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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Default 2017 NFL Conference Previews

    2017 AFC South betting preview and odds: Despite poor QB play Jaguars show value

    On paper the AFC South appears to be a three-team race between the Titans, Texans and Colts, but with no standout team in the division don't count out the Jaguars, despite the fact Blake Bortles is their quarterback. Power Sports gives you a team-by-team breakdown of each team, including a season win total pick.

    Houston Texans (2016: 9-7 SU, 6-9-1 ATS, 6-10 O/U)

    Odds To Win Division: +195
    Season Win Total: Over 8.5 (+103) / Under 8.5 (-113)

    Why to bet the Texans: I'll go through some of the obvious regression that should take place in the next section, but if you're looking for optimism, one can point in two different directions. Those two directions happen to involve the offense and defense. For the former, the drafting of quarterback Deshaun Watson could be huge. Head coach Bill O'Brien has won nine games each of the last three seasons and done so with a cavalcade of terrible signal-callers, such as Brock Osweiler last season. On the defensive side of the ball, JJ Watt returns to a unit that actually ranked No. 1 in yards allowed without him. Also, there is no clear cut favorite in this division, meaning if the Texans do slip, there's no guaranteed challenger to wrest control of the division away from them.

    Why not to bet the Texans: They were outscored by 49 points last season, which is more indicative of a six or seven win team. The only AFC teams with worse point differentials last year were Cleveland, Jacksonville and the Jets. After beating the Bears 23-14 in Week 1 last year, the Texans never again won a game by more than a touchdown. In fact, over their final 14 reg season contests, they got outscored by 66 points. When, or if, Watson will be the starting QB is a mystery. The underwhelming Tom Savage figures to begin the year under center. How much can Watt really improve the defensive performance from last year. By virtue of winning the division last year, they are the only AFC South team that must play the Patriots, Steelers and Chiefs this year.

    Season Win Total Pick: Under 8.5

    Indianapolis Colts (2016: 8-8 SU, 7-8-1 ATS, 9-7 O/U)

    Odds to Win Division: +265
    Season Win Total: Over 9.0 (+130) / Under 9.0 (-140)

    Why to bet the Colts: They have the best QB in the division, Andrew Luck, and also finished with the division's best point differential (just +19) a year ago. If Luck can stay healthy (a big if), then it's difficult to imagine this team not winning more games this year compared to 2016. Efforts have been made to upgrade the roster surrounding Luck and thankfully, awful general manager Ryan Grigson was finally axed. The Colts are expected to be favored in every home game but one this year, Week 10 against the Steelers.

    Why not to bet the Colts: Note the asterisk next to the win total. It's off the board as there's already questions about Luck's health and if he misses any time, this team is dead (even in a weak division). Luck isn't the only key player banged up either. Center Ryan Kelly is injured and will miss time in the preseason. It seems as if the entire receiving corps is banged up as well. My view of this team is that they are now "paying up" for overachieving in Luck's first several seasons. Head coach Chuck Pagano seems like a lame duck. The defense just isn't any good. If anything, look to bet the Over with this team.

    Season Win Total Pick: Under 9

    Jacksonville Jaguars (2016: 3-13 SU, 8-8 ATS, 10-6 SU)

    Odds to Win Division: +630
    Season Win Total: Over 6.5 (-153) / Under 6.5 (+131)

    Why to bet the Jaguars: As you can tell from the odds, the AFC South is expected to be a three-horse race in 2017. But I don't really view any of those three (Texans, Colts, Titans) as substantially better than the Jaguars, so there is some value here. As you can tell by the season win total for 2017, bettors are expecting improvement with the 6.5 heavily juiced to the Over. They had a Pythagorean Win expectation of 5.8 last year, so the won-loss record was a tad bit misleading even if the team was favored in only three games. This year, they're projected to be favored in four and should pull some upsets. Gus Bradley left behind a rapidly improving defense. Top draft choice Leonard Fournette could be a difference maker on offense.

