Forecasts in sports are always a dicey proposition. No matter what a team’s prospects look like on paper, the outcomes are decided by human beings and the vagaries of chance. So with crystal-clear hindsight, BetTexas.com took a look at which NFL teams overperformed relative to their preseason win total lines, and which ones underperformed.
As it turns out, the two teams that would draw most interest in Texas sports betting are right at the top among teams that outdid their preseason projections. Here are the results:
NFL Performance vs. Preseason O/U Wins
Houston Texans Deliver Surprise Season
Houston was one of the two most pronounced overachievers. Oddsmakers gave the team a preseason prediction of just 6.5 regular-season wins, and astronomical +20000 odds of winning the Super Bowl. But the Texans, with a rookie head coach (DeMeco Ryans) and a rookie quarterback (C.J. Stroud) defied the oddsmakers by going 10-7.
Houston won the AFC South, beat Cleveland last weekend in the Wild Card round of the playoffs and now are set to face the Ravens, the AFC’s top seed, in Saturday’s Division Round game in Baltimore. Check out our Houston Texans Super Bowl odds going into this weekend at BetTexas.com.
The Los Angeles Rams also hit 3.5 over their preseason total – like Houston, the Rams were projected at 6.5 wins but also went 10-7 to secure a playoff bid.
Cowboys Also Had Strong Regular Season
In the strictest terms, the Dallas Cowboys also outperformed their preseason forecast of 9.5 wins with a 12-5 record. They were 2.5 games beyond their over/under win total projection, tied with four other teams for the second-most games over behind Houston. Coach Mike McCarthy’s team won the NFC East but that gives little satisfaction to Cowboys fans after a horrid Wild Card playoff loss to the Packers over the weekend. Despite that, the Cowboys would have rewarded backers at Texas sportsbook apps handsomely this season if the Lone Star State had legal, regulated operators.
A few other playoff teams also performed well beyond expectations. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were given a preseason win total projection of 6.5 wins and odds of winning the Super Bowl of +10000. The Bucs scrapped their way to a 9-8 record, good enough to win the weak NFC South, and are headed into the Divisional Round against Detroit. Baltimore (10.5, 13-4) and Indianapolis (6.5, 9-8) also were 2.5 wins better than their over/under total.
Teams Under NFL Betting Totals The Most
On the flip side of preseason expectations and odds are the Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Chargers, Washington Commanders, New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets. Not so coincidentally, four of those six teams were or are in the market for new head coaches.
The biggest flop was Carolina, which had a preseason win prediction of 7.5 wins but were a dismal 2-15, a full 5.5 wins under their projection. The Chargers had high expectations with a preseason win total of 9.5 wins but fell far short at 5-12 and head coach Brandon Staley suffered an in-season firing.
New England’s preseason forecast was a modest 7.5 wins but the Pats’ even more modest 4-13 record led to the end of the Bill Belichick era in New England. The Commanders were given a preseason prediction of 6.5 wins, but their 4-13 campaign led to the firing of head coach Ron Rivera.
Two other teams were also 2.5 games under their projection, the Bengals and Jets.
Not to be lost in the examination of preseason win totals is that even teams who met those predictions on paper can still generate great disappointment, not just among their bettors. The Philadelphia Eagles’ preseason win total was 11.5 and the Birds just barely were under at 11-6. But after a 10-1 start they seemed sure to cash for those who backed the over on them. Worse yet, their disgusted fans would certainly insist that the team failed to meet anyone’s expectations after being embarrassed by Tampa Bay in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs on Monday night.
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