|Who wins more games this year: New Bronco Peyton or new hairstyle Brady? (Getty Images)|
It's only May, but we have our hands on some "legal" -- in Vegas anyway -- over and unders for NFL win totals in 2012. NFL win totals are some of the most fascinating sports bets to watch because, unlike in baseball, one or two little things can drastically shift the course of an entire season.
These are also a good indication of what the usually-pretty-smart guys in Vegas foresee for the upcoming NFL season, with the added bonus of playing to the public to a degree.
Cantor Gaming released these odds (they're available for betting in seven different sportsbooks) and we got them via Covers.com. For novice gambling fans, the (-XXX) indicates the juice on certain bets. For instance, if an over is "-120," you would need to bet $120 in order to win $100. If a bet is +105, $100 would win you $105.
First up, let's break down the AFC over-unders, separated by division and in order of expected wins. Leave your favorite pick and in the comments.
AFC EastNew England Patriots, 12 Wins
Over (-120) / Under (-110): The over is the clear-cut favorite over the under (-110) but not by as much as I'd have thought. That's because betting on more than 12 wins in May is bananas, even if Tom Brady's extended, Wes Welker signed his franchise tender and the Pats drafted for defense. While the Patriots have only failed to win the division twice in the past 10 years, they've also "only" gone over 12 wins four times in that span. 12 games is a LOT in the NFL, regardless of who you are. Verdict: UNDER
New York Jets, 8.5 Wins
Over (-115) / Under (-115): I have a hard time believing in the Jets, and actually think they might be the third-best team in their division. Of course, they acquired Tim Tebow in the offseason and he turned the would-be worst Broncos into a division winner last year. I look at their schedule and nine wins just seems like a very optimistic projection, so I'd be staring down the under here. Verdict: UNDER
Miami Dolphins, 7.5 Wins
Over (-110) / Under (-120): Am I taking crazy pills? Why are the Dolphins supposed to win more games than the Bills? It took a miracle for the Dolphins to get back to 6-10 last season and they've got a new coaching staff, a new defensive scheme and tons of questions at quarterback. The early schedule is pretty favorable so maybe I'm wrong about the Fins, but if they aren't .500 or better (3-3) at the bye, it's hard to imagine them not rolling out Ryan Tannehill to get some early action. That could result in a tough stretch run. Verdict: UNDER
Buffalo Bills, 7 Wins
Over (-110) / Under (-120): Love the Bills over, but the early action is apparently on the under. That's not terribly surprising given that the public probably tends to go against a team like the Bills. But they won six games last year and if Ryan Fitzpatrick can bounce back this is a dangerous team. Plus, a five-game stretch of at IND, vs JAX, vs STL, vs SEA, at MIA looks like a winning streak to me. Verdict: OVER
AFC NorthPittsburgh Steelers, 10 wins
Over (-125) / Under (-105): The Steelers are almost always a double-digit type of team on here, and 10's kind of low, but it might have something to do with the change from Bruce Arians to Todd Haley. (Also, -125 isn't exactly a "great" price or anything.) The Steelers have won more than 10 games five times in the last decade, won 10 games exactly once and won less four times. Looking at their schedule and considering their improved offensive line, I see them right at 10. It wouldn't be my top choice though. Verdict: OVER
Baltimore Ravens, 10 wins
Over (-110) / Under (-125): It would be interesting to find out how much Terrell Suggs' injury moved this line. Perhaps not much -- the Steelers and Ravens are usually pretty close when it comes to predicted wins. The Ravens won the division last year, though, so they've got a tougher schedule. And the Ray Rice situation should be resolved, but if I'm gambling on a team to overcome the changes/problems they're dealing with, I'll take Pittsburgh. Verdict: UNDER
Cincinnati Bengals, 7.5 wins
Over (-130) / Under (Even): As you can see, Vegas expects the Bengals to come back to Earth a little bit this year, but not too much. I can see the logic, too. They exceeded expectations and even though they slam-dunked their draft, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green ain't sneaking up on anyone next year. This total is interesting too, because if the Bengals can upset the Ravens in Week 1 (totally possible) they've got another cake early season schedule. 5-2 at the bye should be the worst-case scenario. And yet, three wins after the bye isn't a lock by any stretch. Don't love this one, but we'll go with it anyway. Verdict: OVER