    Why not to bet the Jaguars: Again, this team was favored in only three games, so the hype going into last season was never really justified. Personally, I am not a fan of Blake Bortles, whose 2015 numbers were greatly overvalued (mainly by those in the fantasy football community) as he racked up a lot of yards when the team was down. The offense would be better going through a rookie QB as opposed to Bortles, who I do not believe is long for his current job. Over the last five seasons, the Jags have won: 2, 4, 3, 5 and 3 games. So asking them to go Over this year's projected win total seems like asking a lot.

    Season Win Total Pick: Over 7.0

    Tennessee Titans (2016: 9-7 SU, 7-9 SU, 10-6 O/U)

    Odds to Win Division: +195
    Season Win Total: Over 8.5 (-145) / Under 8.5 (+124)

    Why to bet the Titans: Coming into the year, this looks like the best team in the AFC South. Arguably, they were the best team last year, but a late season injury to QB Marcus Mariota plus a poor record vs. division opponents (2-4 SU) cost them. Some considered taking WR Corey Davis (out of Western Michigan) at No. 5 overall as a reach. I did not. If Mariota stays healthy, the Titans are the rightful favorite to win the division. There's only one game - at present - where they are expected to be a dog of more than three points this year (Week 11 at Pittsburgh). They faded late last year, but this season the final three regular season games are against the 49ers, Rams and Jaguars.

    Why not to bet the Titans: Just because they may be better this year doesn't necessarily mean they will win more games. I have them winning the division, but at 8-8 SU. The jump that took place last year (from 3 wins in '15 to 9 in '16) typically necessitates some sort of "leveling off" in year three. I'm a tad bit worried about the hype surrounding a team that won a total of FIVE games in 2014-15. This is a division full of uninspiring head coaches and Mike Mularkey is definitely one of them. The defense was not great last year.

    Season Win Total Pick: Under 8.5

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004


    2017 AFC West betting preview and odds: With Carr healthy, Raiders posied to take next step

    Oakland's season came to a crashing halt in 2016 after quarterback Derek Carr broke his leg in Week 16. Well, he's healthy again and the Raiders are favorites to win the AFC West crown in 2017. Al McCordie gives you a team-by-team breakdown of the division, including regular season win total picks.

    Denver Broncos (2016: 9-7 SU, 9-7 ATS, 7-9 O/U)

    Odds to win division: +342
    Season win total: Over 8.5 +142/Under 8.5 -167

    Why to bet the Broncos: Despite the retirement of head coach Gary Kubiak, the Broncos’ new staff has a plethora of coaching experience. Head coach Vance Joseph was the defensive coordinator in Miami last season, while Mike McCoy is back in Denver as offensive coordinator after a head coaching stint with the Chargers and Joe Woods takes over the defense. This regime change could energize the team, which floundered last season following a Super Bowl title two years ago. Last season, Denver ranked No. 4 in Total Defense, including No. 1 versus the pass. Additionally, its offensive numbers should improve this season under McCoy, who will overhaul the scheme to incorporate more short, quick passes. Moreover, Denver should get more productivity at running back, provided C.J. Anderson doesn’t miss more than half the season again. Woods should also improve Denver’s rush defense, which ranked No. 28 last season, by mixing up the looks, and not relying too heavily on base concepts.

    Why not to bet the Broncos: Denver has several question marks. First, of course, is who will be its quarterback. Trevor Siemian started most of last season, but he will battle Paxton Lynch for the job. Neither signal caller rates above league average. Second, Denver’s offensive line had major problems last season. Last season’s zone-heavy scheme is being scrapped by new coach Jeff Davidson, who favors a gap approach. But it’s unclear whether this season’s offensive line will be any better than last year’s. If not, then Denver’s quarterbackss will once again face heavy pressure and be vulnerable to sacks (40 last year). Finally, Denver’s schedule is the league’s most difficult, based on its opponents’ records last season.

