the past generation or so -- with Kerry Collins who just loves to hold the ball for as long as possible, is I think going to be a disaster for this team that has won at least ten games for what, 85 years in a row? Unless Peyton comes back early in the season, which I'm just not feeling right now given the news we are hearing on an almost daily basis, I think the Colts will have a very hard time winning 10 games in 2011.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Under 6 wins. I'm not sure how they did it last year, but this number looks temptingly low to those who followed the Jags' .500 season closely in 2010. That said, when I look at the schedule for 2011, there is just a huge stretch of games in the middle of the season where the Jags could go winless, especially having just cut their former quarterback David Garrard within a week before the regular season begins. A push would not shock me here, but if the team is not going to tie their number, then I think they're going a game or two under.

Kansas City Chiefs: Over 7.5 wins. This is another sexy pick for 2011, in that most pundits out there look to be picking the Chiefs for a down year after the franchise broke out of the doldrums in 2010 by winning the AFC West hands-down. I'm going against the grain, and with head coach Todd Haley, and picking another year of at least .500 football in KC.

Miami Dolphins: Under 7.5 wins. Here is another team with another head coach that nobody respects, even though Tony Sparano has managed to win more games than expected in each of the past two years with a clearly undermanned Dolphins squad. After screwing Sparano over this past offseason by actively shopping his job while Sparano was still hired, I'm predicting this year Sparano responds with a slightly lesser performance and a sub-.500 record in an always-tough AFC East. Not having anybody to throw the ball isn't going to help much either.

Minnesota Vikings: Under 7 wins. I am not hesitating with this pick. Donovan McNabb is going to be in a world of hurt trying to make something happen in Minnesota without anyone on offense other than the great Adrian Peterson. Even despite Peterson's clear dominance, we have already seen in recent years what can happen to this team when they do not get competent quarterback play, and D-Mac is very unlikely to be the guy in my eyes to help this team out of the hole they have dug themselves in 2011.

New England Cheatriots: Over 11.5 wins. I'm not looking at the schedule. I am simply taking the over with the Cheats to win at least 12 games this year. You figure one loss to the Jets in the regular season, but otherwise it's going to be hard any week to look at the schedule and peg New England for a loss. Even if they won't be able to record and steal their opponents' play calls.

New Orleans Saints: Over 10 wins. I think the Saints are poised to rebound somewhat after a bit of a down year following their amazing 2009 superbowl run. With the Saints having to go 9-7 or worse on the year for me to lose this bet, I simply cannot avoid the value of the Over with this pick. Add just a tick to this line, and at 10.5 I would really have to think about things, but at 10 flat this seems like another obvious prediction to me.

New York Giants: Under 9.5 wins. I don't know. Something about this year's Giants just seems like the team is going to take a step backwards. Eli Manning is decently proficient moving the ball, but the team lost Steve Smith to the Eagles which should hurt his production a little, the runningbacks are getting older, and like I said just something about the way this team has run the past couple of years has me thinking pessimistically for 2011. At 9.5, the value on this line seems clearly Under in my view.

New York Jets: Over 10 wins. I was all set to pick the Jets to go under this year, but then I looked at their schedule and I actually think they might back their way into a solid regular season for a change. The team that has made a career these past couple of regular seasons of playing down to the level of their competition gets very lucky with the schedule this year, as the play the AFC West but managed to land the Chargers and Chiefs at home, while they travel to the lowly Broncos and Raiders fairly early in the season. They also play the tough NFC East, but although the Eagles game is in Philly near the end of the season, they otherwise also lucked out with both the Cowboys and the Giants at home. The favorable schedule seems to me to be destined to lead the Jets to double-digit victories in 2011.

Oakland Raiders: Under 6.5 wins. I looked hard to find 7 wins on the Raiders' 2011 schedule after the team ran roughshod through the AFC West in 2010, but try as I might, I'm just not seeing it for this team that is still questionable in a lot of the skill positions on both sides of the ball, and who probably got a little worse overall in the offseason. The kicker for me is the final stretch of the regular season, where Oakland faces off vs. Chicago, at Miami, at Green Bay, vs. Detroit, at Kansas City, and vs. San Diego to finish things off. Something tells me the Raiders won't survive that run of opponents with quite 7 wins overall.

Philadelphia Eagles: Over 10.5 wins. This line I don't even really understand. I mean, the Eagles basically win more than 10 games almost every year -- at least before they bench everyone at the end of the season when it really doesn't matter -- and this season saw the team improve dramatically in particular on the defensive side of the ball where the Eagles' clear weakness was in 2010. Although I have my doubts about Mike Vick's ability to remain on the field through the majority of another season given the way he plays and the team's still shaky offensive line, 11 wins should be very doable for this team that appears to be the cream of the NFC along with the Packers in 2011.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Over 10.5 wins. The Steelers might be getting a little old in their receiving corps, but otherwise Pittsburgh is as strong as ever -- they have an amazing gameday quarterback, a great running game, and always one of the league's best defenses to boot. 11 wins should be a cakewalk for the Steelers in 2011.

San Diego Chargers: Over 10 wins. I can't believe I'm picking the Over with a Norv Turner team, especially when I go through the schedule and I keep coming up with 9 or 10 wins. But the Chargers' defense was so, so solid last year, and Phillip Rivers is so, so solid with the ball in his hands on offense, I'm going to go with my gut here and expect at least a push by the time the dust clears in 2011.