Cleveland Browns, 5.5 wins
Over (Even) / Under (-130): I'm already hated by Browns fans anyway, so might as well go ahead and point out this Vegas expects Cleveland to be the third-worst team in the NFL this year. And that might be generous. If the Browns can't beat the Bengals or Bills, 0-6 is a likely start. Unless Brandon Weeden is the second coming of Kurt Warner (age jokes!), I don't see more than four wins on their schedule right now. Verdict: UNDER
AFC SouthHouston Texans, 10 wins
Over (-140) / Under (+110): The Texans are laughably favored to win this division, and with good reason: the rest of the division is pretty bad. And it doesn't hurt for them to match up against the Colts twice in the final three weeks of the season either. It's tough to lock a team into double-digit wins in May, but if you look at their schedule, assume they can repeat their success on defense from last year and don't assume for any major injuries or decline in the rushing attack and this is a pretty good bet for an early pick. Verdict: OVER
Tennessee Titans, 7 wins
Over (-130) / Under (Even): Of course, the Texans could be in trouble if the Titans can build on last year's nine-win season. That could certainly happen but it definitely depends on how well Chris Johnson can bounce back. There's some concern with the secondary now that Cortland Finnegan's gone and there's plenty of concern about the pass rush. Someone has to win games in this division. I'm not convinced it's Tennessee. Verdict: UNDER
Indianapolis Colts, 5.5 wins
Over (Even) / Under (-135): With Andrew Luck now the face of Indy, the logical assumption is that the Colts will stink this year. And they probably will, especially considering they didn't bother to address their defense in the draft. But this offense is going to be more potent than people think, and, after the draft, I tend to believe they could end up like the 2011 Panthers and surprise some people with more wins than expected. Verdict: OVER
Jacksonville Jaguars, 5.5 wins
Over (+105) / Under (-135): Ladies and gentlemen, the worst team in the NFL! In May. According to Vegas. The Jaguars went out and upgraded their offense this offseason by providing weapons for Blaine Gabbert. But they could surprise the most if they can maximize Chad Henne's potential. (Yes, that sentence just happened.) If the quarterback situation is better than everyone expects, the Jags could surprise a little. But if it were better, they wouldn't be scrambling to improve it. Verdict: UNDER
AFC WestDenver Broncos, 9.5 wins
Over (-110) / Under (-120): Perhaps the most interesting over/under of any team in the NFL, the Broncos are getting much more attention this offseason than last. It's easy to assume that new quarterback Peyton Manning will automatically get this team 10 wins; that's about what he was good for with the Colts. Cantor Sportsbook director Mike Colbert told Covers.com he doesn't think the Broncos will win nine games. Will Manning be healthy? Will his weapons be ready? Can the defense hold up? If all those answers are "yes," the over is a nice bet. Verdict: OVER
San Diego Chargers, 9 wins
Over (-130) / Under (Even): Quite clearly, the Chargers over is a popular one. And it should be -- they're due to bounce back some and their schedule is that of a team that definitely didn't win its division in 2011. Their ability to turn Melvin Ingram into an impact player on defense and keep the turnover on the offensive line and at wide receiver will determine if they can get back to their division-winning ways though. Verdict: OVER
Kansas City Chiefs, 8 wins
Over (-120) / Under (-110): Another AFC West bounceback team, the Chiefs should definitely improve on their showing last season (say what you want about 7-9, but they were -126 in point differential, second worst in the NFL). That's mainly because, I hope/guess/think/assume that Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki and Eric Berry won't all suffer season-ending injuries right away. But I'm not sure they'll win more than Vegas predicts. Verdict: PUSH
Oakland Raiders, 7 wins
Over (-110) / Under (-120): The Raiders are certainly acting like they'll compete for the division again this year, and they can, I suppose, if Carson Palmer performs like he's worth two early draft picks. His receivers should take a step forward, but there's a lot of defensive losses (Stanford Routt, Chris Johnson, John Henderson, Kamerion Wimbley) and I'm not sure they made up for it. They're wisely gutting the roster of bad contracts and looking to build the right way, but that doesn't help their win total this season. Verdict: UNDER
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