    Season win total pick: Under 8.5

    Kansas City Chiefs (2016: 12-4 SU, 9-6-1 ATS, 6-10 O/U)

    Odds to win division: +238
    Season win total: Over 9, -109/Under 9 -107

    Why to bet the Chiefs: In four seasons with the Chiefs, coach Andy Reid has posted a record of 43-21 in the regular season. Last year, KC went 12-4 and is returning all of its offensive starters from last season, plus all but one of its defensive starters. But even though management isn’t bringing in new talent, that doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement. Last year’s breakout rookie, Tyreek Hill, should be able to build on his 2016 campaign, as the coaching staff will feature him much more this season. Star pass rusher Justin Houston will also contribute more, as he played just five games last year due to injury.

    Why not to bet the Chiefs: There is absolutely no depth at the quarterback position, should starter Alex Smith sustain an injury. Last year’s back-up, Nick Foles, was not retained, so all the Chiefs have behind Smith are inexperienced Tyler Bray and rookie Pat Mahomes. The running back position is also a concern. Jamaal Charles is gone, so the Chiefs will rely on both Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West. Neither had a play from scrimmage greater than 46 yards last season. Ware’s production was poor in the second half of the season, when he averaged just 3.7 yards per carry (compared to 5.0 yards per carry in the first half). Like all the teams in the AFC West, Kansas City’s schedule is brutal this season and ranks as the league’s second most difficult behind Denver’s. Finally, the Chiefs benefited greatly from turnovers last season, as they led the league with 33. But turnovers are somewhat random, so it will be hard for the Chiefs to match that performance this season.

    Season win total pick: Under 9

    Oakland Raiders (2016: 12-4 SU, 10-6 ATS, 11-5 O/U)

    Odds to win division: +168
    Season win total: Over 9.5, -109/Under 9.5, -107

    Why to bet the Raiders: The Raiders have a supremely talented quarterback in Derek Carr. Indeed, many believe Oakland would have reached the Super Bowl had Carr not broken his fibula in Week 16. But Carr is healthy this season and will have an excellent group of receivers at his disposal. Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper both topped 1,000 yards last season. The Raiders also brought in tight end Jared Cook from Green Bay to give Carr yet another solid pass-catching option. On the other side of the ball, reigning Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack is a force and he garnered 11 sacks last season. First Round draft pick Gareon Conley could also be impactful in the secondary.

    Why not to bet the Raiders: Oakland has made major strides over the past three seasons, going from 3-13 in 2014 to 7-9 in 2015 and then to 12-4 last season. Oakland will be saddled with a very difficult schedule this year (the fourth hardest in the NFL), which includes a “home” game in Mexico City versus New England. There’s also a big concern at the running back position. General manager Reggie McKenzie traded for Marshawn Lynch, who has come out of retirement to play for his hometown team. But Lynch is now 31 years old and only gained 417 yards in seven games two seasons ago. Last season, the Raiders were tied with the Chiefs for the league’s best turnover differential (+16). But that is a statistic which can greatly change from year-to-year, so the Raiders’ success will be adversely affected if they don’t reach the same heights again.

    Season win total pick: Under 9.5

    Los Angeles Chargers (2016: 5-11 SU, 7-9 ATS, 9-6-1 O/U)

    Odds to win division: +429
    Season win total: Over 7.5, -123/Under 7.5 +105

    Why to bet the Chargers: Last year, the Chargers’ season took a huge hit early, when wide receiver Keenan Allen was injured in Game 1, but he is healthy now and will have help in the form of rookie WR Mike Williams (if he can stay healthy), who was drafted No. 7 overall. Those two, plus tight end Antonio Gates, will give QB Philip Rivers a terrific trio to target. Moreover, the Chargers have a great weapon at running back, in Melvin Gordon. The second-year pro rushed for 997 yards last season and will be featured in Anthony Lynn’s “ground-and-pound” approach. Also, while other teams have to worry about losing their quarterback to injury, that’s toward the bottom of the Chargers’ concerns, as Rivers has started 176 consecutive games.

