6 charts revealing must-have NFL preseason odds stats


6 charts revealing must-have NFL preseason odds stats

Floodlights shine on the 50 meter line of a football stadium

The NFL preseason is full of hope. Thanks to the league’s longstanding push for parity, fans of almost any team can start the year with playoff expectations and Super Bowl dreams. Last season was particularly good for parity, as 28 of the NFL’s 32 teams were mathematically alive for the playoffs with four weeks remaining in the regular season.

A high level of parity, however, does not prevent punters from setting up pre-season betting lines. Players can deposit money on Super Bowl pre-season odds or try betting on over/under wins and losses. And, it turns out, the pre-season betting picture can often be a harbinger of things to come.

OddsSeeker analyzed historical NFL preseason odds using data from Pro Football Reference. Pro Football Reference has preseason Super Bowl odds dating back to 1977 and preseason win totals dating back to 1989. Seasons prior to those years were not included in this analysis.

So what does the historical data say about the Buffalo Bills or the Tampa Buccaneers in the 2022 season, early favorites to win the next Super Bowl? Keep reading to dive into the history of Super Bowl favorites, long shots and over/under wins/losses and get an idea of ​​what the data could mean for this season and seasons to come.


FanDuel lines put Bills and Buccaneers at max wins

FanDuel lines put Bills and Buccaneers at max wins

When looking at FanDuel’s total over/under wins for the upcoming 2022 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills are the best with lines of 11.5. The Los Angeles Rams, defending Super Bowl champions, are part of a five-team group with a plus/minus of 10.5 wins. Last season’s AFC champions, the Cincinnati Bengals, are scored with a 9.5 over/under.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans are both ranked worst with 4.5 wins each. The Texans last broke the four-game win mark in 2019 while the Falcons have won seven games in three of the last four seasons.


Super Bowl champions generally have good preseason odds

Column chart of preseason odds for Super Bowl champions from 1977 to present.

Typically, the eventual Super Bowl champion enters the season with favorable odds. Thirty-three of the 45 champions since 1977 had preseason odds of 15-1 or better and over the past 10 seasons seven had odds of 10-1 or better. There are, however, a few exceptions.

Most notably, the 1999 St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl despite going 150-1 preseason. “The Greatest Show on Turf” was led by then-little-known quarterback Kurt Warner, running back Marshall Faulk and an electrifying receiving corps led by Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. With a 4-12 record the previous season and no proven quarterback at the helm, it’s no surprise that bettors and bettors pinned little hope on the Rams in 1999.

Other longer-term champions include the New England Patriots first-team Super Bowl in 2001 and the Oakland Raiders in 1981. More recently, the Philadelphia Eagles received a 40-1 odds in 2017 before ultimately winning the title.


Only one team with a preseason Super Bowl rating of 500-1 or worse has even finished the season with a winning record

Table highlighting pre-season Super Bowl longshots with best end-of-season win-loss records.

With most Super Bowl champions starting the season with good odds, it makes sense that the flip side of the coin is true: teams with poor preseason Super Bowl odds often have bad seasons. According to the data, this is usually the case.

Of the 21 teams with a preseason rating of 500-1 or worse since 1977, only one — the 1978 Seattle Seahawks — finished with a winning record. This season also happens to be the first winning season for the Seahawks, a franchise that was only three years old at the time.

Among recent teams with low odds, the 2017 New York Jets finished 5-11, after going 1000-1 preseason odds. The 2019 Miami Dolphins also finished 5-11, but at 500-1 odds. In 2020, the Jacksonville Jaguars set the bar low for all low-odds teams by going 1-15 after receiving odds of 500-1.


Teams spend their pre-season win-loss more/less than 45% of the time

Preseason win-loss success rate over/under in the NFL.

When looking at pre-season over/unders for win totals, a few trends emerge. First, teams listed with an over/under 10 wins only cross the threshold 35.3% of the time, well below the overall average of 45.4%. It is possible that bettors will default to a 10 over/under win for teams generally perceived as “decent”.

Next, teams with six and five over/under wins have the best success passing 52% and 51.3% overshoot rates, respectively. As such, these teams are probably the most undervalued by punters and punters during pre-season.

Finally, it’s not a huge sample size, but the three teams listed with three wins over/under in the preseason exceeded that threshold. The three teams: the 2017 Jets and the 1995 expansion franchises of Carolina and Jacksonville.


Pittsburgh did best against preseason win-loss over/under

NFL teams with the most over/under wins since 1989.

For franchises with the most win-loss success in the preseason, no one rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers. With over 33 wins over/under preseason since 1989, the franchise is almost an entire season better than runner-up Green Bay.

Pittsburgh has also beaten its preseason win-loss over/under 22 times in the 34 seasons for which Pro Football Reference has preseason odds data.

The Steelers also (jointly) hold the record for most games in a single season over/under. In 2004, Pittsburgh’s 15-1 team beat the over/under awarded win-loss by 7.5 games. Two other teams – the aforementioned 2004 San Diego Chargers and 1999 Rams – also beat their over/unders by 7.5 games.


Cleveland struggled the most in preseason win-loss over/under

Cleveland struggled the most in preseason win-loss over/under

The least successful franchise against preseason win-loss is Pittsburgh’s AFC North and former AFC Central Division rival Cleveland. The Cleveland Browns have beaten their preseason more or less nine times in 31 playing seasons since 1989 – no other team in the league has posted such a low mark.

The worst season against a preseason win-loss total over/under was achieved by the Houston Texans in 2013. This Texas team notably started the year with a pair of wins before dropping 14 straight games to close the season, ultimately finishing 2-14 and eight shy of their 10-over/under line. The high preseason outlook came after Houston had just won back-to-back AFC South titles and was coming off a franchise-best 12-4 season.

Ultimately, the pre-season over/under for wins appears largely conservative in its projections. Franchises that have had consistent success everywhere, like Pittsburgh, Green Bay and New England, have generally beaten their over/unders. Meanwhile, underperforming teams struggle to beat their over/under. It makes sense; Bettors are less inclined to set bold over/under wins/losses and instead middle lines that represent the inclinations of the average bettor.

This story originally appeared on OddsSeeker and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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