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2024 NFL win totals, NFC South: Trust in Buccaneers despite tough schedule; Panthers to bounce back?

NFLย season win totals are some of the most fun action to wager on — it’s a season-long gambit with week-to-week intensity because of how much every game matters for the final season record. With the explosion of legalized sports betting, win totals have been out for a while now, but we can’t really get crystallized and concrete numbers until theย NFL scheduleย is released.

With the schedule out and every angle of the 2024ย NFLย season under full scrutiny, we can finally get down to the business of betting season-long win totals. I’ll revisit these in August before the season begins, but we’ll try and find some value earlier in the offseason.

I’m using DraftKings for win totals for ease of use, but you should absolutely shop around and get the best number, so let’s break them down division by division. Check the rest of the divisions here as they’re released:ย 

Before we dive in, a couple quick notes. One, we’re picking every team but not betting every team. Two, any best bets will be denoted in bold, etc. Three, you should probably avoid actually betting on overs at this point because of how quickly injuries can flip the fortunes ofย NFL teams.ย 

Let’s get to it.

NFC South

Over 9.5 (-135) / Under 9.5 (+115)

The aggressive Atlanta offseason brought with it high expectations. After the Falcons signed Kirk Cousins, they also invested in adding wide receivers Darnell Mooney and Rondale Moore to a depth chart already loaded with skill position guys in Bijan Robinson, Drake London and Kyle Pitts along with Zac Robinson calling plays for the offense. Michael Penix Jr. was a confusing draft pick but we can adjudicate that issue later. If Cousins is healthy after a late 2023 Achilles tear, there’s no reason this offense shouldn’t cook. Defensively, I trust Raheem Morris to get the most out of his new team, but adding an edge rusher instead of a backup quarterback might have benefited the Falcons more for 2024. This was a team that went 4-6 in one-score games last year while hitting its win expectancy on the nose at 7-10 while losing four of five to close (three in the division, one horrible loss to the Panthers). It’s easy to see why people would be bullish on the Falcons with potential massive coaching and quarterback. But drawing the AFC West and NFC East is TOUGH, especially this year — the Seahawks, Steelers and Vikings as cross divisional placement matchups isn’t too bad but not exactly easy. I really like the Falcons this year, will probably pick them to win the division, but banking on 10 wins without seeing Cousins on the field would be crazy at this stage of the offseason. I’d happily fade them if the win total got to double digits.

Lean: Falcons Under 9.5 (+115)

Over 8.5 (+125) / Under 8.5 (-150)

Conversely, the Bucs are being disrespected again this offseason. We ALL whiffed on them last year and Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans and crew clearly used the doubters as motivation. The offense is a bit of a question mark, with Dave Canales going to the Panthers, but Baker has experience working with new OC Liam Coen from his time with the Rams and GM Jason Licht added a new center in Graham Barton along with new weapons in running back Bucky Irving and receiver Jalen McMillan. Chris Godwin’sย is expected to spend more time in the slot after moving outside a ton in 2023, which should only boost his production. Evans continues to put up HOF-worthy numbers year after year. Tampa went 4-4 in one-score games and basically hit its number in terms of win expectancy, so we don’t have a massive drop-off expected there. Maybe the defense slides a little, but Todd Bowles has consistently done a good job getting the most out of that side of the ball as an OC and head coach. If you want to point to Baker’s every-other-year struggles, I guess that’s fine, but he seems to have found a home now. The schedule is a little scary: the AFC West plus the NFC East plus first-place matchups against the Lions, Ravens and 49ers are brutal. The Bucs play Baltimore, Atlanta, K.C. and San Francisco in a four-week stretch, including the Chiefs and Niners back-to-back before their Week 11 bye. Ouch. I’d trust the roster and organization and lean over with the big plus money number here I think, though.

Lean: Buccaneers Over 8.5 (+125)ย 

Over 7.5 (-120) / Under 7.5 (+105)

The Saints really feel like a team floating in the ether. They’re kind of locked into Derek Carr, but they also grabbed Spencer Rattler. Dennis Allen is absolutely on the hot seat, despite going 9-8 last year. He just fired Pete Carmichael Jr. and replaced him with Klint Kubiak, which means a slow offensive start would put a bullseye squarely on his back. They underperformed their win expectancy last year, so maybe there’s room for a step forward, but I can’t get past the offensive line situation. Trevor Penning looks like a bust. Ryan Ramczyk could retire before the season begins. Taliese Fuaga has to be great as a rookie out of the gate; otherwise Carr might be under heavy pressure. Meanwhile,ย Alvin Kamaraย averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry and under 60 receptions per season over the last three years after averaging 5.0 yards a rush and 82 catches his first four years in the NFL. The receiver corps is fun with Chris Olave, Rashid Shaheed and A.T. Perry along with tight end Juwan Johnson. But it’s fair to wonder how high volume this pass attack will be, especially with what still projects to be an above-average defense (New Orleans was eighth in points allowed last year). I’m going to keep riding the plus money here on the notion the offensive line struggles further and the offense craters a bit.

Pick: Saints Under 7.5 (+105)

Carolina Panthers

Over 5.5 (-115) / Under 5.5 (-105)ย 

This number has actually moved up a full game — a shocking amount in May — thanks to some professional bettors “releasing” the Panthers over 4.5 as a pick. That isn’t going to sway me to taking either side of this, but it will move me off the Panthers win total as a pick, which is a shame, because I liked their over 4.5 as well. The 2023 Panthers went 2-15 and were by far the worst team in all of professional football. It wasn’t close. But they underperformed their expected win total of 3.5 and went 2-6 in one-score games. They had a rookie quarterback in Bryce Young who was under siege by opposing pass rushers 24/7 from the start. The offensive line is already better, thanks to free agency splurges Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis. They completely lacked any vertical weapons on offense (or, really weapons at all, no disrespect to Adam Thielen’s 400,000 catches last year). Carolina added Diontae Johnson in a trade and wideout Xavier Legette/tight end J’Tavion Sanders in the draft. Explosive pass-catching back Jonathon Brooks could pay huge dividends if he’s healthy to start the season as well.ย 

Frank Reich’s coaching staff was a mix of guys the front office and ownership wanted plus guys Reich wanted and there was major in-fighting among them. New coach Dave Canales and GM Dan Morgan appear to be in lockstep with meddling owner David Tepper being a lot less hands on. Canales has a strong history of improved quarterback play wherever he goes, even if he’s got just one year as an offensive coordinator before landing this job. The schedule is brutal with the AFC West and NFC East on tap. And what a year to get the Bears and Bengals (not to mention an improved Cardinals team) as last-place, cross-divisional matchups. Still, I like Carolina to stumble its way to six-ish wins this season.ย 

Lean: Panthers Over 5.5 (-115)ย 

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Author: Will Brinson
May 30, 2024 | 9:56 am

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