    Why not to bet the Chargers: The Chargers may lack a home field advantage. Last year, they played in front of 57,000 fans, on average, in San Diego. But this season — their first in Los Angeles — the Chargers will have just 30,000 fans in the seats at StubHub Center, the NFL’s smallest stadium. That won’t generate much excitement. Although Los Angeles looks to be set on offense, its stop unit is another story. Gus Bradley is the new defensive coordinator following his stint as Jacksonville head coach and he’ll implement a 4-3 defensive scheme. Bradley is a very good coach, but it might take another year for him to acquire the talent to fit his system. Even worse: Los Angeles plays in the most difficult division in football and has the third toughest schedule in the league this season.

    Season win total pick: Over 7.5

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004


    2017 AFC East betting preview and odds: It's the Patriots followed by everyone else

    It's absolutely absurd how much of a favorite the New England Patriots are to win the AFC East division (-2,000). The Pats have won this division eight years in a row and 13 of the last 14 seasons. Matt Fargo gives you a team-by-team breakdown, including season win total picks.

    New England Patriots (2016: 14-2 SU, 13-3 ATS, 6-10 O/U)

    Odds to win the AFC East: -2,000

    Season win total: Over 12.5 (-107) / Under 12.5 (-109)

    Why to bet the Patriots: The most dominant team in football for over a decade got even stronger in the offseason by signing wide receiver Brandin Crooks and corner Stephon Gilmore. It almost seems unfair how New England keeps doing it but once again, they are the heavy favorites to win the division and go back to the Super Bowl. It was 10 years ago that the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season and there is actually talk about doing it again this season. While that is unlikely, betting against this team should be done at your own risk as evidenced by their incredible 13-3 ATS record last season (16-3 ATS including the postseason).

    Why not to bet the Patriots: As is the case every year, the Patriots have a bulls-eye on their backs and they never face an opponent that is not sky high to face them. One major factor is that New England will be overvalued in a lot of games this season based on expectations and the success it had last season. The schedule outside of the division is not easy as the Patriots face Kansas City, New Orleans, Houston, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Denver, Oakland and Pittsburgh, all of which are playoff contenders. That is not a very easy section of games.

    Season win total pick: Under 12.5

    Miami Dolphins (2016: 10-6 SU, 9-7 ATS, 12-4 O/U)

    Odds to win the AFC East: +1,000

    Season win total: Over 7.5 (+134) / Under 7.5 (-157)

    Why to bet the Dolphins: Miami was a playoff team last season despite the fact Ryan Tannehill missed the last three games and it is expected to make another run this season. The loss of Tannehill for the year is the big news and while the addition of Jay Cutler is not an upgrade, it is not a downgrade either as he knows the system and should slide right in. He has plenty of playmakers around him. Overall, the Dolphins increased their talent on defense which was a weakness last season and improvements on that side of the ball can make them dangerous.

    Why not to bet the Dolphins: While Cutler should be able to fit right in, he is known to take too many chances and he can single-handedly lose games - as we saw many times in Chicago. The emergence of Jay Ajayi was a pleasant surprise but he was very inconsistent as he ran for over 200 yards three times but was held to 51 yards or fewer eight times. While the defense should be better, Miami was No. 29 in rushing defense and that is not an easy fix overnight. After years of being bad, the Dolphins came out of nowhere last season and they will not be sneaking up on anyone. They are still nowhere near the Patriots despite some good upgrades.

    Season win total pick: Over 7.5

    Buffalo Bills (2016: 7-9 SU, 6-10 ATS, 12-4 O/U)

    Odds to win the AFC East: +1,500

    Season win total: Over 6.5 (-130) / Under 6.5 (+110)

    Why to bet the Bills: Playing New England twice does not help things. But playing the Jets twice does and now that the Dolphins have lost Ryan Tannehill, the Bills caught a break even though the two meetings are in Weeks 15 and 17. The rest of the schedule is not easy however. In additional to having to play the AFC West and NFC South, the other two games are against the Bengals and Colts which were challenging a couple years ago but winnable now. Buffalo has the toughest schedule of any team outside of the AFC West according to ESPN but they expect to once again be competitive.

