Chiefs, Buccaneers open with highest win totals

  • Joined ESPN in 2014
  • Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008

Ahead of the NFL’s first 17-game regular season, the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have opened with the highest win totals at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.

Oddsmakers for William Hill opened the Chiefs at 12, and the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers at 11.5. Kansas City won 14 games last season, while the Buccaneers won 11.

The Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers each opened win totals of 11, followed by the Buffalo Bills (10.5) and Los Angeles Rams (10.5).

Ten teams opened with double-digit win totals including three teams in the NFC West. The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers each opened at 10.

Sportsbooks post the win totals and offer bettors prices on betting over or under the number. The price to bet over 12 wins on the Chiefs, for example, is -130, meaning a bettor would have to risk $130 to win $100.

This year’s wins totals are out before the regular-season schedule has been announced and before the draft. The 17 regular-season opponents are known for each team, although dates of the games have not been released.

Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading for William Hill, told ESPN that the increase to 17 games did not affect his oddsmaking process and that he didn’t expect the NFL draft to cause significant changes to the opening win totals.

The NFL draft begins April 29.

Pullen said teams making quarterback changes are usually the most difficult to get a feel for the win totals. He pointed to the New Orleans Saints, who are attempting to replace Drew Brees with Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. The Saints opened at 9.5.

“Anytime a team loses a big-time quarterback, it’s always a little challenging,” Pullen said.

The Indianapolis Colts also are making a change at quarterback. The Colts traded for former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz to replace the retiring Philip Rivers.

“It’s a wash,” Pullen said of the change from Rivers to Wentz.

The Colts open at 10, and the Eagles at 7.

The Houston Texans and Detroit Lions opened with the lowest win totals at 5. The Jacksonville Jaguars, who own the first overall pick and are led by new coach Urban Meyer, opened at 6, along with the New York Jets.

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