The South Point Casino in Las Vegas released the 2017 NFL regular season win totals on Sunday, hot on the heels of the draft. All of those fans convinced their teams just won the Super Bowl by picking a backup left guard in the fifth round or blew their chance by passing on an undersized slot receiver in the sixth round can now make some impulsive choices with their financial futures.
The defending champion New England Patriots opened at 11, and were promptly bet up to 11.5. The Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers are projected with the next highest at 10.5 each. The San Francisco 49ers (4.5) and Cleveland Browns (4) are on the other end of the spectrum.
Here are a few teams that jump off the page as either significantly under- or overvalued.
New England Patriots (11.5): As always, doubt the Patriots at your own peril. Last year they lost all of one game with Tom Brady at the helm, and the five-time Super Bowl champion seems intent on playing at high level forever. Their three division opponents are all projected to be losing teams so going 6-0 there seems very possible. The Falcons, Texans and Chiefs must all visit Foxborough. The Raiders game is in Mexico City. Another 14-2 campaign is more likely than stumbling to 11-5.
Dallas Cowboys (9.5): Dak Prescott led this team to an NFC-best 13-3 record with no experience. Now he has some. Ezekiel Elliott is clearly not a flash in the pan. An extremely difficult schedule looms but a 9-7 year would mean a severe regression, something I just don’t think is in the cards.
Detroit Lions (8): The Lions were a bizarre 9-7 team last year. The could have easily been 4-12 or even 3-13. But they weren’t, thanks largely to Matthew Stafford’s fourth-quarter heroics. Jim Bob Cooter has turned “Stat Padford” into a machine and the offense has been clicking for the last 24 games. Four games against the Vikings and Bears provide the roadwork to get halfway to that total.
Carolina Panthers (9): After going 15-1 and making the Super Bowl in 2015, the Panthers took enormous steps back on both sides of the ball last year. Cam Newton is a unique talent, but does he have the playmakers around him to make the playoffs? More importantly, is this still a defense to fear? Division opponents Atlanta and Tampa Bay should be back in full force and there’s the possibility New Orleans gets a productive Adrian Peterson. Feels like so much has to go right for Carolina to “get right.”
Minnesota Vikings (8.5): Sam Bradford is not the recipe for success. Teddy Bridgewater’s future is uncertain. Peterson is gone. The Packers and Lions return excellent quarterbacks. Throw in trips to Atlanta, Carolina and Pittsburgh and it’s tough to see how the Vikings earn a winning record.
Philadelphia Eagles (8.5): Tough division. Questions persist over what kind of player Carson Wentz really is. Road tests at Seattle, Dallas, Kansas City and Carolina. Run, don’t walk to score the under on this one.