The sportsbook at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas made news this week. They posted the first look at projected NFL win totals for the 2017-2018 season. Now, given the early movement of money wagered by bettors after these first totals were released, there is sure to be some corrections made by other NFL sportsbooks. Still, it gives us a chance to take an early look at teams that are worth making wagers upon. Specifically, here are three teams that look ripe for wagering. This is based on their first projected NFL win totals:
NFL Win Totals Three Teams to Back[toc]
NY Jets (5.5 wins) – UNDER:
NFL Draft Analyst Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network caught some flak from fans in the greater New York area. Jeremiah said the New York Jets might have the least talented roster in the NFL. Even though the team made several strong picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, it's really hard to disagree with him. The current Jets roster really doesn't show much of a reason to be better than the 2016 team that finished with only five wins. They still don't have any real answer at quarterback, with journeyman quarterback Josh McCown keeping the seat warm for whoever will be the Jets quarterback of the future; it would not be any surprise if the Jets also give Christian Hackenberg, the team's second round draft pick last year, a few snaps this season as well.
The team's most productive player — wide receiver Brandon Marshall — is gone, having signed with the New York Giants. They did nothing to bolster a pass rush that generated only 27 sacks last year. It was good for fourth worst in the NFL. Given that all three of the Jets AFC East rivals also got better, it's very difficult to see them stealing enough wins to surpass last year's NFL win totals.
Jacksonville (5.5 wins) – OVER:
When the South Point Casino released their first win totals, the Jaguars were one of the teams to draw the most action. Jacksonville finished with only three wins last year. This roster is simply too talented to repeat last year's dreadful performance.
The Jaguars finished sixth in the NFL in total yards per game last season. This included ranking fifth in the least passing yards allowed. They still made significant upgrades to the defense during the offseason. Signing defensive lineman Calais Campbell (formerly of the Arizona Cardinals) and cornerback A.J. Bouye (formerly of the Houston Texans).
To bolster an offense that took a major step back in 2016, the Jaguars devoted their resources to making life a lot easier for beleaguered quarterback Blake Bortles. They reinforced the offensive line in front of him. Acquiring veteran tackle Branden Albert from the Miami Dolphins through a trade. Drafting uber-talented offensive lineman Cam Robinson in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
To upgrade a rushing attack that didn't have a single guy register more than 500 yards rushing last season, they added Leonard Fournette, who spent the last two seasons destroying opposing defenses in the Southeastern Conference, with the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft. Even if the Jaguars can get a mediocre level of production from Bortles, they should easily get to six or more NFL win totals next year.
Tampa Bay (8 wins) – OVER:
NFL analysts appeared to be a bit too hasty in anointing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the breakout team of 2016. After the team stumbled out to a 3-5 start over the first half of last season. But the team went 6-2 over it's next eight games, and made significant improvements to a team that very much appeared to be on the cusp of being that breakout team that many people thought they'd be.
The Buccaneers plan this offseason was focused on adding playmakers around emerging quarterback Jameis Winston. They certainly appeared to have done that so far. They started out the free agency period by signing away wide receiver DeSean Jackson from the Washington Redskins. Thus giving the offense a deep threat that they lacked last season. This helped open up the intermediate portion of the field for fellow emerging star Mike Evans. Then, they added tight end O.J. Howard with their first round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, who many projected to be a top-10 selection (they were able to take him with the 19th pick).
If they can get more balance from a cast of running backs that were plagued with injuries last year, there's no reason they can't build on their eight wins from last year, especially considering their defense didn't suffer any major losses.