DraftKings Sportsbook released its opening win total market on March 25. NFL rosters aren’t nearly finalized, and the schedule order won’t be out until mid-May. That said, Josh Larky and Ryan Reynolds will bet on a few of these options now while keeping a few more on their radar.
Opening Win Total Bets
Last Year’s Super Bowl Teams
Line: Chiefs 11.5 Wins
The Kansas City Chiefs have gone over this number in each of the five seasons Patrick Mahomes has been their opening-day starter, including 2019 when Mahomes missed two games. At a minimum, the Chiefs are an over or pass option.
Line: Eagles 10.5 Wins
The Philadelphia Eagles have done an excellent job of keeping their high-end roster in a strong position, but they’ve still lost two starters on offense and three more on defense. Reynolds bet the Eagles over 8.5 wins this time last season, but he’s avoiding them entirely at this juncture.
Bets We Like
Line: Cowboys Over 9.5 Wins
The additions of wide receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Stephon Gilmore improve a Dallas Cowboys roster that has gone 12-5 in the last two seasons. Dallas has a difficult road schedule with a much softer home slate. We can reasonably expect the Cowboys to have 10 wins.
We aren’t enthusiastic about the current -125 juice on the Dallas over, to the point it’s close to our cut-off. That said, given the Cowboys’ sizable national fan base and their 24 wins over the past two seasons, this line could get to 10 soon.
Line: Texans Over 5.5 Wins
Whether the Houston Texans take C.J. Stroud (scouting report) or Bryce Young (scouting report) with the second overall pick, they’ll have more stability with their quarterback than last year. Houston finished 3-13-1 in 2022 while going 3-6-1 in games decided by fewer than seven points.
Late in the year, the Texans gave the Cowboys all they could handle, and they lost to the Chiefs in overtime. Taking high-end opponents to the brink late in the season is something Reynolds looks for when re-evaluating teams.
Tight end Dalton Schultz, guard Shaq Mason, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, linebacker Denzel Perryman and safety Jimmie Ward are all upgrades for DeMeco Ryans’ Texans. In a sense, last year’s third overall pick, cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., is an addition himself after missing roughly half of his rookie campaign. Ultimately, Houston will be an improved team and has a manageable schedule. We both like the Texans over 5.5 wins at -110.
Line: Saints Under 9.5 Wins
If you’re trying to poke holes in this bet, the New Orleans Saints have the easiest schedule in the league, and Derek Carr is an upgrade at quarterback. Carr has a solid, well-rounded supporting cast on offense. The defense loses relevant talent every offseason, but they still have some impact players.
The Saints also enjoy one of the better home-field advantages in the league, and they are the favorite to win the weakest division in football. If you’re betting the over on New Orleans, you’re betting on Carr being worth three wins more than Andy Dalton.
If you’re considering this bet, you should consider Carr has beat 9.5 wins in just two of his nine seasons. Those are the only two times Carr has led a team beyond a .500 winning percentage. That’s not all on Carr, but it’s noteworthy.
The Eagles have the 10th overall pick via the Saints, making the 29th pick New Orleans’ first selection. The Saints have little cap flexibility, which means they have limited ways to improve their roster beyond what they have today.
Beating 9.5 wins is close to the best-case scenario for this Saints team, and you can get the under at plus odds.
Teams on Our Radar
How We’re Handling Seattle Seahawks at 8.5 Wins
We’ve both bet the Seattle Seahawks in several futures markets because they are being undervalued as a significant longshot. However, we both think their 8.5-game win total is fair.
The Seahawks were a 9-7 wild-card team last season, adding significant talent in free agency as we expected. They are also well positioned to add more difference makers in the draft with four picks inside the first 52 selections, including three inside the top 40. That said, Seattle could take a quarterback in the first round, or Geno Smith could regress after his Comeback Player of the Year campaign last season. We like this team’s upside, but their floor falls below this number. If one of us bets on Seattle over the next few months, we’ll drop that play in our discord.
Pass on Jets, Lions at 9.5 Wins
Everyone likes the Detroit Lions. They’ve already improved their secondary through free agency and are armed with two first-round picks to bolster their roster further. Detroit can beat 9.5 wins, but neither of us is running to the window to bet on that option at -130.
If the New York Jets get Aaron Rodgers, they’ll pair a top-five defense with an offense that can potentially hang with anyone. We’ll be on the lookout for advantageous odds for the Jets to win the division, but neither of us has any interest in the over at -130.
Slight Lean on Bills Under 10.5
We’ve said many times heading into last season Josh Allen has an average supporting cast on offense outside of Stefon Diggs. That’s still true, which is becoming more problematic because both the Jets and Miami Dolphins have become dangerous opponents.
A first-place schedule in the loaded AFC will be brutal this year, which is why the Buffalo Bills have the second most challenging schedule. We’re going to pass on this number, but Reynolds leans towards the under.
Slight Lean on Chargers Under 9.5
Los Angeles Chargers fans and bettors were bullish heading into opening day last season because the Chargers had one of the best rosters in football. Larky is concerned the Chargers’ roster won’t be quite as loaded entering this season.
Factoring in how competitive the AFC will be and the Denver Broncos bouncing back under Sean Payton, the Chargers could be a sneaky under. Larky isn’t betting on this, but he has a slight lean on the under.
About the Vikings 8.5 Over
At first glance, 8.5 seems too low for a team that went 13-4 last season. The disrespect is considerable. The Minnesota Vikings also went a staggering 9-0 in games decided by seven points or less last season, making them a prime regression candidate. The 8.5 game over is still worth considering, but the -130 juice is a put-off. Larky will monitor this one while Reynolds is staying away.
If You’re Bullish on the Bears…
The Bears’ 7.5 total is a well-set number, where neither of us has a significant lean on either side. However, if you’re bullish on the Bears, Matt Eberflus is worth taking in the Coach of the Year market.
Monitor Unders on Colts, Buccaneers at 6.5
These two teams are on Reynolds’ shortlist for selecting Caleb Williams next season at the top of the 2024 NFL Draft. The Indianapolis Colts have one of the easiest schedules in the league and an intriguing first-year coach in Shane Steichen. I like Gardner Minshew, but betting on him to lead a below-average roster to more than seven wins isn’t wise.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a good defense that could keep them in games in an ugly division, but this offense struggled last year with Tom Brady at the controls. It’s just about impossible to envision a scenario where this group takes a step forward with Baker Mayfield.
If Washington Acquires Jackson, Giants Under 8.5 Wins is in Play
The New York Giants are suddenly a well-run team with a brighter future than they’ve had in years. But they greatly overachieved last season and still have a below-average roster. The Giants were 5-3-1 in one-score games (and 3-1 in games decided by precisely eight points), making them a prime regression candidate.
If Lamar Jackson goes to the Washington Commanders, they suddenly become a borderline contender in the NFC. That scenario would also give the Giants a truly brutal in-division schedule. If that happens, we’re running to the window on the Giants under.