“Between Bets” is an article series revealing our staff’s best wagers across the NFL, NASCAR and PGA Tour. This week’s offering features our favorite over/under bet in the NFL win totals market following the NFL Schedule Release.
(Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
Best NFL Win Totals Bets (Post-NFL Schedule Release)
Chicago Bears to Win Under 7.5 Games | +115
The Chicago Bears enter 2023, winning nine games combined in the past two seasons. In addition, they’ve only won eight or more games four times in the last 10 years (2013, 2018, 2019 and 2020). The Bears did a solid job of retooling both their offensive line and linebacking core through NFL Free Agency and the Draft.
However, their projected starting defensive front four remains one of the weakest in the NFL, totaling just 14 combined sacks in 2022. This could be problematic considering they have a young secondary, outside of free safety Eddie Jackson, who continues to recover from a Lisfranc injury.
Aside from their personnel, I shy away from taking the over on this NFL win totals bet because most of their beatable out-of-division opponents are on the road. This list includes the Buccaneers (Week 2), Commanders (Week 5), Saints (Week 9) and the Browns (Week 15). The game in Cleveland on Dec. 17 and in Green Bay on Jan. 7 are particularly worrisome, considering Bears QB Justin Fields admitted to not liking playing in the cold. If the Bears lose to the new-look Packers led by Jordan Love in their home opener, it could spell trouble from the get-go.
Green Bay Packers to Win Over 7.5 Games | +100
Staying in the NFC North, I’m hammering the Packers to win at least eight games this season. Though they were under the direction of future hall-of-famer Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have won at least eight games in 12 of the last 15 years.
General manager Brian Gutekunst has surrounded Love with multiple round-two pass-catchers, including presumed X receiver Christian Watson, new rookie slot receiver Jayden Reed and athletic rookie tight Luke Musgrave. Love has sat behind Rodgers for three seasons in the same system that Rodgers has said, “a monkey could run.”
The Packers begin 2023 facing four teams below .500 last season in their first five games before the bye. The only one that isn’t is the Detroit Lions at home. There is a chance the Packers enter Week 7, fresh off a bye, with a 4-1 record. Only facing four reigning playoff teams all season (Vikings [twice], Chargers, Chiefs and Giants), the Packers should hit eight wins if not win this division at +500.
New Orleans Saints to Win Under 9.5 Games | +105
This might be the easiest plus-money bet in the NFL win totals market, and I don’t think it’s close. The Saints welcome incoming free agent QB Derek Carr after he’s cleared this win total just twice in his nine-year starting career. He trades Josh McDaniels’ multiple Super Bowl-winning offense for Pete Carmichael Jr.’s pre-historic offense that was exposed after Sean Payton left.
Carr will undoubtedly have better protection, with the Saints having one of the better offensive lines. However, his pass-catchers are dicey outside of Chris Olave. Michael Thomas has played 10 games in the past three seasons, and Alvin Kamara could be facing a partial-season suspension. Undrafted free agent Rashid Shaheed and sixth-round rookie A.T. Perry don’t necessarily inspire me, either.
Their defense relies mostly on 33-year-old defensive end Cameron Jordan and once-lockdown cornerback Marshon Lattimore that missed more than half of last season with an injury. The Saints’ schedule is not overly difficult, but they could be susceptible to early-season road losses to rookie QBs in Carolina (Week 2) and Houston (Week 6).
This team lacks upside while playing in a division where young talent and speed are at a premium, especially in Atlanta and Carolina. The Saints might have some fight in them, but not 10 wins worth.
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