With just over a month to go before the start of another NFL season, some bettors are scrambling to get their future bets locked in.
At this point, the lines are very stale. They’ve been bet up or down for the entire summer, and depending on what you’re thinking, a lot of the value has been lost. But hope is not lost. There are still positions worth having and below you’ll find four ideas that I (still) like.
Before we get into the actual ideas, let’s first quickly review that in ANY over/under situation we always shade toward the UNDER. If you’re betting UNDER, you need SOMETHING to happen to lose your money. Think of it as putting the burden of truth on the over. OK, let’s get to it.
Miami Dolphins UNDER 7.5 wins — The Dolphins finished the season with a rush last year, but not enough of one to cost us our under 8 wins bet. They won six of their last nine games after starting 0-7. We’re going right back to the well against Miami this season. Simply put, the Dolphins did absolutely NOTHING to get better in the offseason. In fact, the organization invited all the makings of a scenario in which the team will actually get worse. The offense lost its best player in receiver Brandon Marshall. The team drafted QB Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M, and not only do we not like him at the NFL level, we’re actually hoping he’s pressed into action sooner than later for our bet’s sake. But forget the fact that the Dolphins didn’t get better in the offseason for a second and concentrate on the fact that the rest of the AFC East did. The Bills are improved. The Pats upgraded their defense via the draft, and the offense doesn’t need any help. The Jets added Tim Tebow and remain formidable. When you don’t get better and your competition does, it’s not a pretty scenario.
Pittsburgh Steelers UNDER 10 wins — Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I don’t like the news at all on Ben Roethlisberger at all. A slight rotator cuff tear and a still balky ankle is just the first warning sign for Big Ben. The Steelers are already thin with RB Rashard Mendenhall likely to miss the first six games of the season due to a knee injury and defensive starters James Harrison and Casey Hampton also sporting injuries and currently on the PUP list. The problem with the Steelers is that their schedule simply does not allow for any margin of error. With the season wins total set at 10, the Steelers need to win 11 games to beat you. Is that going to happen with key players either hurt or hurting and the schedule asking them to face the NFC East and AFC West? Every team in the NFC East outside of the Giants got better this offseason, and the Giants are the defending Super Bowl champs. The AFC West is no easy task with literally every team in that division capable of beating the Steelers. When a team limps into the season, it’s inviting trouble. Especially when the schedule is this difficult. The defense is aging, the offensive line is shaky at best and several key players are limited by injury. We’ll take our chances saying this team won’t get to 10 for a push or 11 to beat us. By the way, has Mike Wallace signed yet?
New York Giants UNDER 9.5 wins — We all know that the Giants were simply a team that got hot at the right time last season. They were not dominant by any means. They didn’t tower over the competition on any level. They were pointspread underdogs in three of four postseason games. And now their final reward for winning the Super Bowl is playing a Super Bowl champion schedule. Last season, the Giants won nine games. This season, they’re being asked to win one more game against a schedule that’s even more difficult. When you consider that five of New York’s regular-season wins last year were by four points or less, you can quickly see that this is a team with little margin for error. That’s bad news when the schedule includes playoff rematches against the Falcons, Packers and Niners. We can easily see ALL THREE of those teams getting revenge. Then you thrown in our belief that the rest of the NFC East is markedly improved and you see that winning 10 games is going to be an awfully tall task. The Giants still do key things well, i.e. rush the passer and throw the ball well themselves. But the run game is no great shakes and Victor Cruz won’t be sneaking up on anyone.
Baltimore Ravens UNDER 10 wins — Talk about an aging team. Specifically, we’re referring to the Ravens defense, which saw veterans Ray Lewis and Ed Reed age another year and will already be without Terrell Suggs until November or December. And when Suggs returns, it will be as a situational pass rusher. Not good. We’ve never been a fan of the Ravens’ style. Too much has to go right for things to actually go right for this team. The offense simply doesn’t have the explosiveness needed to make any game easy. That puts immense pressure on a defense that we feel won’t be able to answer the bell for the first time in a while. The Ravens play a very difficult schedule, drawing the NFC East and the AFC West this season. Thrown in the rugged AFC North and nothing will come easy. Asking this team to win 11 games (to beat us) under the current set of circumstances is simply too much.