On Saturday CG Technologies, formerly known as Cantor, released lines for every single NFL game for weeks 1 through 16. Although they won’t be releasing their season win totals until this weekend, we wanted to make our own valuations based on these lines.
To do this, we converted every point spread into a winning percentage for every game on the schedule. For example, a 3-point favorite has an expected winning percentage of 59.37%. Therefore, every time a team is favored by 3 points, we can credit them with .5937 wins. Conversely, a 3-point underdog would receive .4063 wins (1-.5937). For week 17 games, we projected the spread by using the previous game between the two teams and adjusting for home field advantage.
By extrapolating these decimals over the course of an entire season, we have developed the following Over/Under projections:
|Team||Projected Wins||2014 Record|
|New England Patriots||9.969||12-4|
|Green Bay Packers||9.829||12-4|
|San Diego Chargers||8.44||9-7|
|New Orleans Saints||8.388||7-9|
|San Francisco 49ers||8.365||8-8|
|Kansas City Chiefs||8.117||9-7|
|New York Giants||7.998||6-10|
|St. Louis Rams||7.83||6-10|
|New York Jets||6.751||4-12|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6.02||2-14|
While these power rankings may differ from the prices available on the futures market, it’s important to note that strength of schedule plays a large factor when determining NFL win totals. Based on these projections, here’s how the playoff picture would shape up: (*Denotes First Round Bye)
AFC East: New England Patriots*
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens
AFC South: Indianapolis Colts*
AFC West: Denver Broncos
Wild Card: Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers
NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles
NFC North: Green Bay Packers*
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
NFC West: Seattle Seahawks*
Wild Card: Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers
The first thing that I noticed when running these numbers was that the win totals for the league’s elite teams is lower than last season while the win totals for the cellar dwellers has increased. This would indicate that oddsmakers believe that there is more parity in the NFL this season than in years past.
It’s also worth pointing out that many of these spreads will move (some substantially) based on a number of factors including incoming bets and player movement. It seems unlikely that the Patriots would be 1-point underdogs against the Colts — especially when you consider that New England has won 59-24, 43-22, 42-20 and 45-7 in their past four matchups. Any line movement would lead to a slight increase in the win total valuations, so this will be a situation to monitor.
Another fascinating storyline involves the New Orleans Saints. Before last season we projected that the Saints would go under their win total of 9.5 and they finished with a 7-9 record. This offseason, many analysts suggested that the Saints were at the end of an era and some even had the audacity to suggest that star QB Drew Brees should be placed on the trading block. However, this team should reap the benefits of having the league’s easiest schedule this season.
It will be interesting to see where the sportsbooks open the Saints season win total, but there could very easily be value on the over as well as their odds to win the NFC South.
The usual suspects dominate the bottom of our rankings with the Jaguars, Raiders, Buccaneers, Titans, Browns and Redskins expected to be among the league’s worst teams. If you’re looking for regression, the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals are expected to see a sharp drop off from their 2014 performance.
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David Solar is the Content Manager at Sports Insights and can be reached directly at email@example.com.