1: New York Giants – The Giants had the sixth ranked scoring offense in the game this past season, but the fact of the matter is that the oddsmakers consistently gave them numbers to beat that were just flat out too high. This year, with that 11-5 record for ‘under’ bettors lurking from 2012, there is a good chance that the numbers come down just a bit, and when they do, that might make this a sneakily good ‘over’ team. Remember that the combination of QB Eli Manning, WR Hakeem Nicks, and WR Victor Cruz is one of the deadliest in football, and that isn’t going to change one bit this coming season.
2: Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins knew that they were going to have problems on offense last season, but even they probably didn’t know just how good their defense was going to be. In spite of the fact that the ‘O’ only scored one more touchdown than the lowly Jets scored last season, the defense only gave up 19.8 points per game. Six teams scored 14 points or fewer against the Dolphins last season, including both the Bills and the Jaguars at the end of the campaign. Though Mike Walker was added, the truth of the matter is that the team has done more on defense than it has on offense, and this might be another 11-5 type of season for ‘under’ bettors.
3: Atlanta Falcons – One look at the raw stats, and you’d think that the Falcons were a good ‘over’ team last season, not a good ‘under’ team. The team ranked 24th in total defense and eighth in total offense. However, when push came to shove, Atlanta only allowed 18.7 points per game, good for fifth in football. The Falcons though, might have shown their true colors when they faced a pair of great teams in the playoffs, playing a pair of ‘over’ contests against the Seahawks and 49ers. Atlanta was an 11-5 ‘under’ team a campaign ago, though when you figure in the two playoff games, the numbers were just 11-7.
4: Cleveland Browns – Here’s quite the interesting team to study. The Browns only went 5-11 last season, but they went 10-6 for ‘under’ bettors thanks to a defense that performed a lot better than 23.0 points per game allowed suggests. Now, add in the fact that Phil Taylor should be healthy for the year and Joe Haden missed five games last year, then calculate in the newcomers, Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo, and you’ve got a defense that really could turn out to be formidable in a division in which defense always seems to be the ruling factor.
5: Cincinnati Bengals – We’ll stay in the AFC North for the Bengals, who put together a great defense last year. This is a ‘D’ that should only be getting better with the addition of James Harrison and so many others, too. Cincinnati allowed 24 fewer points than the Super Bowl champion Ravens, and the club continues to put together outstanding efforts to get to the second season. This could be a Top 10 defense in every face of the game this year, and if that turns out to be the case, this is going to be another great ‘under’ team as it was last year when the club went 10-6 for ‘under’ bettors.
6: Oakland Raiders – The Raiders just have no offense whatsoever, and that isn’t going to change whatsoever this year. Matt Flynn is the new quarterback for this team, and that doesn’t mean that things are going to be any better now than Carson Palmer is gone. The offense averaged just 18.1 points per game this past year, and that just isn’t going to get any better. If Oakland ended up going 10-6 for ‘under’ bettors last season with a defense that ranked 28th in scoring, we can only imagine that it is going to be better for ‘under’ players this year virtually regardless of what happens with the defense.
7: Indianapolis Colts – When you think of the success that the Colts had last season, the name Andrew Luck comes to mind. Now, it’s true that the 357 points that Indianapolis scored last season was a whole heck of a lot better than what a lot of people expected. However, by the end of the season, everyone knew what to expect from Luck, and the ‘totals’ got awfully high as a result. The last four and nine of the last 12 games for the Colts failed to reach the ‘total’ as a result in spite of the fact that the average game in those 12 outings reached a relatively healthy 44.3 points per game. The Colts went 11-6 last season for ‘under’ players, including an ‘under’ game in the first round of the playoffs against the Ravens.
8: Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs went 2-14 last year, and they had the biggest wreck of an offense which we have seen in quite some time in this league. The team only averaged 13.2 points per game, and the offense as a whole only scored 17 touchdowns in 16 games. Granted, things will be better this year with Alex Smith under center and with Andy Reid calling the shots, and that has to help just a bit. It was just impossible to line a ‘total’ last year in Chiefs games, as even numbers in the low-30s weren’t low enough for this horrifying offense at times. Kansas City was a 9-6-1 ‘under’ team last year. This could be a much different story this year.
9: New York Jets – Two words: Butt. Fumble. The Jets did manage to score 281 points last season, which was actually 10 touchdowns better than what the Chiefs scored. The problem actually wasn’t the New York offense, though. The defense, especially with Darrelle Revis on the sidelines hurting, was one of the worst in the AFC as well, and we’re amazed that Head Coach Rex Ryan lived to tell about it. Still, ‘under’ bettors went 9-7 last season, which wasn’t as strong as it should have been had the defense lived up to its potential. This will remain a low scoring team for as long as Ryan is in charge, and especially for as long as Mark Sanchez is the quarterback.
10: Minnesota Vikings – When you’ve got a running back that rumbles for 2,097 yards, you’ve got an offense that is eating up a lot of time. Christian Ponder flat out stunk though, and that cost this offense a heck of a lot of points that were probably left on the board. The offense is losing its second best weapon, Percy Harvin, who is off to Seattle. The defense did well all season long, allowing 21.8 points per game, and the end result was a 9-7 record for ‘under’ bettors in the regular season. With Joe Webb calling the shots in the playoffs, the postseason game against the Packers was an easy ‘under’ clash as well.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.