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NFL Futures

   by Ben Burns - 06/19/2006

Every spring, sports books offer their customers the chance to wager on how many games each NFL team will win during the upcoming regular season. For bettors who don't mind tying up a portion of their bankroll, these type of 'futures' can often provide solid 'value.'
I've been fortunate to have done quite well with these types of wagers. Therefore, during the coming weeks, I'll offer some 'under' picks on teams that I feel will under-achieve and 'over' picks on teams that I feel will over-achieve. This week, I've decided to 'kick things off' by examining how recent teams have performed, after losing in the Super Bowl the previous season.
The Philadelphia Eagles had high hopes entering last year. They were coming off a 12-4 season, in which they had finally won the NFC Championship, and had narrowly lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Oddsmakers set their projected number of regular season wins at 9 1/2 with the 'over' listed at minus 140. The season began with a Monday Night rematch against the Falcons, the team that the Eagles defeated in the previous NFC Championship game. McNabb and co. fell behind 14-0 and eventually lost by a score of 14-10.
The Eagles rebounded to win their next three games and appeared to again be one of the top teams in the conference. However, that's when their problems began. Philadelphia lost five of its next six games and finished with a disappointing 6-10 record, last in the NFC East.
After going 11-5 and coming within a heart beat of winning the Super Bowl, the Carolina Panthers entered the 2004 season with high expectations. Oddsmakers recognized that the Panthers had a difficult schedule and set their projected number of regular season victories at nine, with the 'under' listed at minus 150.
Carolina was 'upset' by Green Bay in Week 1 and finished with a disappointing 7-9 record.
Backed by the top passing attack in the league, the Raiders finished the 2003 season with an 11-5 record and cruised through the AFC playoffs. However, they were crushed 48-21 by the Bucs in the 'Big Game' and seemingly still haven't recovered. Oakland was favored to win the AFC West and projected to win 9 1/2 games ('over' minus 140) in 2004. However, Al Davis' team stumbled to a horrible 4-12 record.
The 2001 St. Louis Rams finished with a 14-2 regular season record, the best mark in the league. After advancing to the Super Bowl, they were expected to handle New England with ease. As we know, that didn't happen.
The 'greatest show on turf' managed only 17 points and the Patriots 'dynasty' was born. Still devastated from their narrow upset loss, the Rams could only manage a 7-9 record in 2002.
Last season, it was the Seattle Seahawks which came up short in the Super Bowl. Playing in the relatively weak NFC West, Seattle is projected to win 10 1/2 games.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Seahawks will experience a 'Super Bowl hangover,' like the previous runners-up have done before them.
A complete list of the projected number of regular season wins appears below.
Arizona 8under -125
Atlanta 8 1/2 under -120
Buffalo 6 1/2 under -135
Carolina 10 -110
Chicago 9 1/2 over -115
Cleveland 6 1/2 over -160
Dallas 9 1/2 -110
Denver 10 over -120
Detroit 6 1/2 over -150
Green Bay 6 1/2 under -125
Houston 5 1/2 'over' -140
Indianapolis 11 1/2 -110
Jacksonville 9 over -120
Kansas City 9 over -140
Miami 9 over -130
Minnesota 8 over -120
New England 10 1/2 under -150
New Orleans 6 1/2 over -125
NY Giants 9 under -125
NY Jets 6 over -120
Oakland 6 1/2 under -135
Philadelphia 8 1/2 over -130
Pittsburgh : Off board due to Roethlisberger motorcycle accident
San Diego 8 1/2 -110
San Francisco 5 under -115
Seattle 10 1/2 under -140
St. Louis 7 under -115
Tampa Bay 8 1/2 under -145
Tennessee 5 over -120
Washington 9 over -135

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