NFL 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. For years now I've written up the win totals for CBS, so it's wild to me we now get them in mid-to-late March; we've always had to grind our way through May to get them released.
Caesar's dropped win totals for every single NFL team recently, so let's break them down division by division. Check the rest of the divisions here:
| NFC North | NFC South | NFC West
Before we dive into the NFC North, 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, if you like an over that's reasonably high, don't bet it now, because injuries are random. Four, I'm picking these as of March 30, so I'll lean more unders based on injuries.
Let's get to it.
Over 9.5 (-130) / Under 9.5 (+110)
Man it is not going to feel good going against the Lions this season. They're an incredibly fun team and the entire world is going to be betting on them and rooting for them. Detroit finished second in the division last year and just barely missed the playoffs. PFR has preseason win totals for NFL teams dating to 1989 and this is the highest the Lions have ever been. Only 2012 and 1992 featured win totals of an even nine games. A 17-game schedule helps Detroit here, but certainly this roster and this division inspire a lot of hope for the immediate and long-term future. Jared Goff is playing great football and gives Detroit a legitimate reason to punt on drafting a QB right now. Amon-Ra St. Brown is a true No. 1 wideout and a budding superstar. The offensive line can easily make the claim it's a top-five line in the NFL. The defense is littered with players on the front who are a problem (Aidan Hutchinson, Alim McNeill, etc.). They just added the hyper-underrated Chauncey Gardner-Johnson on the back end. HAVING SAID ALL THAT ... the Lions are the NFC's version of the Jaguars and the hype might just be too much. Winning 10 games is hard, even in a weak division and conference, so I'm fading for today. That doesn't mean I'm out on Detroit, just that I'm not taking the over 9.5 wins in April for a team that's won more than nine games twice since 1995.
Pick: Lions UNDER 9.5 (+110)
Over 8.5 (-125) / Under 8.5 (+105)
The Vikings are giving me trouble this offseason. Minnesota profiles massively as a team likely to take a big step in the wrong direction based solely on the analytics. Despite winning 13 games, the Vikings had a -3 point differential. Minnesota profiled as a 8.4-win team, according to their point differential and the Pythagorean theorem. The Vikings went 11-0 (!!!!) in one-score games until their luck ran out in the postseason and they fell by seven points to the Giants. It's unsustainable, even if it's not an indictment of anyone involved in the Vikings organization. Justin Jefferson is a full-blown superstar at this point. Kirk Cousins is long in the tooth but remains very much a solid franchise passer. Dalvin Cook is still electric, even if his future is a bit up in the air. The offensive line is sufficient. Minnesota replaced Ed Donatell with Brian Flores at defensive coordinator (a massive upgrade) and added some nice under-the-radar pieces (Marcus Davenport, Byron Murphy, Dean Lowry) in free agency. The defense won't mystically transform into an upper-echelon unit but should be markedly improved by default. All of that makes me inclined to believe the Vikings can hold off taking a big enough dropback to still hit this over and win nine games.
Pick: Vikings OVER 8.5 wins (-125)
Over 7.5 (+110) / Under 7.5 (-130)
I need two questions answered to tell you which way this season goes for Green Bay. 1) Is Aaron Rodgers actually getting traded?; and 2) Is Jordan Love actually good? The second "actually" might not have been necessary -- we don't know if Love is good enough to warrant "actually" good. Is he even good? Presumably we'll find out soon: the Jets maintain publicly Rodgers will be on their roster soon enough but the latest rumors don't exactly paint a rosy picture for Jets fans and their impending anxiety. I liked Love at Utah State before his major drop-off his final year and thought he looked fairly impressive in the brief flashes we've seen him since being drafted. By all accounts he's improved dramatically over the last few years. It sounds a lot like the buzz around Rodgers circa 2008 if we're being honest. And while Rodgers was very good for the Packers pretty early, they still won just six games his first year starting. I'm inclined to take the under on the Packers BUT at this low number, with Rodgers still technically on the roster, I think I would lean toward the plus-money value and the over here. I can't see this number moving much lower; it likely just keeps getting juiced to the under if anything. And if Love starts to flash this offseason, we'll be holding a decent price on Green Bay.
Pick: Packers OVER 7.5 (+110)
Over 7.5 (-110) / Under 7.5 (-120)
Well, well, well, if it isn't the 2023 Offseason CHAMPEENS. (Shout-out Dave Dameshek for that pronunciation of "champions.") The Bears woo'd and wow'd everyone with their big draft trade down to No. 9, landing several first- and second-round picks -- plus D.J. Moore! -- from Carolina. Then they spent big in free agency, boosting the offensive line and adding a some talented young linebacking talent, the former a must for Justin Fields' development and the latter key for a Matt Eberflus defense. We're still very much TBD on what the picks turn into and the haul won't be insane this year because they used their own second-round pick on Chase Claypool (here's hoping they tweet about him when the Steelers are on the clock with the 32nd pick of the draft). All in all it was a really strong offseason for GM Ryan Poles, but I don't think we're quite at the point of backing the Bears to be a .500 or better team (need 8-9 to hit this obviously), barring a massive leap from Fields. So I'll go under here pretty comfortably.
Pick: Bears UNDER 7.5 (-120)