San Francisco 49ers: Under 7.5 wins. I'm a big John Harbaugh fan, and I expect the Niners' new head coach to take this team places over the next several seasons. But probably not this year. As I look at the team's schedule -- and their paltry roster, in particular in the skill positions on offense -- I keep counting up and not getting over 7 wins, max. The final seven games back to back of vs. Arizona, at Baltimore, vs. St. Louis, at Arizona, vs. Pittsburgh, and then at Seattle and at St. Louis to end the season, looks to me to be a bit much to overcome for this already low-talent team to finish the season at .500.

Seattle Seahawks: Under 6.5 wins. Amazingly, last year's NFC West winner is predicted to go well under .500 this season, and yet I still think it is too optimistic. The Seahawks played over the heads to even back embarrassingly into the playoffs last year, and the loss of Matt Hasselbeck should be enough to tip this team over the edge into the 6 wins or fewer club in 2011.

St. Louis Rams: Over 7.5 wins. I'm going out on a limb here and picking the Rams to contend for the NFC West title along with the Cardinals in 2011. I don't think the Rams are necessarily winning 11 games or anything, but I loved the team's progress last season, I'm a huge fan of Sam Bradford and the St. Louis wide receivers, and I love generally head coach Steve Spagnuolo's approach, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. I think at least a .500 effort is forthcoming this year for the recently former worst team in the NFL.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Over 8 wins. I was all set to go under again with the Bucs this year after last year's breakout performance, but the schedule simply does not support the team winning under 8 games. They play the AFC North, but they lucked out and have the Colts at home early in the season when Peyton will likely not be playing, and they also got Houston at home while they travel to play the lowly Titans. The Bucs also play the NFC North, but again they picked up the Lions and the Bears at home, while the late-season game at Green Bay was probably going to be a loss either way. And, unlike so many of the other teams on this list who end the 2011 season with a brutal stretch, check out the Buccaneers' last six games of the year: at Tennessee, vs. Carolina, at Jacksonville, vs. Dallas, at Carolina, and at Atlanta. I'm seeing another over-.500 season for Rahim Morris and his boys in Tampa Bay.

Tennessee Titans: Under 6.5 wins. No matter how I slice it, I keep coming up with no more than 6 wins as I walk through the Titans' 2011 regular season schedule. I have a lot of respect for Chris Johnson of course and the impact he can have on a football game, but this team is going to have its work cut out for it, playing the AFC North including the Ravens, Steelers and Browns all in the first five weeks (two of them on the road), and the NFC South including games at Atlanta and vs. the Saints in the second half of the season.

Washington Redskins: Under 6.5 wins. Like the Giants, I am predicting another down year for the hapless Redskins, probably the single worst franchise in the NFL over the past decade or so. Although getting rid of McNabb at qb should not hurt the team, being left with the choice of Rex Grossman over John Beck does not do much to inspire confidence in this NFL fan. With the Eagles and the Cowboys I think improving from a year ago, it's going to be tough times I think for the Skins to amass 7 wins in 2011.

So, that is 15 Overs and 17 Unders, for a slightly pessimistic take overall on the Vegas lines for 2011. Now, can anyone still bet sports online securely from a U.S. location?

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger NumbBono said...

I'm a little puzzled by the following comment:

"The Steelers might be getting a little old in their receiving corps..."

Please look at the Steeler's recent drafts, and their current depth chart and explain to me how you can make this comment.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I checked it out. Looks like I just know more about football than you.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Josie said...


7:10 PM  
Blogger NumbBono said...

Mike Wallace - 25 - 3rd year player
Antonio Brown - 23 - 2nd year player
Emmanuel Sanders - 24 - 2nd year player

So by checking it out, you know that these three players have been selected in the last few drafts by the Steelers.

And by checking it out, you realize that the team is ready for the time when Hines Ward (who is not the main focus of the Steelers passing attack) hangs his cleats up, which I'm thinking is after this season.

And by checking it out, you realize that Arnaz Battle and Jerricho Cotchery are the 5th and 6th receivers on this team and not that relevant.

And by checking it out, you know that last year, during Pittsburgh's Super Bowl run, Antonio Brown had big catch after big catch, and has become trusted by Rapelisburger as a go-to guy.

So since you've checked this all out, you still think the Steelers are "getting old in their receiving corps", when in the team has found three receivers via the draft since 2010 that make up the core of the pass catching squad for what appears to be a few years to come.

Its quite apparent that I've forgotten more about football than you will ever know.

But we all know you're a stubborn guy who doesn't like to admit when he's wrong about something.

The truth is, you probably could only think of one Steeler receiver when you wrote your over/under picks, and that receiver was Hines Ward. With your limited football knowledge, you assumed that he was the best, or perhaps only, receiver on the team, and made your comment thinking it was some type of smart insight into the team.

Stick to longwinded bitches about the economy, you sound a little bit smarter when you do.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Ooooof, Numb. Lost a bunch on that old steelers wr corps this weekend, huh? That's gotta hurt. Do you research here first next time and you'll fare better I'm sure.

10:18 PM  
Blogger NumbBono said...

Nah, I don't bet on sports, other than a little fantasy football domination.

Just like calling you out when you're clearly wrong. And not necessarily about the prediction for the Steelers, just about the one item I quoted in my original comment.

Not a Steelers fan either.

1:12 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home