    Why not to bet the Bills: Can a run first team win consistently in what is now a pass happy league? We are about to find out as the Bills did nothing to upgrade their passing attack. The trade of Sammy Watkins was a bit of a surprise but he has been a ticking time bomb with his injury issues, so getting Jordan Matthews could be a slight upgrade. Buffalo still has the longest playoff drought in the NFL as it has not seen the postseason since 1999, and playing what is a tough schedule on paper is not going to make it any easier to break that streak.

    Season win total pick: Over 6.5

    New York Jets (2016: 5-11 SU, 6-10 ATS, 7-8-1 O/U)

    Odds to win the AFC East: +10,000

    Season win total: Over 4.5 (+160) / Under 4.5 (-190)

    Why to bet the Jets: If you like underdogs and contrarian plays, the Jets are your team. They will be underdogs in every game this season and some are projecting them to go winless because the talent level is that bad. But for betting purposes, that is why there is a pointspread to try and even things out and while this team is young, these players are not going to tank as some claim as they are playing for their jobs. Complete rebuilds are no fun from a fan standpoint, especially for a team coming off a 10-win season the year before, but from a betting standpoint, the value will be there.

    Why not to bet the Jets: The Jets will see plenty of value this upcoming season as no one will want to touch them so their spreads are going to be enormous. The problem here is where is the quality of football going to come from? They have no proven quarterback, the receiving corps is one of the worst ever in the NFL, Matt Forte is old, the offensive line is raw and the defense is starting from scratch. There was a lack of discipline last year and that was with numerous veterans on the team, so that discipline could be dangerous again and cost head coach Todd Bowles his job.

    Season win total pick: Under 4.5

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004


    Random notes on NFC teams:

    Arizona— Carson Palmer turns 38 on Dec 27; only 27 NFL QB’s have thrown 200+ passes at age 38 or older— 13 of those 17 are or will be in the Hall of Fame. Arizona had the oldest offense in the NFL last year; their time to win a Super Bowl is this year, or else. Over is 13-3 in Arizona road games the last two years; since 2014, under is 14-9-1 in Cardinal home games.

    Atlanta— Blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl, fired their DC, lost their OC, have a new stadium this year. Falcons scored 58 TD’s last year, punted 48 times with only 11 turnovers— they were only the third team since 1996 to score a TD on more than 33.3% of their drives. Now what? Underdogs are 13-3 vs spread in Falcon home games, since Quinn has been coach.

    Carolina— How is Cam Newton’s shoulder? That is Question #1. Panthers were -2 in turnovers LY (6-10), after being +20/+3/+11 the three years before that (15-1/7-8-1/12-4). Over last four years, Carolina is 4-10-1 vs spread as a road favorite- their front office had in-fighting this winter— the GM got fired— will that affect the players?

    Chicago— QB Mike Glennon played QB at NC State after Russell Wilson bolted for Wisconsin; then he went 5-13 over two years as a starter in Tampa Bay before they drafted Jameis Winston. He’s thrown 11 passes the last two years, is now renting the Bears’ #1 job until they decide that #1 pick Mitch Trubisky is ready to be the starter. Awkward situation.

    Dallas— Dak Prescott makes $540K this year, $630K next year, which bails Dallas out of a lot of its salary cap quandries. Cowboys ran the ball 59.4% of time on 1st down LY, averaged 5.1 yds/rush on those runs, and averaged 8.9 yds/pass on play action passes. As a result, Cowboys faced 3rd-lowest number of 3rd downs in NFL. Will Prescott fight the sophomore jinx this year?

    Detroit— As a Ram fan, I was frustrated by how bad OT Greg Robinson was for the Rams the last few years; now he is a Lion and is the LT, protecting Matthew Stafford’s blind side. Detroit’s backup QB’s are Jake Rudock/Brad Kaaya. Lions have lost nine playoff games in a row- their last playoff win was in 1991. If Detroit makes the playoffs this year, I’ll be very surprised.

