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Seth Walder, ESPN Analytics 20d

Which NFL teams will hit their preseason Vegas win totals?

NFL, Philadelphia Eagles

With the season nearly halfway over, it's worth checking in on the status of every NFL team's preseason total. In some cases, this serves as a reminder of exactly how different the season has gone for some teams than many expected. Using our Football Power Index (FPI), we can evaluate each team's chances of hitting the over on its preseason total. FPI rates the strength of every team and simulates the season 10,000 times to project the remainder of the year. Preseason totals are from the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.


AFC East

New England Patriots (12.5 wins)

Current record: 6-2
This week: Bye
Chance to hit over: 3.2 percent

This total might have felt low to fans around the league weary of the Patriots' incessant success, but we see now how truly little room for error there is in a line like this. The Patriots, whom FPI has downgraded a fair amount since the preseason but still believes are one of the best teams in football, can afford to lose just one more game to hit the over. They are only underdogs for one remaining contest (at Steelers), but are favored by less than a field goal in three others (at Broncos, vs. Raiders and at Bills).

Miami Dolphins (7 wins)

Current record: 4-3
This week: vs. Raiders
Chance to hit over: 10 percent

On the bright side for over bettors: There's a 29 percent chance that this will either be a push or go over. The Dolphins have outperformed their skill so far, particularly after beating the Falcons in a game FPI predicted they had only a 15 percent chance to win. But they are 5.2 points per game worse than the average team, per FPI, and that will make it tough for them to get to .500.

Buffalo Bills (6.5 wins)

Current record: 5-2
This week: at Jets
Chance to hit over: 92 percent

After all the tanking talk in the preseason when the Bills traded away Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby, Buffalo seems to be doing all right for itself. The Bills ought to have much higher sights set than just seven wins. FPI gives the Bills a 60 percent shot to reach the postseason.

New York Jets (3.5 wins)

Current record: 3-5
This week: vs. Bills
Chance to hit over: 89 percent

It says something about what FPI thinks of the Jets that the model thinks there is an 11 percent chance that Gang Green won't win another game all season. That being said, because the Jets have won three games -- including one over the Jaguars -- means they are close to certain to go over.

Update: With their 34-21 victory against the Bills on Thursday night in Week 9, the Jets became the first team to reach their win total, hitting the over with four wins.


AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (10.5 wins)

Current record: 6-2
This week: Bye
Chance to hit over: 85 percent

The Steelers are a very good team, just not in the way we thought. It turns out their offense is solid, but their defense, which has ranked third-best in unit efficiency, has stolen the show. FPI now projects an average of 11.8 wins for the Steelers, so anyone with an over ticket ought to feel pretty good right now.

Baltimore Ravens (8.5 wins)

Current record: 4-4
This week: at Titans
Chance to hit over: 52 percent

This is a team that has beaten the Dolphins by 40 and lost to the Jaguars by 37. They've beaten the Raiders in Oakland and lost to the Bears at home. The Ravens make no sense, so it's no wonder that they are a coin flip to hit the over halfway through their season.

Cincinnati Bengals (8.5 wins)

Current record: 3-4
This week: at Jaguars
Chance to hit over: 12 percent

A rough start to the season that cost offensive coordinator Ken Zampese his job also probably will cost over bettors a chance to cash. The Bengals have a couple of easy games left on their schedule -- at home against the Browns and Bears - -but that probably won't be enough for a second-half surge to nine wins.

Cleveland Browns (4.5 wins)

Current record: 0-8
This week: Bye
Chance to hit over: 1 percent

Over bettors are probably more upset about this than Browns fans. At least Cleveland will probably have another shot at picking a franchise quarterback, as the team now has a 61 percent chance to land the No. 1 overall pick. We project the Browns to finish with 1.8 wins.


AFC South

Indianapolis Colts (8 wins)

Current record: 2-6
This week: at Texans
Chance to hit over: <1 percent

At the time this total was set, it wasn't clear how long the Colts would have to go before they got Andrew Luck back. Now, we're wondering if they'll even get him back at all. And if they do, it's probably too late anyway. Instead of competing for the playoffs, Indy is a No. 1 overall pick contender. The under has won this one.

Tennessee Titans (9 wins)

Current record: 4-3
This week: vs. Ravens
Chance to hit over: 13 percent

This one has a 34 percent chance to be at least a push. The Marcus Mariota injury may have cost the Titans a win at Miami in Week 5. Even without Mariota, FPI expected the Titans to have a 57 percent chance to win that game at the time, and they came up small. It might be the difference for over bettors in the end.

