I am coming to you LIVE from beautiful Las Vegas! I'll be in town until Sunday enjoying a last minute getaway to Sin City thanks to my generous in-laws (they surprised my fiance and me with a free hotel room to celebrate our recent engagement). I'll be hanging out at Circa and the South Point, so feel free to contact me via Twitter (@Josh_Insights). I'd love to meet up and sweat games together! For an updated breakdown of Thursday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 1 p.m. ET. I'll be joining The Lombardi Line LIVE at the South Point studio at 1:45 p.m. ET and then joining Rush Hour Danny Burke LIVE at Circa at 7:10 p.m. ET.
With so few sweats today, let's put our down time to good use and discuss a handful of NFL win totals that might be offering value. Believe it or not, Week 1 of the NFL is now less than two months away.
When looking at win totals, I put a lot of stock into continuity and stability. Teams returning the same coaching staff and many of their starters is always a positive. New coaches and new coordinators can often be a red flag. I also look for "juiced up" win totals. If a win total is juiced up to -120 or more, that shows liability on the side of the oddsmakers. They are pulling back the curtain and asking you to pay a higher price for a reason. I also look at strength of schedule and offseason additions/subtractions, along with Pythagorean analytics. Essentially, did a team get lucky last year and are bound to regress? Or were they unlucky and due for a bounce back.
Bengals Under 6.5 wins (-125): Cincinnati went 4-11-1 last season. The Bengals lost Joe Burrow to a season-ending injury in Week 10. At that point, the Bengals were 2-7-1. Cincinnati proceeded to go 2-4 the rest of the way. Burrow is expected back and the Bengals also drafted stud rookie wideout JaMarr Chase of LSU. But Cincinnati still plays in the tough AFC North, where they will have to face the Ravens, Browns and Steelers twice apiece. The Bengals have the 6th-toughest schedule this upcoming season, as their opponents went a combined 144-128 (.529) last season. The Bengals could improve their win total by two games this season and still cash the under.
Browns Over 10.5 wins (-120): The Browns went 11-5 last season, won a playoff game and then gave the Chiefs a run for their money in the AFC Divisional Round. Cleveland is on the rise and returns almost all starters. Kevin Stefanski will also be entering Year 2 as head coach, feeling that much more comfortable, confident and experienced. Cleveland boasts a powerful offensive line, a pair of elite running backs and a quarterback who seems to be improving. The Browns return Odell Beckham Jr from injury and also loaded up on defense in the draft, headlined by first round cornerback Greg Newsome (Northwestern) and added safety John Johnson and Jadeveon Clowney in free agency. This team won 11 games last season. Can they win 11 or more, with the addition of a 17th game? The juiced up over says yes.
Jaguars Under 6.5 wins (-120): Jacksonville went 1-15 last season. After drafting Trevor Lawrence first overall and bringing in Urban Meyer as head coach, there is finally reason for optimism in Jacksonville. However, first year head coaches and rookie quarterbacks are a risky proposition and somewhat of an auto-fade when it comes to win totals. Even if the Jags made a big leap this year, they would still have to improve by six games to cash the over. Plus, they must face the Titans and Colts twice apiece in the division. With the under juiced up to -120, oddsmakers are hinting at a six win or less team this season.
Seahawks Over 9.5 wins (-150): Seattle went 12-4 last season. In Russell Wilson's career, the Seahawks have won double-digit games in 8 of 9 seasons. Wilson's teams have been the model of consistency. Now with an added 17th game, winning double-digit games becomes that much easier. Seattle may hail from the tough NFC West. But keep in mind that the 12th man is one of the biggest home field advantages in the NFL and fans will return to stadiums this season, providing the Seahawks a boost. A tip of the cap to my colleague Will Hill who is all over this over 9.5 win total (no pun intended).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Over 11.5 wins (-150): The Bucs went 11-5 last season and went on to win the Super Bowl. Now Tom Brady enters Year 2 in Tampa. One would imagine The GOAT would feel even more comfortable with the personnel, play calling and system now that he has a full year and another offseason under his belt. The Bucs can lean on their continuity and stability as they return all 22 starts from last year's Super Bowl team. Tampa also has the 4th easiest schedule in the league, as this year's opponents went a combined 126-145-1 (.465) last season. Tampa is also likely to feast on a down NFC South division that no longer boasts Drew Brees. Twelve wins or more seems like a smart bet with this loaded defending Super Bowl champion.
Remember to check the VSiN Betting Splits every day for money and ticket counts so you can tell who the public is betting on.