Every year the books kindly give the public the opportunity to wager on how many games a particular team will win over the course of the 17 game regular season schedule. For everyone who had the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals over on their win totals last year when the Bills won 13 games while their preseason number was 11½, and the Bengals won 12 with a win total number of 10, somehow didn’t get paid for their bets.
Because the season win total rules dictate that all 17 regular season games must be played and the Bengals and Bills never completed the game they started before Damar Hamlin was injured.
Mind you, backers of the Bills and Bengals over their win totals last season didn’t lose their wager either. It was a non play.
A break for those that wagered on Cincinnati or Buffalo to go under their win total numbers last year and a bitter pill for those that had the over.
Twice this preseason NFL games have been called while incomplete because someone suffered an injury on the field. If this becomes a trend, we could have a number of season wagers on team’s going over or under their season win totals nullified by the league not playing their full schedule. Adding yet another curve into picking a team to go over or under their season win total.
I have four this year.
Two overs and two unders.
I’m starting with a team in the AFC North where a pack of squads are grouped with all four of them offering a plausible story that this is their year to win the Super Bowl. Over the past couple seasons, the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills served as the only legitimate contenders to the Kansas City Chiefs domination of the American Football Conference.
Patrick Mahomes has led the Chiefs to the AFC Championship in three of the past four seasons, and still both the Bengals and Bills have provided worthy competition in recent years.
This season, the Bengals have their sights set on overcoming the Chiefs, they are also challenged by the competition in the AFC North. The Baltimore Ravens are always a threat under the direction of John Harbaugh and the return on quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Cleveland Browns add Deshaun Watson and the Pittsburgh Steelers appear in good shape behind second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett.
While the Bengals are the favorite to win this division, I’m looking for the team with the best talent that is most motivated to overcome their challenges in winning the AFC North. I believe that to be the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers season win total this year is 8½, a number clearly pared down because of their strong division competition. But, on my charts, that need to overcome at least two and maybe all three teams being projected better than you, is going to be the driving factor in a Steelers squad that was good enough last year to erase a near first ever losing season for head coach Mike Tomlin into the 16th straight winning campaign for Pittsburgh and their coach.
This year, we have four preseason predictions on season win totals beginning with the Steelers over. The New England Patriots appear on a downward trajectory and after winning this division all but one year beginning in 2003 and ending in 2019, that is 16 Division Championships in a 17 year period, this year they appear destined for the cellar in AFC East Division. Their competition, the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, are all squads listed among the top ten in the NFL on most preseason rankings.
The Patriots had beat up on their division for nearly two decades, now the Dolphins, Bills and Jets all take special pride in beating Bill Belichick and his longtime success. This creates more motivation based on history than the current Patriots talent warrants. I expect good seasons for all three of the Patriots AFC East competition, and if that be so, it’s going to be a long year in Foxboro. That lands us on the Patriots under their 7½ number for team wins.
Last year, doom was predicted for Pete Carroll’s first year without Russell Wilson running the Seattle Seahawks offense. Instead, longtime journeyman backup Geno Smith had a career year and led the Seahawks to the playoffs.
Last year, they got a motivational boost from low expectations, and this year they carry the weight of high expectations that greatly exceed their actual talent level. As good as 2022 was for the Seahawks, 2023 will be bad. Which generates a recommendation on a wager going under Seattle’s posted win total of 8½.
The books projected this team’s resurgence long before the public was paying attention. Now, after completing their preseason while accomplishing most of their objectives, the Atlanta Falcons appear poised to take a leap forward in the win column this year. In the search for a franchise quarterback, the Falcons have landed on Desmond Ridder. He appears to have starter qualities and the height of his accomplishments are open to debate.
I like them. And I like taking my leads from the guys that know most of what is going on. I heard it first from the books, and now I tell you, the Atlanta Falcons are headed into a very successful season and an over wager is recommended with their win total number set at 8½.
Qoxhi Picks Season Win Totals:
Pittsburgh Steelers over 8½
New England Patriots under 7½
Seattle Seahawks under 8½
Atlanta Falcons over 8½