Houston Texans (8.5 wins)

Current record: 3-4
This week: vs. Colts
Chance to hit over: 46 percent

This is an interesting case because Deshaun Watson has played at an exceptionally high level (he's the current NFL leader in Total QBR) sooner than anyone -- including the Texans -- could have imagined. Remember when Tom Savage started Week 1? That seems like forever ago. They have some softies -- such as the Cardinals, 49ers and two games against the Colts -- on the schedule, but going 6-3 the rest of the way still will be challenging.

Jacksonville Jaguars (6.5 wins)

Current record: 4-3
This week: vs. Bengals
Chance to hit over: >99 percent

Who'd have thought that taking the over on Blake Bortles would be a total lock after Week 8? Really, Jacksonville's pass defense has been the key to their four wins so far. But as good as their defense has been, why is the over a complete certainty with only four wins banked? Because the Browns, Colts, 49ers and Bengals are all still on the Jaguars' schedule.


AFC West

Oakland Raiders (9.5 wins)

Current record: 3-5
This week: at Dolphins
Chance to hit over: 1 percent

The rush to crown Derek Carr as a top-end quarterback inflated expectations for the Raiders. This season, Carr has ranked 16th in Total QBR. Guess where he was last season? That's right, 16th. Oakland has an average quarterback and a bad defense, and as such, the Raiders won't be getting to 10 wins.

Kansas City Chiefs (9 wins)

Current record: 6-2
This week: at Cowboys
Chance to hit over: 92 percent

What a bargain, looking back, at the opportunity to get one of the three best teams in football at just a nine-win total. Obviously, the biggest win for Kansas City came in Week 1, when the team beat the Patriots in Foxborough in a game we predicted them to have just a 25 percent chance of winning. Even though this isn't a complete lock to get to 10, there's a 99 percent chance the Chiefs at least push.

Denver Broncos (8 wins)

Current record: 3-4
This week: at Eagles
Chance to hit over: 34 percent

A great defense can only get you so far. And the Broncos' defense has basically lived up to expectations, as the fourth-best in unit efficiency this year. But the offense -- including the quarterback -- has come up small, and it will have to improve if the Broncos are to get to nine wins. They have some weak opponents -- such as the Bengals, Colts, Dolphins and Jets -- still to come, so it's not impossible.

Los Angeles Chargers (7.5 wins)

Current record: 3-5
This week: Bye
Chance to hit over: 50 percent

It's incredible that after an 0-4 start the Chargers are just as likely to hit their over as not. FPI favors the Chargers to win five of their final eight games, and in all five, the model predicts a winning margin of more than four points.


NFC East

Dallas Cowboys (9.5 wins)

Current record: 4-3
This week: vs. Chiefs
Chance to hit over: 36 percent

If there was any doubt that Dak Prescott was one of the game's best quarterbacks after last season, the former Mississippi State quarterback has put those concerns to bed this year. He has repeated his rookie performance, to the tune of a Total QBR of 77.6. That's why, despite a slow start, the Cowboys still have a chance at the over, even if they are long shots in their division.

New York Giants (9 wins)

Current record: 1-6
This week: vs. Rams
Chance to hit over: <1 percent

Well this total looks laughable now, doesn't it? Personally, I wish I had seen this coming, considering how reliant the Giants were on their defense last year, and that defense is less predictable than offense. But here they are, with a regressed defense and an aging, below-average veteran at quarterback. Under has this win secured.

Philadelphia Eagles (8.5 wins)

Current record: 7-1
This week: vs. Broncos
Chance to hit over: >99 percent

Though Carson Wentz was generally considered to have had a strong rookie season, he did not perform well in advanced metrics such as Total QBR or Football Outsiders' DVOA. But he has dramatically improved his level of play this season, and, as a result, the Eagles are not a virtual certainty to hit the over but are one of the leading Super Bowl contenders, as well.

Washington Redskins (7.5 wins)

Current record: 3-4
This week: at Seahawks
Chance to hit over: 40 percent

Washington is just over a point per game better than the average NFL team but has a tough schedule ahead, which is why they have only a 40 percent shot to get to .500. The Redskins are only favored by FPI in three remaining contests (vs. Giants, vs. Cardinals and vs. Broncos), though they are only narrow underdogs against the Vikings in Week 10. Even if they won all four of those games, though, the Redskins would need to nab another victory to hit the over.


NFC North

Green Bay Packers (10.5 wins)

Current record: 4-3
This week: vs. Lions
Chance to hit over: 7 percent

This is all about Aaron Rodgers. FPI adjusts its projections based on a team's starting quarterback, and, as is pretty clear at this point, there's a massive drop off from Rodgers to Brett Hundley. As a result, the model thinks the Packers will only get to an average 8.4 wins this season. Tough break for Rodgers, the Packers and those who had the over.

