2023 NFL Betting Odds: 3 Positive Regression Nominees
With the 2023 NFL campaign nearing even closer, now is as good a time as any to look back at last season and see what teams found themselves on the wrong side of the luck spectrum. In doing so, there are a few to consider backing in the NFL betting market.
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Las Vegas Raiders
- 2022 Record: 6-11
- 2022 Pythagorean Wins: 7.9
- 2023 Win Total:
To kick things off, Raiders’ odds may be one of the biggest positive regression candidates in 2023 — with one massive caveat. They swapped quarterback Derek Carr, who finished No. 14 in dropback EPA and No. 29 in success rate, for Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. For context, Garoppolo tallied a top-five ranking in both of those categories. If he stays healthy, he’s a clear-cut upgrade.
Granted, their upside isn’t nearly as high if Garoppolo suffers an injury of any sort. The Raiders’ defense isn’t trustworthy, either.
But consider that they went 4-9 in one possession games. That’s mostly because of variance — not skill. With three of their first four picks in the draft going to that side of the ball, their bottom-two defense (according to DVOA) won’t be nearly as putrid.
Playing in one of the strongest divisions in the NFL is certainly problem. If Russell Wilson finds himself again, a dead-last finish could easily be on the table. But let’s say Las Vegas gets a relatively healthy Garoppolo for much of the season and some defensive stops to boot.
The Raiders not only have the potential to not just go over their win total but also compete for a playoff spot. The latter futures market for NFL betting are +350.
- 2022 Record: 3-13-1
- 2022 Pythagorean Wins: 4.9
- 2023 Win Total:
Similarly, Houston nearly beat its record by two whole games. However, the cavalcade of terrible QBs they ran out in 2022 had other ideas.
Expecting much out of a rookie signal caller might not be sensible, but Davis Mills finished with the second-worst dropback EPA among QBs with at least 200+ snaps. C.J. Stroud, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, exceeding Mills’ production isn’t that absurd of a projection.
Defensively, adding Will Anderson to the Texans’ 22nd-ranked DVOA is another huge addition. While Anderson has been mostly overshadowed by the price they paid to get him, the Texans don’t have their own first-round pick this time around because of the trade itself. Hence, they don’t have incentive to tank if they’re out of a playoff spot by Halloween.
Stroud will have to avoid disaster, which goes without saying, in order to cash some variation of Texans odds. But Robert Woods, Nico Collins, and Dalton Schultz is a competent receiving core. Outside of the Jaguars, the AFC South doesn’t have much to ride home about, either.
Moreover, DeMeco Ryans has proven to be an elite defensive coordinator in San Francisco. Whether he’s learned anything about the offensive side of the ball from his years around Kyle Shanahan is unclear,. Still, Houston has all the ingredients for a leap forward this season.
- 2022 Record: 3-14
- 2022 Pythagorean Wins: 5.0
- 2023 Win Total:
Signing Nate Davis and drafting Darnell Wright should shore up the Chicago’s abysmal offensive line from last season, which finished dead-last in adjusted sack rate. Giving Justin Fields a fighting chance mitigates injury risk for a rushing-heavy QB while refining him as a passer.
On the other side of the ball, a trio 2023 draft picks should give the Bears odds more fuel to improve upon on their dead-last DVOA ranking. The fact that Chicago plays in the lowly NFC North also helps. The Packers and Vikings are obvious regression candidates.
That said, Fields must refine his accuracy and avoid scrambling the moment that he’s uncomfortable. We’ve certainly seen leaps from Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray in the early stages of their respective careers, suggesting that it’s possible for Fields.
With Chicago going 1-7 record in one-score games in 2022, it won’t take much to make Fields & Co. one of the bigger risers within the NFL betting market. If you’re interested in more on the Bears, here’s a deeper betting breakdown.
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