NFC Win Total Bets12 Weeks of 2019 NFL Futures Predictions
It's 10 weeks and counting until that first preseason game of the 2019 NFL season kicks off and after the first two weeks looked at overs and unders in the AFC win total prop, it's on to the NFC teams this week. It will begin with the plays on 'over' their respective win totals, but unlike the AFC pieces, there will be two teams that grace this page today, as there are a few more numbers lined out there that appear to be a bit softer.
And like last season, the NFC is probably going to be the deeper conference from top to bottom, but also the more wide open one. So hopefully we find these two teams competing for at least a division crown in 2019, as there are a lot reasons to be high on the prospects for these squads this season.
NFL Season Win Total #3:
Chicago Bears Over 9.5 wins (+105)
Chicago ran away with the NFC North last year with their 12-4 SU record that wasn't really expected at all. Considering their Week 1 game at Green Bay saw them catching 6.5 points, and their Week 15 game hosting the Packers saw them laying 5.5 points, those two spreads alone speak too the great season (and down year for Green Bay) that the Bears had. But a 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS record in division games was tremendous for this team, while they also used that great defense of theirs to help capitalize on a relatively soft non-division slate against the AFC East, NFC West, and games vs the Giants and Buccaneers.
This year things will be tougher for Chicago as they are now the 'hunted' as opposed to the 'hunter' and schedule-wise things are tougher as well with a 1st place slate and the AFC West (KC, LAC, OAK, DEN) on tap. For that reason alone it's commonplace to expect the Bears to take a step back this year, but I'm not sure that will completely be the case.
QB Mitch Trubisky will be entering his second year in Matt Nagy's scheme, and that's never a bad thing. Last year it was more about the Bears relying on their defense and that Top 3 turnover margin (+12) they had to control games and not overextend Trubisky in what he was asked to do, but they will be able to rely on what the QB brings to the table more this year. Obviously having the success they did in this system helps the QB's growth, but the Bears moved up to #2 in the 2017 draft to take this guy for a reason, and that raw talent they saw from him after starting just one year at UNC, has now been cultivated through two full professional seasons. Practicing against that vaunted Bears defense each and every day doesn't exactly hurt his development either.
Speaking of that Bears defense, chances are they won't be as dominant in the turnover battle this year, but they are still one of the better units in all of the NFL from top to bottom. On paper, there are really no weaknesses on that Bears defense from front to back, led by the likes of Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith in the LB core. But adding Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the offseason only tightens up the secondary to where it's arguably the best unit in the NFL, as even with the tougher schedule they've got, it's still going to be quite the task to score on this team.
The rest of the NFC North should be improved but there are still plenty of question marks in Green Bay, Minnesota and Detroit, especially defensively, and while the Bears aren't likely to sweep the division ATS-wise again, if those three rivals allow Chicago's offense to put up 25.5 points/game on them like they did a year ago, a winning record in NFC North play will be the end result for Chicago again. The Bears defense is likely going to come in allowing around 20 points/game again – they led the league last year at 17.6/game – and all it takes is some simple math skills there to know that more wins for Chicago will be coming in 2019.
And yes, slowing down the likes of the Rams, Saints, Chargers, and Chiefs attack won't be easy if those offenses are anything like they were a year ago, but three of those four games are at home for Chicago, and their trip to LA will aim to bring similar results to the 15-6 home win Chicago had over the NFC's Super Bowl representative last year. It's definitely not unreasonable to suggest that a 3-1 run during that four-game stretch is very possible, and from there there are quite a few “gimme” games left for the Bears with teams like the Giants, Redskins, Broncos and Raiders left on the slate.
So while it is reasonable to suggest the Bears do regress a bit this year, 10 wins at plus money is still two fewer then they achieved in 2018. The NFC North division as a whole gets talked up more then it should with Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, and Matthew Stafford all on the wrong side of 30, and outside of Minnesota's defense finding their 2017 form again, all three of those teams are going to give up too many points in general to legitimately give the Bears a run at their division crown.
NFL Season Win Total #4:
San Francisco 49ers Over 8 wins (-120)
Of the two plays, this is probably the one that I prefer if I was forced to only have one play, as as long as the 49ers stay healthy this year – especially with Jimmy Garoppolo – they've got a chance to jump all the way to the top of the heap in the NFC West like the Bears did in the North last season.
San Francisco paid a big price to bring in Garoppolo as their franchise guy under center and they are hoping that 2019 is the first season they get to use him for the full slate. They've got plenty of weapons around him to use on the ground and through the air, but they've been quietly building a strong defensive unit from front to back – similar to what Chicago did prior to last year – and will be making some noise in a NFC West that many assume will be a two-horse race between LA and Seattle again.
Obviously with a young team like the 49ers, there might be a few “growing pains” defeats where they aren't able to close the deal late, and the final five weeks of their schedule (at Baltimore, at New Orleans, vs Atlanta, vs LAR, @ Seattle) is no walk in the park, but who knows what kind of groove/momentum this team has going into that stretch given how soft the first 11 weeks of their season project out to be.
San Fran does have to start the year out on the road, but games against the Buccaneers and Bengals shouldn't pose too much of an issue with both teams bordering on being really bad this year. From there, there are two games against Arizona, home games against a strong regression candidate in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Carolina, and Seattle, with other road trips sending them to LA and Washington. That could easily be a 6-4, 7-3 type start for the 49ers and then it's just got to be holding on down the stretch as they play meaningful games in terms of the playoffs in late November and December.
Garoppolo could end up looking a bit like the 2018 version of Mitch Trubisky in the sense that he'll be able to ride a strong defense to make his life easier (with short fields, quick changes etc) and just manage this team to victories. We do know that Garoppolo can go out there and sling it when need be, and I do believe that the 2019 San Francisco 49ers will have a striking resemblance from top to bottom to the 2018 Chicago Bears.
Getting to 12 wins may be a bit of a stretch, but 2019 should bring San Francisco their first winning season since the “glory years” this team had at the beginning of this decade when Jim Harbaugh turned this team around.
Win Total Predictions
1) Baltimore Ravens
2) Indianapolis Colts