    Green Bay— Since 1992, Packers have had Favre/Rodgers at QB, two first-ballot Hall of Famers. They won Super Bowl in ’96 and ’10, lost in ’97- should they be winning more than they have? Pack made playoffs last 7 years and 14 of last 20 years, but are just 13-13 in playoff games since Favre won his Super Bowl. Last three years, Green Bay is 14-7-2 vs spread as a home favorite.

    LA Rams— 31-year old Sean McVay was hired to develop Jared Goff as a QB, but before that, they have to put together an offensive line that can protect him. 35-year old Andrew Whitwroth was brought in from Cincinnati to play LT and fortify the line. Rams were 4-5 LY, led Miami 10-0 with 5:00 to go in Goff’s debut in Game #10— had they won that game, Jeff Fisher would likely still be the Rams’ coach.

    Minnesota— Vikings went 8-8 with a +11 turnover ratio; no bueno; they had 54 third-and-1’s last year, converted 11-15 (73.3%) times when they threw the ball, 25-39 (64.1%) when they ran it. Sam Bradford is 32-45-1 as an NFL starter, 14-15 since leaving the Rams. Minnesota hasn’t won a playoff game since 2009; since ’05, they’re 1-4 in playoff games. Vikings have had eight #1 QB’s over the last 12 years. Bridgewater’s knee injury last summer was incredibly bad luck.

    NJ Giants— Giants have had one #1 QB since 2005; Eli Manning has played all 192 games, and that is his greatest strength— he shows up to work every week. Giants won Super Bowl after 2007/2011 seasons, going 4-0 in playoffs both years; other than those two years, since 2001, Big Blue is 0-5 in playoff games. Have been in playoffs twice in last eight years, are 1-5 in Week 1 the last six years- they open vs Dallas this year for 5th time in last six years.

    New Orleans— Does signing Adrian Peterson mean Saints will run ball more to protect a poor defense and a 38-year old QB? NO scored 400+ points the last six years, but made playoffs only once in last five years, going 7-9 in other four. Last three years, Saints are 5-13-1 vs spread as a home favorite, 5-0 as home dogs- they’re 3-8 in last 11 tries as a road favorite. Over is 16-8 in Superdome games the last three years; over is 13-11 in NO road games during that time.

    Philadelphia— Eagles missed playoffs five of last six years; their last playoff win was in 2008, but they had to be happy with rookie QB Wentz LY. This will be first time since 2012 that Iggles had same #1 QB as year before (Michael Vick). Philly was 4-1 vs spread as a home underdog LY, after being 1-10 in that role from 2007-15. Eagles were favored in only two of their eight home games LY; the last five years, they’re 5-9-1 vs spread in home games vs divisional rivals.

    San Francisco— Four head coaches in four years is never good; they’re 7-25 since Jim Harbaugh took his act to Ann Arbor. Over last five years, 49ers have averaged 3.96 starts per draft pick, which is poor, so John Lynch runs franchise now; smart guy, but he’s never done this before. As of June 3, 51 of 90 players on roster were acquired since Lynch took over- they let 27 of 31 free agents walk. Kyle Shanahan is the new coach, after helping Falcons win NFC title last season.

    Seattle— Seahawks are 56-23-1 the last five years; they’ve won at least one playoff game in 8 of last 10 seasons, but throwing that INT on goal line at end of Super Bowl will haunt them until they win another Super Bowl. Russell Wilson is 8-4 in playoff games; he was a 3rd-round pick, just like Joe Montana, who was 16-7 in playoff games. Seattle is 6-10 vs spread as a road favorite the last three years; under Carroll, they’re 26-11 vs spread as a home favorite.

    Tampa Bay— Bucs haven’t made playoffs since 2007; their last playoff win was the Super Bowl 15 years ago- they were 9-7 LY, their first winning season since ’10. Adding DeSean Jackson will give Jameis Winston another explosive option; listening to the first episode of Hard Knocks, this is a confident team that expects to make the playoffs, but they’ll need to play better at home. Last three years, Tampa Bay is 8-16 vs spread at home, 2-6 in divisional home games.

