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We've already dipped our toes into the NFL win total matchups market this offseason, covering some of the teams you should buy or sell. Today, we're going to take a different slant and evaluate some of the top, exotic head-to-head matchups being offered, including a pair of in-state franchises, a tilt between Tom Brady's current and former teams, and a couple of offseason trade partners.
Oddsmakers have paired two teams here and made a line. In this case, we're dealing with wins, so if you take a team -1.5, it needs to win at least two more games than its opponent. If there are only moneylines available, a wager on a team at -150 means you'd be risking $150 to win $100. In that case, the team would simply need to finish with a better record than its matchup partner.
Here are the top head-to-heads, as well as the best bet for each.
Both of these squads may be mostly irrelevant when it comes to the larger NFL picture, but you can never ignore the Big Apple.
The Jets had 6.4 expected wins last year and a -5.2 average scoring differential per game, and they posted a -6.3% weighted DVOA, which emphasizes play later in the season. Meanwhile, the Giants had 4.1 expected wins, a -6.9 average scoring differential, and a porous -17.2% weighted DVOA.
With both teams looking to improve and enter the playoff picture once again, my money's on the Jets to take the bigger leap in 2020.
Pick: Jets -115
I wouldn't get too accustomed to betting on the Buccaneers.
With the move from 55-1 to 10-1 in the title odds, Tampa Bay is going to be the public favorite on a weekly basis and will need to overcome some larger-than-normal spreads. I can't get on board with that, or the idea of buying the Bucs as a Super Bowl contender. Despite landing arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, Tampa Bay still has plenty of holes on the roster and may get exposed by the top teams.
But in the case of just needing outright wins, I actually don't mind investing in this spot.
Over a 16-game regular season, I'd much rather bet a team with an upward trajectory over one that might not care about competing.
Pick: Buccaneers -163
It's only a matter of time until the Texans are hit with a reality check as long as general manager/head coach Bill O'Brien continues to make questionable moves. We saw the cracks begin to show last season in what was a strange, somewhat disappointing 10-win campaign.
Only the Green Bay Packers had a bigger negative discrepancy between actual wins and expected ones. Houston had just 7.8 expected victories thanks to eight wins by one score and a negative point differential overall.
The Texans then traded away a top-three wide receiver - and quarterback Deshaun Watson's biggest weapon - in DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals, who shipped away declining running back David Johnson in exchange. These two teams are undoubtedly headed in opposite directions.
Though the Cardinals will have to claw their way out of the basement of the NFC West, I'll take the plus-money play on the team I feel has a higher ceiling.
Pick: Cardinals +110
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.