Sean Pendergast

Four Best Bets on NFL Season Win Totals (Plus Houston Texans Prediction!)

Football bettors can wager on any of the Houston Texans' 2023 games.
Photo by Jack Gorman
Football bettors can wager on any of the Houston Texans' 2023 games.
This is my annual post where I give you, the loyal reader, a handful of (hopefully) successful season win total bets for the National Football League, which means this is where I give you the annual macro advice on why, if you've decided to dip your toe into the gambling waters for the first time this season, season win totals might be a good gateway for what will, no doubt, become a much bigger gambling problem for you down the road.

Betting individual games every weekend (usually several of them, if we're being honest) is hectic, time consuming, and stressful. Don't get me wrong, it's fun as hell! However, it's like day trading - it never ends, and it can eat you up inside. Season win total bets are more like mutual funds, where a few bad days don't kill you, and you hang in for the long term. In short, less day to day stress.

Choose wisely, as to what approach is best for you. Being the degenerate that I am, I choose BOTH, the long term wager AND the short term wagers. For now, here are four season win total bets I'm already invested in, along with my prediction for the Houston Texans this season. Here we go:

Indianapolis Colts UNDER 6.5 +100
You saw the post earlier this week, where I outlined the travails of rookie quarterbacks selected in the top five picks of the NFL Draft. Anthony Richardson, the Colts' athletic freak of a quarterback, is a rookie, selected fourth overall. On top of that, unlike his fellow highly drafted quarterbacks, Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, Richardson is far from a finished product. He has 13 career college starts under his belt, and is as raw as he is athletic. I think the combination of Richardson's drastic inexperience and the uncertainty and acrimony swirling around running back Jonathan Taylor, who being the season on the PUP list while demanding a trade, means that this is another four win season for the Colts.

Buffalo Bills UNDER 11 -110
When you have a high level quarterback on a rookie con there is a window from about their second year through their fifth year where you can still be a team that splurges on nice things. However, eventually, that quarterback's second contract kicks in, these days to the tune of $5 million to $50 million per year, and it gets much harder to fill holes on the team. To stay at a Super Bowl contender level with an expensive QB, you either needs the QB to be a complete wizard or hit on your other big decisions (high draft picks, expensive free agents). (Or if your Kansas City, you do both). Despite being the class of the AFC East, the Bills displayed some dents in the armor last season (running game), as did Josh Allen individually (turnovers!), and now the division has Aaron Rodgers in it. To lose this bet, the Bills would have to go 12-5, and I don't see that happening.

Los Angeles Rams UNDER 6.5 -110
The Rams decided to go all-in on the 2021 season, trading multiply high draft picks for Matthew Stafford, Jalen Ramsey, and Von Miller. "F THEM PICKS," said their GM, Les Snead, and good for them, it worked out. They won a Super Bowl. But when you clog your salary cap with bloated deals for older players, and you gut multiple first and second rounds fo future drafts, all in the name of the present, the piper comes calling for payment in the future. It started last season with a 5-12 record, granted in a year where Stafford was banged up, but I don't think it gets better this season. Head coach Sean McVay literally almost had a nervous breakdown last season because of all the losing. Well, he better have the meds on the night table, because there will be more losing this season. Much more.

New Orleans Saints OVER 9.5 +110
I don't like making OVER bets, because the potential for injury adds another way your bet can get a hand grenade thrown onto it (in addition to just general underperformance). However, this wager on the Saints OVER is just too good to pass up. Take a look at the roster of opposing quarterbacks the Saints face in 2023:
When the Saints signed Derek Carr this offseason, I thought he would be the swing vote acquisition in securing the NFC South, but when you look at this schedule, I think the Saints have a legit shot at 11 or 12 wins. You could argue Carr is the better quarterback in all 17 Saints games this season, with Trevor Lawrence being the most notable, likely heated, debate. That's powerful, in a QB-driven league.

BONUS: Houston Texans OVER 6 -115
Remember a few paragraphs ago, when I pointed out my previous article this week about rookie quarterbacks picked in the top five, and I used that as my rejasonginto take the UNDER on the Colts. Yeah, well, I'm about to be a major hypocrite here. I am taking the Texans to go 7-10 this season, and indeed, they also have a rookie QB picked in the top five. To be clear, I don't feel good enough about this selection to bet on it, but I do think that C.J. Stroud comes into the league a little more advanced (a lot more, actually) than Richardson. Also, I trust DeMeco Ryans as a first year head coach mroe than i trust Indy's Shane Steichen. Under Ryans, I think the Texans take a big step forward defensively. Besides, who wants to play the UNDER and root for their hometown team to lose all season?

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