A fellow handicapper told me a few years ago that picking “unders” on season win totals is a much better route to take than betting “overs”. He reasoned that because a wager to win more games than their win total number can be derailed by the loss of a key player, while an “under” has no liability to injury.
Now, he said this to me just as I had submitted my seven season win total selections, which included five “overs” and two “unders”.
I listened intently to his expanded reasoning on why one should pick a team to win less than their projected total, versus picking a team to win more than the posted number. When I talked to him a year later, his contention was the same on sticking with “unders” on season win totals. He might not have noticed, remembered, cared or took note, that the five “over” selections I had offered him the prior year won at a clip of 4-1, while the two “under” teams I recommended that year went 1-1.
Five-and-two, a .714 average, is a solid money maker, but those games didn’t come from some overview theory that pointed to one kind of team winning and the elimination of a whole assortment of possibilities. Those wins came from the unique circumstances that applied in this particular time to those specific teams.
Some were unders; some were overs.
Like this year, where our eight season win total recommendations are comprised of five “overs” and three “unders”. These teams that have exactly the characteristics we are looking for in determining which teams are rated lower than their talent and season-to-season motivation warrant, and which teams are overrated.
The Chicago Bears are overrated.
What we have here is a second-year head coach that won a division in his first campaign after taking over a Chicago team that had finished in last place the prior four seasons. They did it with a defense that was as good as any with the addition of Khalil Mack just before the 2018 season kicked off. His arrival coincided with the continued development and improvement of third-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Those three corners of success led to their breakout campaign in 2018, but now, after that heavy dose of success, the Bears embark on an encore to something they simply are motivationally not ready to beat. Even with the challenge of a home game against the Green Packers on Thursday night, a spot the Bears could succeed over the Packers and their new head coach, Matt LaFleur, the forecast for this team in 2019 is bleak.
Chicago is more likely doomed more often than not in the following weeks because their expectations are pitched to interfere with their natural talent. I suggest that after this year, perhaps as soon as next season, the Bears will be prime candidates to win the Super Bowl. But right now, on the heels of last year’s success, winning more than nine games with a second-year head coach coming off an overachieving first season is a longshot.
The Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins are both bad teams, and their season win totals are the lowest in the league. The Cardinals are 5½ and the Dolphins 5, and I don’t see either of these squads winning more than four games in 2019.
I would suspect that my acquaintance that recommends “unders” would think his logic influenced those three picks. It didn’t. His sides just fell in place with criteria I consider much more reliable. And that same examination of the season and team-by-team prospects generated five “overs” in our eight 2019 recommendations.
Here they are:
Chicago Bears under 9 games
Arizona Cardinals under 5½ games
Miami Dolphins under 5 games
Philadelphia Eagles over 10 games
Indianapolis Colts over 7½ games
New York Giants over 6 games
Tennessee Titans over 8 games
Minnesota Vikings over 9 games