Some of the sports books are starting to publish their over-under win totals for the upcoming season. When that happens, I like to plug those numbers in the schedule, giving an indication of which franchises might be helped along by easier schedules.
The over-under totals themselves are also interesting. This group comes from the William Hill website.
|OVER-UNDER PROJECTIONS FROM WILLIAM HILL|
On the over-under totals, I would say the Texans look like the team that’s most out of whack. I don’t think Deshaun Watson is playing this year. If he plays, it would be showing up in November or December for a dumpster-fire team with extensive problems on both sides of the ball. So I think 5-12 for that franchise looks high.
I don’t think the Steelers are going 9-8. I will also go the under for them. And I suppose I would say the Lions are high at 5-12. I will also go under for them. The Cowboys and Saints look a little high. Overall, though, the numbers look pretty good.
(Note, by the way, that the numbers in general don’t square up. There are seven more wins than losses. So that will show up in the strength of schedule, with everyone appearing to play harder schedules. But I’m not going to try to doctor them up by lowering some of the teams. I’m just going to stick to the facts as they’ve been presented to me.)
If we take these numbers and inject them into the 2021, it tells us that the 49ers should play the league’s easiest schedule. That’s notable in that using the actual win-loss numbers from 2020, San Francisco (with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who’s pictured) originally projected to play a more middle-of-the-pack schedule (12th).
Most of the teams that are supposed to play easy schedules (using 2020 data) also show up with easy schedules here. I’ve got the top 25 percent of teams (8 of the 32) in bold. The one big downward mover in that group are the Giants, who decline from 8th down to below-average in schedule difficulty.
For the eight teams with the hardest schedules, I’ve got them flagged with black dots. The bottom five spots here are occupied by teams that also rank near the bottom using real-life data.
The Packers are the one team from the bottom group that moves up from having a hard schedule to more of a middle-of-the-pack schedule. (And Green Bay would look a little better if that Detroit projection was more pessimistic.)
|STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE USING OVER-UNDER WIN TOTALS|
|• Green Bay||143||139||7||.539||147-124-1|
|• Las Vegas||149||135||5||.557||142-128-2|