Written by: The Blitz Team
We are just a couple weeks removed from the federal government fully legalizing sports betting. Of course, it will still be up to the state governments to decide if they will allow it within their borders. Either way, most people have the understanding that gambling on sports will eventually happen regardless. For this month’s All32 Series, we’ve decided to take a look at if fans should go with the over or the under on their team’s wins in 2018. Check out what our team members think what you should do!
**Odds per https://www.oddsshark.com/nfl/nfl-over-under-win-totals per BetOnline**
(Note: as of this reading the odds may have changed, so check the closest legal betting outlet)
Denver Broncos — 7.5 Wins
The Denver Broncos will be an interesting team to watch throughout the 2018 NFL season, as they chose to pass up the opportunity to draft a franchise quarterback, instead grabbing Bradley Chubb to create a daunting presence with Von Miller for opposing quarterbacks. Denver will live and die with the defense, but with their quarterback situation still up in the air, and Case Keenum coming off his best and only good season, Denver doesn’t seem ready to make a playoff push in 2018. That being said, let’s look at their impending schedule as we head into the 2018 season.
While Denver’s defense may keep games from getting out of hand, it is their offense that will struggle. The team will start the year on a sour note, almost like putting multiple warheads in your mouth at once. They drop their first two games to Russell Wilson and Derek Carr, two established franchise quarterbacks– an asset Denver has yet to find since the departure of all-time great Peyton Manning. They rebound against Baltimore in week 3, but unfortunately their season will start to unravel in week 4, as Mile High’s team drops their home game against the Chiefs in what turned into their 3rd loss of the season. On the road in New York, Denver steals a win over the inept Jets in an effort to stay at arms length of purgatory, keeping their season alive. However, this attempt is thwarted as Denver falls to the sizzling Los Angeles Rams and an upset-driven Arizona Cardinals. Through the first seven weeks of the season, a 2–5 record leads Denver to free-fall in the division.
Denver gets their act together by week 8, but too little too late. After splitting the season series against the Chiefs with a win at Arrowhead field in week 8, the Broncos will keep their slim playoff hopes alive. However, Houston drives a dagger through the horse’s chest, giving Denver their 6th loss of the year. A much-needed week 11 bye will lead a refreshed Broncos defense to a win against the first place Chargers. Denver will drop two of the next three games against the playoff-bound Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers. Following the loss to the 9ers, Denver will, for the first time this season, win two consecutive games, improving their record to 7–8. Looking for mediocrity in the final week of the season, Case Keenum and Co. will fall once again, splitting the season series with the Chargers and missing their projected win total by less than 1 game.
Kansas City Chiefs — 7.5 Wins
Take this to the bank and invest your life savings into it. Andy Reid (who is, by most accounts, a top three HC in the league today) has only failed to accomplish eight wins in a season three times in his illustrious 19-year career (his first season in Philly in 1999, T.O’s ab-sational 2005, and the season his son overdosed at training camp in 2012). The man is a walking playoff voucher, having made the playoffs in 13 of his 19 years as a HC. His presence on the sideline alone is enough to ensure nine wins for whichever team he is coaching each and every year. Say what you will about his questionable clock management, streaky play-calling, and playoff shortcomings, Reid has his players ready to play more often than not, and will provide a coaching advantage for KC most of the season.
That being said, there are a few concerns from a roster standpoint that will require some young players to step up. Someone opposite Justin Houston must become a pass rushing threat for KC to compete consistently on defense. Whether this comes from Dee Ford (contract year), Tanoh Kpassagnon (John Dorsey’s 2017 second round project), or Breeland Speaks (the KC’s first pick year of the 2018 draft), the Chiefs need to improve its pass rush, which ranked 24th in sacks last season. Speaking of pass defense, Steven Nelson is expected to be the guy at CB2 this upcoming season and KC will need him to breakout given the WR talent in the division. If he or David Amerson don’t develop into starting-caliber players, KC is going to continue to suffer against the pass (ranked 29th in 2017) and will likely be in a lot of shootouts this year — bringing me to Patrick Mahomes, the buzz topic of the Chiefs this upcoming year.
KC made their faith in Mahomes clear by trading Alex Smith to the Redskins. That alone gives me enough solace to believe that Mahomes transitioning into a full-time starter will be smoother than many anticipate of the big-armed Texas Tech star. For one, he is being placed in an offense which provided adequate protection for Alex Smith, a mere game manager with a history of conservative tendencies when it comes to throwing the ball downfield. Where Smith was hesitant with passes over 20 yards, Mahomes has already developed notoriety for being a downfield gun-slinger with a good enough o-line to thrive in such a situation. Let’s also not overlook the surrounding talent that KC has that forces teams to guard against “the big play”. With the addition of Sammy Watkins, this offense has the potential to be among the league’s elite. I expect this team to be one of the more entertaining teams in the league and with that, absolutely sufficient enough to achieve a winning record.
Los Angeles Chargers — 9.5 Wins
The Los Angeles Chargers finished 6–1 in their final 7 games of the season last year. To extend that momentum, the team acquired players like Mike Pouncey and Derwin James this offseason. Everything is pointing up for a big season. While they did recently hit a bump in the road by losing Hunter Henry to a torn ACL, they have plenty of time to make the adjustments before the season starts. Philip Rivers will still have plenty of talent to throw the ball to Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Tyrell Williams. Their defense was one of the better ones in 2017, only allowing 17 PPG. They have playmakers on all levels of their defense, including one of the best edge rusher duos in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. The other teams in the AFC West have some questions as they enter the season, so the division appears to be, at the moment at least, up for grabs. I believe the balance that the Chargers seem to have achieved on both sides of the ball will help them excel this season, which is why I would take the over when betting on them.
Oakland Raiders 8.5 Wins
The Oakland Raiders started their offseason with a splash by bringing back Jon Gruden as their head coach. But since then, they have been surrounded by some questionable decisions made during free agency and the draft. They have a lot questions on both sides of the ball. On offense, we will have to see if Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch, Amari Cooper, and Jordy Nelson can return to their old forms and if Martavis Bryant can become the player he showed flashes of in Pittsburgh. The defense needs players besides Khalil Mack to find ways to make an impact on the field. If I had to put money on the Raiders season I would take the under, because I see Oakland having a season full of ups and downs in 2018.