Will the Patriots Go Undefeated This Season? 10 NFL Prop Bets to Consider
Prop bets truly burst into the mainstream during Super Bowl XX, when many wagered on whether Chicago Bears defensive lineman William “Refrigerator” Perry would score an offensive touchdown during the game. Perry did score a rushing touchdown in that game, against all odds, which helped prop bets become an essential part of the annual Super Bowl viewing experience.
Of course, props don’t solely exist in the Super Bowl anymore. Now, you can pretty much bet on anything NFL-related. BetOnline has a series of props posted in anticipation of the upcoming NFL regular season. You can bet on whether a team will go undefeated or winless. You can even wager on whether a QB will set a new passing yardage record if you so choose.
Let’s roll through these and make our picks, shall we?
Will There Be a Tie Game?
- Yes -350
- No +260
Back in the day, tie games in the NFL were far more common than they are today. From 1920 until 1973, the league did not have overtime rules. So, games that were tied at the end of four quarters just ended that way. However, the advent of overtime has greatly diminished the number of overtime results we see on an annual basis.
That said, it’s not like we never see them. Last season alone, there were two ties. On the flip side, they’re still rather uncommon. Before 2016, we had not seen two separate ties in the same season since 1997. Since the turn of the century, there have only been seven tie games. That’s far less than one tie per year.
So, it’s a little surprising to see the odds so heavily in favor of the notion that there will be a tie next season. -350 is a pretty confident number. So, there appears to be tremendous value on “no” at +260 considering how rare tie games in the NFL are these days. We’re confident that “no” will be the victorious bet here. The new overtime rules have made them more common over the last handful of years, but we’re shooting for value here.
Highest Single-Team Loss Total
- Over 13 ½ losses -195
- Under 13 ½ losses +160
Last season, the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns each lost 14 or more times. The year before that, no team lost more than 13 games. The year before that, two teams lost 14 games. The year before that, one team lost 14 games.
It feels pretty safe to suggest that there will be at least one team this season that loses at least 14 games. The Browns may be better than they were last season, but they still have a long way to go. Are they much better than the team that went 1-15 a season ago? Considering they play in the AFC North alongside the Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals, it’s pretty easy to foresee the Browns once again going winless inside their own division.
We also can’t ignore the 49ers. They mustered just two wins last season in the NFC West, and both of their wins came over their NFC West sisterwives down in Los Angeles. Colin Kaepernick won’t be there next season, and the Niners have overhauled their entire coaching staff and front office. The 49ers are the answer to the question “which team foolishly gave Brian Hoyer its starting job this offseason?” Starting Brian Hoyer is never a good sign. This team is going to be miserable yet again.
We also have the New York Jets, who seem to be deliberately tanking the upcoming season. They cut a slew of solid veterans this offseason, including Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Nick Mangold and David Harris. Their starting quarterback is probably going to be Josh McCown. If this Jets team wins more than two games this season, it’ll be quite the surprise, indeed.
So, we’re pretty confident that the team with the league’s worst record will lose at least 14 games next season. There isn’t much value, but we’re going with “yes” at -195 here.
Highest Single-Team Win Total
- Over 13 ½ wins -150
- Under 13 ½ wins +120
The Patriots (surprise, surprise) were the best regular season team in the NFL last season, posting a 14-2 record. They were the only team to win that many games during the regular season. The Carolina Panthers rolled through the regular season two years ago, posting a 15-1 mark. Three years ago, no team won more than 12 games during the regular campaign.
The Patriots are the odds-on favorites to both finish the season with the best record and win the Super Bowl yet again. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the Pats play in the AFC East alongside the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins. Miami could be good again next season, but New England should feast on the other two clubs.
New England does have some tough regular season matchups (Kansas City, Houston, the NFC South, the AFC West, Pittsburgh), but they’re likely going to go into most (if not all) of those games as favorites. Will the Patriots win 14 games with that schedule, though? It’s going to be extremely tough. If a team this season wins 14 or more games, it might have to be somebody else.
