With the NFL preseason about to start, we will look at NFL team or player futures betting odds each Monday. This week, I am looking at some of my favorite regular season win totals.
Note: All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS OVER 9.5 WINS (-155)The Chargers are coming off a 12-4 season and I don’t see much reason for them to take a step back. Not only does their win total suggest they will be worse, but by a significant margin. As of now, the biggest concern regarding the Chargers is the holdout of RB Melvin Gordon. Ultimately, I think he is going to end up playing, however I don’t think his loss would matter much to the amount of games Los Angeles wins in a worst-case scenario where he ends up sitting. While Gordon has been a strong fantasy producer throughout his career, last season was the first year he was ever efficient. His 5.1 yards per carry was the first time he ever went over 3.9 YPC. The Chargers have a pair of capable running backs behind him on the depth chart in Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler. For his career, Ekeler averages 5.3 yards per carry, over a yard more than Gordon. Ekeler is one of the top backups in the league and shouldn’t have a problem moving to a larger role.
On defense, there is reason to think the Chargers could be improved. They finished eighth in Defensive DVOA, but only got seven games out of star defensive end Joey Bosa. He dealt with a foot injury and should be healthier this season. Bosa had double-digit sack totals in his first two NFL seasons and should provide a big boost to the Chargers’ pass rush. They finished last year 19th in the league in sacks. In 2017 with Bosa healthy, they finished fifth in sacks.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS OVER 10 WINS (-110)Initially, the Chiefs’ team total opened at 10.5 and there was reason to like the under when issues arose around WR Tyreek Hill. At the time, a suspension seemed inevitable. It even appeared there was a chance he could be cut or end up sitting out the season. As a result, the Chiefs’ total dropped to 10. Since then, the NFL has investigated the Hill situation and announced he won’t be suspended. Defending MVP Patrick Mahomes is going to have his top receiver this season and the offense figures to be a juggernaut once again. They finished last year as the top ranked offense in DVOA by a wide margin and had a historically great offense. This might seem crazy to say, but it is possible that Mahomes is even better this season. Last year was his first full season as a starter. He only played one NFL game prior to his MVP season. Mahomes is only 23, so it’s within the realm of possibility he makes improvements.
CLEVELAND BROWNS OVER 9.5 WINS (+115)At plus-money, I like the chances for the Browns to take a big leap forward. On paper, the improvements are obvious. QB Baker Mayfield looked like a future star in his rookie season and he should be even better this season. Not only should he be better with experience, but he now has Pro-Bowl WR Odell Beckham Jr. to throw to. Considering Beckham was able to put up huge numbers with Eli Manning as his quarterback, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him as the top fantasy receiver with a stud QB to get him the ball. Both Beckham and Mayfield should benefit from each other.
Another reason to like the Browns’ win total is because the AFC North is a fairly weak division. After missing the playoffs last season, the Steelers traded away Antonio Brown and didn’t get much in return to help this season. Rounding out the division, the Bengals only won six games last season and the Ravens are expected to take a step back with an 8.5 win total. Cleveland is going to have a fairly simple in-division schedule and should be favored to win most of its rivalry games.
HOUSTON TEXANS OVER 8.5 WINS (+110)The Texans feel like a team getting overlooked. They have won at least nine games in four of the last five seasons and won 11 games last season. I love Deshaun Watson as a young QB and he answered any question regarding his long-term health last season. Coming off a torn ACL, he looked great throwing the football and still showed a willingness to run with 551 rushing yards in 2018. The Texans’ offensive line was a huge weakness last season, but they bolstered it through the draft. Houston took offensive linemen in the first and second rounds of the draft. This should help to keep Watson upright, opening the door for monster seasons for both him and WR DeAndre Hopkins. The defense ranked seventh in Defensive DVOA and should be strong once again as long as J.J. Watt stays healthy. His health was questionable in recent seasons, but he was able to play 16 games and notched 16 sacks last season.
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