1: New England Patriots – The Pats went 11-5 last year for ‘over’ bettors, and for good reason. Their offense put up gobs of points last season as always, ranking No. 1 in the league at 427.9 yards and 34.8 points per game. Of course, this season, things might be a little bit different. New England isn’t going to have its second leading rusher (Danny Woodhead) or four of its top five receivers (Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez, and Woodhead). On top of that, Rob Gronkowski is going to surely miss at least a few games this year after a bunch of offseason surgeries, and that could prove to be problematic as well. The defense too, should be a lot better, and it shouldn’t allow anywhere near the 373.2 yards per game that were conceded in 2012.
2: Denver Broncos – Here was another team that was able to sling the ball all over the field last season. Part of the reason the Broncos were big time ‘over’ teams last year was because Peyton Manning was a lot healthier and a lot more efficient than the oddsmakers figured that he would be. This season, there will be no mistake, but Denver is going to have a lot better offense this season in all likelihood. Remember that Wes Welker is going to be a part of this offense this year, and he is immediately going to be the best slot receiver in the game. It will be interesting to see if Welker, Demaryius Thomas, and Eric Decker can all manage to be 1,000-yard receivers this year. If they are, there will be a heck of a lot more points on the board than we saw last year. Last season’s 10-5-1 ‘over’ mark was no mistake.
3: Detroit Lions – Each and every year, the story is the same for the Lions. They throw the ball all over the field, and they can’t figure out how to stop anyone. Last year was no exception. Matthew Stafford threw the ball 727 times last season, and he hooked up with Calvin Johnson for an NFL-record 1,964 yards on 122 completions. Imagine if the Megatron had more than five touchdowns? As it was, Detroit had an offense that averaged 23.2 points per game, but that defense… ugh… 27.3 points per game. The end result was a 10-5-1 record for ‘over’ bettors, and this year should be much of the same in spite of the fact that the oddsmakers always have the Lions as one of the highest ‘total’ teams in football.
4: New Orleans Saints – If you want to know why the sportsbooks complained so much last year about getting killed, here’s another reason. If you had to pick the four most public ‘over’ teams in the NFL, New England, Denver, Detroit, and New Orleans were probably those teams. The Saints posted 10 ‘overs’ last season as well, and it’s hard to argue that that won’t be the case again this year. Drew Brees is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he had yet another 5,000+ yard campaign with 43 TDs last year. What’s going to make this team more of an ‘under’ team though, is if the defense improves. It can’t get much worse, as New Orleans ranked dead last in total defense at 440.1 yards per game, and it had the worst rush defense in the league at 147.6 yards per game allowed as well. Like we said, it can’t get much worse, but we have a feeling that it isn’t going to get that much better either.
5: San Diego Chargers – Finally, we have a bit of a surprise. The Chargers only ranked 20th in the league in point production offensively at 21.9 points per game, and they were 16th in total defense at 21.9 points per game allowed. That being said, San Diego is still a bit of a trite ‘over’ team by nature, thus making it a bit surprising that there were 10 ‘over’ games in 2012. With veteran QB Philip Rivers calling the shots and the rest of the offense revolving around new coach, Mike McCoy, there is a chance that this could be another good season for ‘over’ bettors this year for the Bolts after a 9-5-1 year in ’12.
6: San Francisco 49ers – It was only about a dozen games ago that the 49ers were known as a defensive team that put together enough offensively to win a heck of a lot of games. The holistic stats still say just that, as the team allowed just 17.1 points per game and only scored 24.8 points per game. However, QB Colin Kaepernick took over in Week 12, and from that point forward, the average San Francisco game saw 53.8 points per game including the playoffs. Of course, Kaepernick doesn’t play defense, thus he wasn’t responsible for the four games out of the last six in which opponents scored at least 31 points against these 49ers either. We have a feeling that this will be a year in which the ‘unders’ rule the day and things regulate themselves after a 9-6-1 ‘over’ campaign last year that included three straight ‘overs’ in the postseason.
7: Baltimore Ravens – The defending Super Bowl champs are always looked upon as a team that is going to play excellent defense but suspect offense, but last season, it almost felt like the roles were reversed. No, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and company don’t have the flash of the Patriots or the quick strike abilities of the Broncos, but they were able to beat both teams in the playoffs but scoring at least 28 in three of their four playoff games. Including the postseason, the Ravens scored an average of 26.1 points per game last season, and when you consider the fact that the defense allowed at least 31 points four times over the course of the last eight game of the season, that’s how you get an 11-9 record for ‘over’ bettors. Be careful with perception this year though, because with Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, and Paul Kruger all gone, the theory will be that this defense has lost a step, which should lead to the oddsmakers making some slightly higher ‘totals.’
8: Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles had a wickedly bad season last year with their defense, allowing 27.8 points per game. Just looking at their yardage totals though, should prove that this ‘D’ wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed, and a look at all of the turnovers that the offense gave up is proof of that. After a 9-7 ‘over’ season, Philly has a new philosophy with Head Coach Chip Kelly, and inevitably, it is going to be one of the fastest playing teams in the league. The question is whether the oddsmakers will have already adjusted, and perhaps overcompensated by the time the Eagles ever take the field. This is the one team that we will probably be able to pin in the preseason as an ‘over’ or an ‘under’ team.
9: Chicago Bears – The Bears went 9-7 last season for ‘over’ bettors, and they are clearly going to have a shot to be a relatively high scoring team this season, too. Chicago has a new coach in QB guru Marc Trestman, and that should help out the much beleaguered Jay Cutler. Of course, having a second season with Brandon Marshall will help out, too. The issue is going to be whether the defense is going to be able to keep up or not. Brian Urlacher is retired now, but the team has been preparing for this departure for years. If the defense can’t keep up and put up similar numbers to have it did last year, there could be a ton of ‘overs’ coming again this season in the Windy City.
10: Tennessee Titans – You don’t think of the Titans as one of the best ‘over’ teams in the league, but last season, they did go 9-7 last year thanks to an offense that did a lot better than most would have thought. We all knew that this defense was as bad as any in the league, but the offense threw for over 3,500 yards and had a 1,200+ yard rusher last season in Chris Johnson. The wide receivers have to be healthier than they were last year, and that’s going to help this offense, too. It would also help if Jake Locker could ultimately stay healthy, too. The Titans could be a sneaky ‘over’ team this season as they were last year.
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.