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Season Win Totals

Many of the most popular types of sports bets in Tennessee last for the duration of only one event. Bets on the moneyline, against the spread or on the total of a game are all graded at the end of a single game. Future bets, on the other hand, can last for months over the course of an entire season. Most bettors are familiar with future bets on teams to win their respective leagues’ championships, but another interesting future wager type to consider is season win totals.

What is a season win total?

A season win total is just what it sounds like: the projected number of games that a team will win over the course of the regular season. A bet on a season win total is one in which the bettor wagers on whether a specific team will go over or under a certain number of wins that the sportsbook has projected for that team over the course of the upcoming season.

For example, after finishing the 2019 season on a 6-3 run through the regular season and a run to the AFC Championship in the postseason, the Tennessee Titans began the 2020 season with plenty of optimism. One sportsbook had Tennessee finishing right around 9-7 again and thus before the season began set the team’s 2020 season win total at 8.5 wins (over 8.5 at -125, under 8.5 at +105).

With the number set at 8.5 wins, bettors had to decide whether they believed the Titans would finish with more than 8.5 wins in 2020 or less than 8.5 wins in 2020. A bettor who is confident that the Titans will build on 2019’s success and win the AFC South with a strong campaign would bet on over 8.5 wins at -125, while a bettor thinking Tennessee would have a letdown season with a losing record would bet on under 8.5 wins at +105.

Season win total wagers must be placed before the season begins and will not be graded until the end of the regular season. The season win total only counts regular season wins. That is to say, any wins that a team earns in the postseason do not count towards this total.

Instead of setting a line on season win totals in the NHL, sportsbooks often list NHL teams with season point totals instead. NHL teams earn two points for wins and one point for overtime or shootout losses. Meanwhile the NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA all use season win totals.

What goes into setting season win totals?

Sportsbooks determine what the season win total should be for each team based on a number of factors. These factors include:

Offseason acquisitions and losses — College teams lose players to graduation and transfers and gain players from transfers and their recruiting classes every season. Professional teams acquire new players via free agency, trade and the draft and also lose players in free agency and trades during the offseason. Coaches come and go every offseason, as well. These roster moves have a large impact on each team’s potential around the league.

Public perceptionSportsbooks aim to put together season win total lines that will generate action on both the over and the under. So how the public feels about a team’s chances will be weighed into the line. Two factors that often influence public perception are offseason moves and how teams performed during the previous season.

Betting actionWhile sportsbooks in Tennessee and around the country can often make good guesses as to how the public perceives certain teams, nothing speaks louder than betting action. Right up until the season begins, sportsbooks are always adjusting season win totals based on how heavily one side or the other is being bet. If the lion’s share of betting action is coming in on the Boston Red Sox over 93.5 wins, the line may move to 94 wins or 94.5 wins to try to entice bettors to bet on the under instead.

Are season win totals available after the season begins?

In general, you must bet on season win totals before the season begins. Future odds on what team will win the championship are available year round at many sportsbooks with constant adjustments made based on how the season is playing out. Season win totals, on the other hand, are usually only available during the preseason, but some sportsbooks do offer modified season win totals week-to-week on sports like football and at the all-star break in the MLB, NBA and NHL.

Season win total betting strategies

Look for teams being overvalued or undervalued due to the previous season

If a team doesn’t make any splashy moves during the offseason, chances are that its season win total will be set pretty close to how many wins the team had during the previous season. This makes sense in theory as a team that looks about the same on paper figures to produce similar results. But in the real world of sports, there are many reasons why teams overachieve and underachieve, from luck to injuries to motivation to coaching. Study the previous season and look for teams that you feel played better or worse than their record would indicate. These teams are often great candidates to bet on in season win totals betting.

Remember that the public is often overly optimistic about offseason moves

The 24/7 nature of sports talk shows and social media makes every offseason free agent signing or trade acquisition feel like a massive deal. Sports personalities on television and fans on Twitter debate with one another over how a new quarterback will fit into a system or how this shooting guard might be the final piece that makes their favorite team a championship contender.

How many times have you seen an over-hyped team from the offseason fail to reach expectations on the field? Some teams that make big offseason changes take some time during the regular season to find a rhythm as a team. Other teams struggle with the constant media pressure that comes with being a preseason darling. And even if these types of teams eventually get on the same page and go on a run before the postseason, they may still fail to hit the heights set by their projected season win total.

Tennessee bettors shouldn’t blindly bet against teams that make big improvements during the offseason. But instead of getting sucked into the hype and rushing to bet the over on teams creating a lot of buzz, take some time to make sure the betting line has value. And if it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to go against the grain.

Go over the entire schedule looking for wins and losses

When going over a list of season win totals for your favorite sport, it is common to have a knee-jerk reaction to certain lines. You may have high hopes for the upcoming Tennessee Volunteers football season and be shocked to see the season win total line set at only 6.5 wins and feel inclined to bet on the over right away.

But before you do, take the time to analyze the team’s schedule. What teams are the Volunteers playing in their out-of-conference games? Which SEC West opponents do they face this year? And which teams do they face at home and on the road? A closer look at the schedule could reveal why the seven wins you thought would be easy to come by might actually be a challenge.

The same goes for NFL schedules. You know without checking that every team has one home game and one away game against each of its division rivals. But what teams account for the other 10 games on the schedule? And how many potential trap games are there? A home game against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 might be an easy win, but a cross-country road trip to Miami sandwiched in between two division rivalry games could be a loss. Go game-by-game on teams you are considering and try to predict the wins and losses.

This approach isn’t as necessary (or practical) over the course of an 82-game season in the NBA and NHL or a 162-game MLB season. Still, in basketball and hockey, it doesn’t hurt to look the schedule over for long road trips or spots with three games in four nights. Those tricky situations could make or break your season win totals.

Try to account for the potential of injuries

Injuries are an unfortunate part of sports that you can’t always guess or account for. But there are ways to handicap the potential of injuries into your season win total wagers. Most obviously, if you are betting for or against a team that has an injury-prone star, be sure to factor the likelihood of that player missing time into your projections.

Even if a team’s star isn’t injury prone, try to imagine what would happen to the team you are considering betting on if that player did miss some time. A baseball team with a well-balanced pitching staff and bullpen is much better equipped to handle losing an ace than a top-heavy rotation with an offense that doesn’t offer much run support. The same goes for a basketball team that runs its entire offense through one player versus one that spreads the ball around. You can still bet the over on teams that are star-dependent, but just factor the potential for injuries in when determining the likelihood a team does or doesn’t reach a certain season win total.

Be sure to line shop for your favorite season win totals

Lastly, take advantage of the fact that Tennessee has multiple sportsbooks available to shop around for the best line on season win totals that you want to bet on. For example, you may decide after going over the Los Angeles Rams’ schedule that you only see them winning seven or eight games during the upcoming football season. One sportsbook has the Rams’ season win total listed at 8.5 wins (-140 on the over, +120 on the under) while another has their season win total listed at 9 wins (+115 on the over, -135 on the under).

You might prefer the higher payout that the under 8.5 wins line is offering, or you might prefer the added security of betting on the under 9 wins as the Rams finishing with nine wins would be graded a push instead of a loss. By evaluating all of your available options, you can find the best line and price for you on each of your season-long wagers.