While the Steelers play in what figures to be a tough division, they also get the pleasure of non-divisional showdowns against the fairly weak AFC South and NFC North. All in all, Pittsburgh’s schedule doesn’t look all that difficult. They have one-off games against the Patriots and Chiefs, but the rest of it looks somewhat favorable. It certainly won’t be easy, but the Steelers absolutely have the talent to win 14 regular season games. Still, it’s tough to make that kind of prediction.
There could always be another team that rises up, but for now, we’re going to side with “no” at +120. That makes for a solid value flier.
Lowest Win Total by Division Winner
- Over 8 ½ wins -250
- Under 8 ½ wins +210
The Texans won nine games last season, which was good enough to earn them an AFC South crown. It’s the second straight year they’ve accomplished the feat, while the Redskins did the same thing in 2015, too. Three years ago the Panthers’ so-so 7-9 record was good enough to win the NFC South.
While winning a division with fewer than eight wins is something of a rarity, an 8-8 team becoming a division champ actually happens with decent regularity. A few candidates to win their division with eight or fewer wins this season are the teams from both the AFC and NFC South. The Falcons made it to the Super Bowl out of the NFC South last year, but that division looks like a complete toss-up this year. Any of the four teams could reasonably win the division.
So, we’re going to say yes, a team with fewer than nine wins will win a division this season. That’s the heavy favorite at -250, but the NFL is full of parity. This year should be no exception.
Will a Quarterback Set a New Single-Season Passing Yards Record?
- Yes (5,478 yards or more) +270
- No -330
During his insane first season in Denver a few years back, Peyton Manning set all sorts of absurd individual passing records. One of those was passing yards, as he hurled a ridiculous 5,477 yards for a loaded Denver offense. A quarterback has thrown for at least 5,000 yards in a season just nine times in the history of the NFL, though all but one of those instances have occurred since 2008. Dan Marino in 1984 is the lone exception.
Drew Brees of the Saints has accomplished the feat a ridiculous five of those nine times. He threw for 5,208 yards last season, though the Saints likely downgraded their receiving corps by shipping Brandin Cooks to the Patriots in exchange for a bag of Fritos. Michael Thomas, who is poised for a huge season, will step into Cooks’ No. 1 spot, while Willie Snead is also still here. It won’t be a shock to see Brees pass 5,000 yards for the sixth time, but breaking Manning’s record is a tall order.
Tom Brady has thrown for more than 5,000 yards once, and that was back in 2011. Tom Terrific was limited to just 12 games last season due to suspension, and he compiled over 3,500 yards. Most expect New England to be a dominant offense this season, and the addition of Cooks should give them a vertical threat they have largely lacked over the last several years.
With Cooks now in the fold, we can expect Brady to put up monstrous numbers once again…assuming his age doesn’t finally start to catch up to him. Brady turned 40 earlier this week, but he has shown exactly zero signs of decline to this point. It likely has to occur at some point, but until we actually see it happen we are going to assume Brady will continue to perform at an elite level.
That said, 5,478 yards is a lot. A lot will have to go right for someone to break that record at any point, obviously. Brady will benefit from playing against a bunch of trash defenses within his own division, but as we mentioned previously, New England’s overall schedule isn’t exactly a cake walk. We’d love to hit the value at +270, but we’re going to go with a solid “no” on this one at -330.
Will a Running Back Set a New Single-Season Rushing Yards Record?
- Yes (2,106 yards or more) +1400
- No -2500
Running backs nowadays aren’t valued as highly as they used to be. While a few teams still have a defined No. 1 “bell cow” type, the majority of teams in the league nowadays use a tandem system in the backfield. This helps keep guys fresh and healthy while also showing opposing defenses something different every now and then. As a result, individual rushing totals have been declining on the whole over the last few years.