Minnesota Vikings (8.5 wins)

Current record: 6-2
This week: Bye
Chance to hit over: 96 percent

Despite injuries to both Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford, the Vikings are the seventh-best team in football, according to FPI. That, and Aaron Rodgers' injury, means Minnesota is the heavy favorite to win the NFC North and almost certain to get to at least nine wins.

Detroit Lions (7.5 wins)

Current record: 3-4
This week: at Packers
Chance to hit over: 55 percent

A series of weak opponents means that the Lions, who are FPI's 23rd-ranked team, have a solid chance to get to eight wins and the over. Detroit has the opportunity to face the Bears twice in addition to the Browns and Bengals the rest of the way. The Vikings are the best remaining team on their schedule, per FPI, though their toughest game comes this week against the Packers because it is on the road.

Chicago Bears (5.5 wins)

Current record: 3-5
This week: Bye
Chance to hit over: 72 percent

The Mitchell Trubisky era is off to a rocky start, but the Bears' defense, which has been the eighth-most efficient so far this season, has helped make up for it. FPI knows an inexperienced quarterback is at the helm of this offense and still thinks there's a good chance the Bears get to six wins. If the Bears can beat the 49ers (73 percent), the Browns (71 percent) and one of the Packers (49 percent) or Lions (44 percent), the over would hit.


NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (9.5 wins)

Current record: 4-3
This week: at Panthers
Chance to hit over: 23 percent

A year ago, this was the most efficient offense in football. So far in 2017, Atlanta has been the ninth-most efficient. That isn't disastrous, and presumably Vegas priced in some regression in that area, but when expectations were as high as they were for the Falcons, over bettors couldn't afford that much of a drop-off. There's still time, but the clock is ticking on the Falcons figuring it out under Steve Sarkisian the way they did under Kyle Shanahan.

Carolina Panthers (9 wins)

Current record: 5-3
This week: vs. Falcons
Chance to hit over: 53 percent

The Panthers are up to 79 percent to get at least a push on an over bet. This is a solid team -- 1.8 points per game better than the average NFL team, per FPI -- and they are favored in six of their remaining eight contests. The biggest result for the over, however, came in Week 4 when they beat the Patriots despite FPI predicting just a 22 percent chance of victory.

New Orleans Saints (8 wins)

Current record: 5-2
This week: vs. Buccaneers
Chance to hit over: 91 percent

Remember when the Saints started 0-2 and we all assumed another excellent season for Drew Brees was going to be all for naught? It turns out that -- surprise! -- the Saints don't have a horrific defense like we all assumed they would. And it turns out that when Brees and his high-powered offense get just a little support, they are pretty good.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8.5 wins)

Current record: 2-5
This week: at Saints
Chance to hit over: 8 percent

All that "Hard Knocks" buzz has died down by now. The Bucs have been hurt by a porous pass defense, which has allowed the sixth-most expected points added per game this season, and Jameis Winston, who ranks 23rd in Total QBR. Struggling in the pass game on both sides of the ball is no way to win in today's NFL, and as a result, the Bucs are a real long shot to get to nine wins.


NFC West

Seattle Seahawks (10.5 wins)

Current record: 5-2
This week: vs. Redskins
Chance to hit over: 71 percent

Even though Russell Wilson is still under pressure on 33 percent of his dropbacks (fourth-most in the NFL), the Seahawks have been playing well and managed to scrape out a tough win in an incredible game against the Texans on Sunday. They are not guaranteed to get to 10 wins by any stretch, but FPI believes they are the second-best team in the league, entering Monday, and should win more than 11, on average.

Arizona Cardinals (8.5 wins)

Current record: 3-4
This week: at 49ers
Chance to hit over: 2 percent

Even before Carson Palmer's injury, this season wasn't going how the Cardinals imagined. Now, their chances of being a winning team are remote at best. The offense has been dreadful thus far, and the defense has been, frankly, just average. That's not going to get it done.

Los Angeles Rams (6 wins)

Current record: 5-2
This week: at Giants
Chance to hit over: 99 percent

Jared Goff's competence snuck up on just about everyone. That, combined with the upgrade from Jeff Fisher to Sean McVay at head coach, means Los Angeles will certainly hit the over this season. Though FPI remains a little uncertain about them, the Rams rank first in overall efficiency so far this season. FPI favors the Rams in five of their final nine contests.

San Francisco 49ers (5)

Current record: 0-8
This week: vs. Cardinals
Chance to hit over: <1 percent

The only thing the 49ers are competing for at this point is the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Their best chance to win a game probably comes this week, against the Cardinals, when FPI gives the 49ers a 49 percent chance to win. Still, an over ticket on the 49ers can safely be thrown away at this point.

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