    Washington— Sean McVay is in LA; they fired their DC, so two new coordinators this season for Jay Gruden, who goes back to calling plays. Skins were 17-14-1 the last two years; since 2006, they are 0-3 in playoff games. Last time Washington was a playoff game, Joe Gibbs was coach. Gruden is 4-8 vs spread as a home favorite; last two years, Washington is 9-4 vs spread coming off a loss. Last five years, over is 25-14-1 in Redskin road games.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004


    2017 AFC North betting preview and odds: Ravens-Steelers rivalry back in full force

    It could be Ben Roethlisberger's final season, but that isn't bothering books as he and the Steelers' high-powered offense are the faves to win the third AFC North, but the Ravens could ruin his going-away party. Steve Merril gives you a team-by-team breakdown of the whole division, including season win total picks.

    Baltimore Ravens (2016: 8-8 SU, 7-9 ATS, 7-8-1 O/U)

    Odds to win division: +400
    Season win total: 8.5

    Why to bet the Ravens: Baltimore's secondary figures to improve with the additions of Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson. The two of them join Jimmy Smith and Eric Weddle who made impacts last year. The Ravens also are a great bet to win close games with arguably the best kicker in football in Justin Tucker. He missed just one field goal last year and that was blocked.

    Why not to bet the Ravens: The offense is already battling injuries, starting with Joe Flacco who dealt with back problems this offseason. The running back group is filled with question marks. Kenneth Dixon is done for the season, leaving the likes of Terrance West, Danny Woodhead, Javorius Allen and Lorenzo Taliaferro to share the carries. The tight end group would have been a strength before they were ravaged by injuries

    Season win total pick: Over 8.5

    Cincinnati Bengals (2016: 6-9-1 SU, 7-9 ATS, 6-10 O/U)

    Odds to win division: +350
    Season win total: 8.5

    Why to bet the Bengals: The offense has a ton of weapons after acquiring John Ross and Joe Mixon in the draft. Ross provides enough speed to prevent teams from doubling AJ Green out wide. Mixon could be the lead back for Cincinnati by the end of the season as he moves ahead of Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard. This team will have a strong secondary led by Adam Jones.

    Why not to bet the Bengals: Andy Dalton puts up good numbers at quarterback against weak teams, but he has struggled in big games. Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict are suspensions waiting to happen. The Bengals have a stretch of four road games in five weeks after an early bye.

    Season win total pick: Under 8.5

    Cleveland Browns (2016: 1-15 SU, 3-12-1 ATS, 8-8 O/U)

    Odds to win division: +5000
    Season win total: 4.5

    Why to bet the Browns: The team is building themselves a solid defense with the moves made this offseason. Getting Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers in the draft will pay off nicely. Jamie Collins is a good leader to have in the linebacker corp. Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson are a solid running back duo, with Johnson also being used in the slot.

    Why not to bet the Browns: When your quarterback race is between Brock Osweiler, DeShone Kizer and Cody Kessler, you aren't going to win too many games. Kenny Britt is the veteran presence at wide receiver, but he will likely see a lot of double teams considering the lack of other weapons. Cleveland closes the season with four road games over the last six weeks.

    Season win total pick: Under 4.5

    Pittsburgh Steelers (2016: 11-5 SU, 9-6-1 ATS, 6-10 O/U)

    Odds to win division: -170
    Season win total: 10.5

    Why to bet the Steelers: Any time you can roll out Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger, you are going to win. Brown is the best wide receiver in football, while Bell can make the same claim at running back. The offensive line is highly rated as well. Linebacker is a strength with Bud Dupree, Ryan Shazier and James Harrison.

    Why not to bet the Steelers: Injuries could derail this veteran team rather quickly. Roethlisberger has missed games during the past two seasons. Bell is not in training camp which could lead to a sluggish start when he finally returns to the team. James Harrison is 39 years old, so there is a possibility he will start to lose a step.

    Season win total pick: Under 10.5



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