During the NFL season, win totals and to make/miss the playoffs bets can often be profitable plays and good ways to fade/back a team as they navigate through their schedule. I love adding these bets to my season-long portfolio since we are acting with information about the current team and the adjusted schedule strength instead of working solely off of priors.
Entering a bet at the right time can be very beneficial as well. Simply by looking ahead at the next four games of a team’s schedule, you can plot out the likely wins and see if you can find deficiencies in the offered numbers. These markets are some of the last to move. Generally, they are not attracting max bets, and the payouts are between -150 and +150, making them an excellent market to attack.
Let’s look at a couple that have some value based on my numbers:
Houston to make the playoffs: +140
Playoffs?!? The Texans? Yeah, it sure is starting to look that way. This team is playing well week in and week out and has been prepared for every situation thrown at them. CJ Stroud is way ahead of schedule and looks like he could be a star in the making, and that is without even a semblance of an offensive line at this point. All that being said, the best attribute of this Texans team is their schedule. They have two games left that they will be underdogs in, at Bengals and vs Jaguars. Houston still has home tilts with Tampa Bay, Arizona, Denver, and Tennessee. All that adds up to the second-easiest schedule left in the NFL.
I have them projected out to likely finish either 9-8 or 10-7, both of which would put them squarely in the mix for a playoff spot in the AFC and possibly have a chance at the division since Jacksonville’s schedule is much more difficult. Now, +140 is all well and good, but since there is a chance they will win the division. I will break up the full unit and play .2u on DeMeco Ryans to win Coach of the Year at +900 as well. If the Texans win the division, he will be a short price to win the award.
Indianapolis Colts u7.5 Wins +115
The magic has run out with Minshew. He was a walking turnover last weekend playing a Jaguars defense that is not elite and has struggled when he has been the starting quarterback heading into a weekend for over two years now. At 3-3, to get over this number, they would need to go 5-6, and I just don’t see that many wins on their schedule. They have two spots, at Carolina and vs. New England, that they may be favored in, but that’s it. Everything else is a significant dog or a coin flip. Combine that with the overall lack of impact players on the offensive side of the ball, and this just doesn’t look like a team that will be able to get to eight wins.
Denver Broncos u4.5 Wins +110
I mentioned this one on Monday, but I want to reiterate the Broncos Under. You have absolute turmoil in the clubhouse, and we have already started to see some veterans pack their bags and leave town. Rumors are swirling that the wide receiver room will be next, and it is anyone’s guess what will happen at the QB position.
Denver also possesses the 10th most difficult schedule coming home with just one game that I would call very winnable, a home tilt vs. New England. They have the Packers this week (I like the Packers) and then face Kansas City and Buffalo. If this team is 1-8 at that point, they will absolutely blow it up, and this total will be at 3.5 and juiced to the Under.