Last week, when sports books online and in Vegas posted season win totals for NFL teams, it was like opening day for the pro football betting season.
Forget about Super Bowl futures coming out the day after the big game is played. Those are for ultra-fans looking to back their favorite teams. Those pokes don't know betting value and they don't care about betting value. Putting $50 on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win it all at 100-1 is no different than buying that retro pair of zebra-striped pants in orange, yellow and white.
But making season win total wagers requires more than a tricked-out van and season tickets. Season win totals are a man's game. Betting them requires confidence in a power rating that you've seasoned for years; it requires theories about how teams' turnover margins will regress to the mean. And these days, with places like Cantor Gaming listing point spreads for not only Week 1, but every game from Weeks 2-16, it requires knowing how to convert projected point spreads into win probability to a fraction of a win.
For example, the Eagles are favored by seven over the Browns in Week 1 and the price is minus-110. That equates to a 75 percent likelihood the Eagles will win. Convert that 75 percent to 0.75. Then do that for the other 15 games, add up all the numbers and you get a bettor's projected season win total on the Eagles. The fellas at Beyond the Bets did a nice post on this math, with help from the point spread to win probability converter from SBR.
When totals were posted last week there were some pickings that wiseguys ate up very quickly.
To read the rest of Chad's blog on the best and worst season win total bets, plus to get access to the rest of Insider's gambling content, subscribe to ESPN Insider.