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How will the calf strain suffered by QB Joe Burrow impact the win total of the Cincinnati Bengals?
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It’s officially NFL season. The preseason kickoff arrived Thursday as the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns clash in the annual Hall of Fame game.

Every NFL season, there are those teams that catch everyone by surprise. For instance, last season the Jacksonville Jaguars jumped from 3-14 to 9-8 and AFC South Division champions. Heading in the opposite direction, the Los Angeles Rams plummeted from 12-5 and Super Bowl champions to 5-12.

Assessing which teams will be movers and shakers and which clubs are going to sinking to the depths can make you some money by placing over/under wagers on NFL win totals. And the experts at Sports Betting Dime are here to help in that mission.

SBD managing editor Matt McEwan is an NFL betting guru who has developed a number of proprietary formulas for calculating the NFL record predictions for every team. Utilizing the opening line odds set at online sports betting sites for every NFL regular-season game from Week 1-18, McEwan has assessed the SBD win probabilities for all 32 teams. He’s assigned a probability percentage for each team’s chances at win totals from zero through 17.

Comparing McEwan’s numbers to that of the NFL win totals assigned at all of the leading online sportsbooks, these are the best bets to go over and also to go under their number for the upcoming season.

Burrow injury leaving Bengals susceptible

At DraftKings online sportsbook, the two-time defending AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals are set with a win total of 10.5. McEwan’s SBD win probabilities formula has the Bengals finishing up at 10-7.

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The X-factor in this equation is the calf strain Bengals starting quarterback Joe Burrow was suffering in a non-contact drill at training camp late last week. Exactly how serious the injury is still seems to be murky. If Burrow misses any time at all, then betting the Bengals to go under 10.5 wins seems a plausible decision.

Pick: Cincinnati Bengals under 10.5 wins (+110).

Should you be bullish on Bears?

The Chicago Bears finished up as the NFL’s worst team in 2022, posting a 3-14 slate. Could Chicago emulate Jacksonville of a year ago and make a quantum leap up the standings? There seems to be a constituency that is of the belief that this could be happening.

It will be the third season under center for Chicago QB Justin Fields. Traditionally, Year 3 is a breakout campaign for star players. To bolster that possibility, the Bears signed D.J. Moore, giving Fields a legit downfield threat at wideout. They also boosted the offensive line.

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The NFC North is certainly a division in flux, with both the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings looking to be teams in transition. That the unpredictable Detroit Lions are division favorites tells you how much of a wild card this group may be.

Chicago is set with a win total of 7.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook. McEwan’s formula is showing the Bears with an 8-9 finish.

Pick: Chicago Bears over 7.5 wins (-122).

Patriots heading for AFC East basement?

The days of the New England Patriots being the franchise all other NFL teams are measured against left town the same time that Tom Brady did following the 2019 season. In two of the past three seasons, the Patriots posted losing seasons.

New England hasn’t finished last in the AFC East since 2000, which was head coach Bill Belichick’s first campaign in charge of the club. The Pats went 5-11 that season.

Could the Patriots be double-digit losers again in 2023? Certainly, they look to be situated in the NFL’s deepest division. The Buffalo Bills have won the division title three years in a row. Last season, the Miami Dolphins were a playoff team, edging out the New York Jets for an AFC Wild Card spot. In the offseason, the Jets acquired three-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers to be their QB.

The Patriots? Well, they didn’t really do anything much of significance in terms of personnel additions during the offseason. New England was 8-9 last season. Sophomore Mac Jones regressed significantly at QB following a rookie campaign in which he led New England to a 10-7 playoff appearance.

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Making 2023 even more challenging for the Patriots is the fact that McEwan’s SBD strength of schedule formula is showing that they’ll be dealing with the league’s toughest slate. McEwan calculates strength of schedule based on the projected win totals of every opponent a team will be facing. For New England, that number adds up to a league-high 156 opposing victories.

Caesars Sportsbook is setting the Patriots with a win total of 7.5. McEwan’s SBD win probabilities are showing New England finishing at 8-9. In the rugged AFC East, that win total could prove a tall order for a team with many question marks on the offensive side of the ball.

Pick: New England Patriots under 7.5 wins (-130).

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