We mentioned the exceptions, and the most notable one in the game today is Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys. He’s entering his second NFL season, so he’s young, and he gets the pleasure of working behind the league’s deepest and most decorated offensive line. He led the league in rushing last season as a rookie with more than 1,600 yards.
The league’s next-best rusher, Chicago’s Jordan Howard, finished a distant second with 1,313 yards on the ground. He didn’t start the season as the No. 1 back, though, which hindered his number a bit. DeMarco Murray, Jay Ajayi, and Le’Veon Bell are a few other potential threats to Elliott’s rushing title.
Still, it’s hard to imagine Elliott not being the guy to break the record, if it ever gets broken. The Cowboys are one of the few teams left in the league that operates with a run-first philosophy. Still, Eric Dickerson is the only player in the history of the league to top 2,100 rushing yards in a season. The value here is insane if you think Elliott (or anybody) can come close, but we’re going to pass.
Will a Quarterback Set a New Single-Season Touchdown Pass Record?
- Yes (56 TD passes or more) +1200
- No -2000
Manning broke several records during his aforementioned inaugural campaign in Denver, one of which was the record for most touchdown passes in a season. Manning blew the doors off of Brady’s previous record of 50 by tossing 55 scores of his own back in 2013. Of course, those are the only two 50-plus TD seasons in NFL history.
Aaron Rodgers led the world in this category last season with 40. Matt Ryan ranked second with 38. The Packers and Falcons boast loaded offenses yet again heading into this season, and it wouldn’t be a total shock to see Rodgers lead the league in passing TDs for the second year running. Brady has accomplished the same feat four times in his career, while Brees has done so four times, too.
We mentioned previously how much we are intrigued by the vertical threat Cooks brings to the Pats’ offense. Brady doesn’t have anything left to prove in order to cement his legacy, but you can bet he’d love to steal that TD pass title back from Manning if he can. Assuming Brady stays healthy and the New England offense is as potent as we expect it to be, who’s to say he can’t get to 56? Brady doesn’t throw interceptions anymore, and he’s got no shortage of weaponry at his disposal.
We’re feeling frisky, so we’re going to make a bold prediction: Brady is going to take his record back. Go with “yes” at +1200 on this one.
Will a Team Post a Perfect Regular Season Record?
- Yes (16-0 record) +800
- No -1250
The Patriots accomplished this feat during their infamous 2007 campaign before faltering in shocking fashion in the Super Bowl against the Giants. While there’s no reason to believe the Pats shouldn’t be the best team in football yet again this season, we’ve already detailed that we aren’t convinced that the team that finishes with the best record this season will win even 14 games.
So, we’re going with a hard “no” here on a team posting a perfect season in 2017.
Will a Team Go Winless?
- Yes (0-16 record) +1000
- No -1800
“No” is the heavy, heavy favorite here at -1800, but this is an incredibly tempting prop. A winless NFL season has only happened 11 times in the history of the league, and just once since 1983. That dubious feat was accomplished by the 2008 Detroit Lions, who were led by living legend Dan Orlovsky.
We talked about the Jets earlier, who appear to be deliberately tanking the season in an attempt to try and nab the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. McCown is going to be the quarterback, which actually may be a downgrade from the two (Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith) that led them nowhere last year. McCown is 38 and has averaged 180 passing yards per game over the course of his NFL career. He is not good at all.
The Browns and 49ers will also be trash, so they are a couple of other candidates to go winless. But for us, this one just comes down to the Jets’ potential ineptitude. We’re also hopeful that Christian Hackenberg will take some snaps under center next season because he seems to have no place on an actual NFL roster. He can’t even complete throws in practice. Watching him perform in a real life NFL game would be a sight to behold for tanking purposes.
We believe in you, Jets. “Yes” on a team (New York) to fail to win a game at +1000. Profit potential, baby.
Will a Team Go 19-0?
- Yes +1000
- No -1500