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NFL win totals bets 2024: Bet on the Cardinals to surpass 6.5 wins

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• The Ravens are overpriced at 11/11.5 wins: The team’s 2023 results are driving the high prices, and after an offseason of turnover, it’s better to bet on Baltimore going under that number.

• Take the Cardinals to reach seven-plus wins: New weapons for a healthier Kyler Murray means Arizona’s offense should be better than expected in 2024.

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Baltimore Ravens Under 11/11.5 Wins

The Ravens had a terrific 2023 season, earning points per drive at a well-above-average clip on offense with one of the top defenses in the league. The latter unit ranked in the 90th percentile in the past 15 years of defenses, and the Ravens produced the best record in the AFC.

Those results from last season are driving prices high, as Baltimore has the third-highest win total in the NFL (11/11.5 wins). The team lost some notable assets this offseason, not the least of which is the departure of brilliant defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, who is now the head coach of the Seahawks. As we’ve explored here at PFF, coordinators have an outsized role in determining defensive outcomes, especially in the secondary in zone coverage.

The Ravens allowed -0.20 expected points added per play in zone coverage last season, ranking second best in the NFL, whereas the team was closer to the middle of the pack in man coverage, at -0.01 EPA per play. Without Macdonald’s zone scheme, this defense is likely to regress. The unit was so crucial to the team’s success last year and carries much of the weight of their lofty win total.

On offense, the team lost two starting guards, replaced by the inexperienced Ben Cleveland and 2023 sixth-rounder Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu. With Patrick Mekari a question mark at left tackle after ranking only 53rd among 81 tackles in pass-blocking grade this past year, the unit will possess some weak links as likely the worst offensive line of Lamar Jackson’s career. The Ravens likewise lost depth at wide receiver and waited until the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft to address the position.

It took a Lamar Jackson MVP season and an elite defense for the Ravens to finish atop the AFC in 2023. Now, the team enters 2024 without Macdonald and with a worse supporting cast and injury concerns. Expect general regression to the mean as Baltimore plays in a tough division and conference. The Ravens seem unlikely to sustain their success of last year.


Arizona Cardinals Over 6.5 Wins

The Cardinals are priced toward the bottom of the league tied for the fourth-lowest win total.

Arizona struggled on defense all season long in 2023, but the team fielded the eighth-best offense in the NFL in terms of its ability to move the ball after Kyler Murray’s return in Week 10. General defensive regression and the more sticky success of quarterback play make it seem as though the Cardinals should outperform their win total, and the team also added some key pieces on offense.

Most notably, Arizona drafted Marvin Harrison Jr. with the fourth overall pick, one of the best wide receiver prospects of the past few years. Harrison especially excelled in the deep areas of the field, where he led the NCAA in PFF grade and ranked top five in virtually every other category.

This is also an area in which Murray has excelled. Since coming into the NFL, Murray has the third-highest deep accuracy rate among quarterbacks, though his EPA figure is in the middle of the pack, likely a function of mediocre wide receiver play.

Harrison, Michael Wilson, who ranked 22nd in PFF separation grade last season, and stud tight end Trey McBride give the Cardinals young but talented weapons, perhaps the best group of the Kyler Murray Era. Murray is a year further off the ACL tear, and this offense has all the makings for him to carry the team to at least an average season, if not one that results in a playoff bid. At 6.5 wins, this offense is simply too good not to bet on the over.

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