Based on the lines from Oddshark here on August 7th, these are your over/under best bets for 2017. Take ’em to the window, enjoy the profits.
Dallas Cowboys under 9.5: The Ezekiel Elliott suspension made this one easy. The NFL’s leading rusher in the 4th quarter will be sorely missed, leaving the pressure not only on Dak Prescott, but mostly on the defense, which is worse than last year. Toughest schedule in the NFL. Seven games against playoff teams from last season. Can Dallas really go 7-2 in one-score games again? A regression is coming. [Note: If Elliott takes his appeal to the courts and plays, I’ll take the L.]
Arizona Cardinals over 8: From the NFC title game to 7-8-1? Carson Palmer led the NFL in several passing categories in 2015 and was an MVP candidate; he was sacked 40 times in 2016 and looked ready for retirement. Coach Bruce Arians was 16-5 in one-score games before last season; in 2016 they went 2-5-1. The Cardinals may play the Colts without Andrew Luck (week 2) and Cowboys without Ezekiel Elliott (week 3). The guess here is the old guys – Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald – put together a run to the playoffs.
Chicago Bears under 5.5: It’s early in the preseason, but could Mitchell Trubisky win the job over Mike Glennon? We know the running game will work with Jordan Howard; less certain about the passing game because Kevin White can’t stay healthy and I’m not ready to trust Cameron Meredith. The defense lacks a secondary, but has promise in the front seven. Could go 0-6 in the division, and I’m not sure there are four games they can win.
Miami Dolphins under 7.5: To be blunt, their 2016 season was a bit fraudulent. They beat one playoff team in the regular season (Steelers) and Ben Roethlisberger got hurt in that game and Miami’s Jay Ajayi rushed for 204 yards. Now Ryan Tannehill is gone, and enter Jay Cutler, who spent the offseason prepping for a broadcaster job. Last year, they were near the bottom offensive in 1st downs and 3rd down conversions, and near the top in 3-and-outs.
Oakland Raiders under 10: Last year was fun, Derek Carr was an MVP candidate, but … their scoring margin of +31 was the lowest ever for a 12-win team; they had seven 4th quarter comeback wins; they were 8-1 in one-score games. In 2015, these were the three best teams in 1-score games: Carolina 6-1, Arizona 4-1, Denver 9-3. All missed the playoffs the following year. Despite Khalil Mack, the defense was among the worst in the league in several categories. They can still get to the playoffs with eight or nine wins. Hopefully, the offensive line issues are sorted out before Week 1.
San Francisco over 4.5: In 2014 in Cleveland, the duo of Brian Hoyer and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan somehow coaxed a terrible Browns team to a 7-9 record, and in November, they were flirting with the playoffs. Hoyer was handing off to Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell and throwing to Andrew Hawkins and Miles Austin. The 49ers have better offensive personnel. And the defense is better.
[Yes, obviously the Jets under 4.5 (-200) makes sense, and I’d take ’em at under 3.5 if the price is right.]