2023 NFL Betting Odds: Vikings Among 3 Negative Regression Nominees
The 2023 NFL season is less than two months away. With the clock ticking, there’s no better time to dig into the data to see what we can learn. Recently, we examined a trio teams that could expect some positive regression. Now, let’s dive into another grouping, which got more than their fair share of luck last year. These NFL betting candidates project to win substantially fewer games in 2023. In two cases, they also risk missing the playoffs entirely.
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2022 Record: 13-4
2022 Pythagorean Wins: 8.4
2023 Win Total: /
It’s almost cruel to write about the Vikings, a team that was exposed as frauds when the playoffs started. But we have to start here. For starters, they went 11-0 in one-score games, which included overcoming a 33-point halftime deficit against the then-tanking Colts. They also won only two games all season by more than a touchdown.
Minnesota saw a number of integral pieces depart in the offseason, losing Za’Darius Smith, Eric Kendricks, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Patrick Peterson. Some of those players have been replaced, but this team is worse and thinner at key spots than last year’s edition.
Additionally, Kirk Cousins is not a good enough quarterback, ranking No. 20 in dropback EPA last season and costing Minnesota in their wild-card loss with a checkdown on fourth-and-8. If you’re investigating for a dose of optimism, first-year defensive coordinator Brian Flores could improve the Vikings on the other side of the ball after finishing with the 27th-ranked DVOA. The counter to that, however, is that Flores will have worse talent to work with.
Therefore, any refinement that occurs — with Flores replacing the fired Ed Donatell — will merely nullify the talent drop-off.
Los Angeles Chargers
2022 Record: 10-7
2022 Pythagorean Wins: 8.7
2023 Win Total: /
Are we sure the Chargers are good? Betting markets have recently exhibited that expectation, especially since Justin Herbert entered the fold and won the 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie Of The Year award. The following season, they should have made the playoffs. Last year, they blew a 27-point first-half lead against the Jaguars in the wild-card round.
A handful of their wins weren’t very impressive, struggling to generate one-score victories against the Browns, Cardinals, Falcons, and Broncos. They even lost in Week 18 despite playing everyone in a meaningless game which resulted in Mike Williams getting hurt. Meanwhile, Herbert ranked just one spot ahead of Cousins in the aforementioned EPA metric, illustrating his somewhat below-average productivity.
According to the betting market, the Raiders could improve upon their 6-11 record. Denver has upside as well, depending on if Russell Wilson remembers that he’s Russell Wilson. Hence, a last-place finish in the AFC West wouldn’t be overly shocking.
2022 Record: 9-8
2022 Pythagorean Wins: 7.3
2023 Win Total: /
Writing the Steelers off as a regression candidate is a daunting proposition — mainly because Mike Tomlin represents the one of the league’s premier motivational coaches. His teams simply don’t finish below .500. Despite the concerns over his in-game management, he somehow consistently puts his team in a position to outperform its talent level.
Nevertheless, I have a hard time buying into second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett. For one, he finished No. 25 in dropback EPA, No. 24 in success rate, and only broke 200 passing yards in a third of his appearances. If he fails to make the necessary tweaks, Pittsburgh will have an obvious cap on their ceiling.
Couple that with Baltimore’s likely improvement, along with the Browns’ upside if Deshaun Watson after his first full offseason and training camp with the team, and the wins start to look harder to come by. Tomlin can make up a lot of it, but no coach can makes wine from water forever. It’s as good a time as any for the tap to go dry.
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