One sure sign that the NFL season is quickly approaching is that the Las Vegas sports books take bets on the number of wins a team will have during the coming season. If the early numbers are any indication, if you're buying into the positive change expected from the Mike Zimmer administration, the Vikings have a bar set exceedingly low.
The sports book at the Las Vegas Hilton was one of the first to drop betting odds for the over/under and think very little of the Vikings or their chances. While the other three teams in the NFC North are all expected to be .500 or above – the over/under on wins for Chicago and Detroit is at eight and Green Bay is at 10 – the Vikings over/under is just six games. Only Jacksonville (4.5) and Oakland (five) have a lower bar of expectation than the Vikings.
The over/under bet is pretty straightforward. The sports book sets a number – in the case of the Vikings, six wins – and it's up to you to decide whether you think the win total will be higher or lower than that number. The fact that 29 other teams have a higher number than the Vikings for a projected win total has to be seen as troubling, but something the Vikings can shoot for and, if things go as planned, exceed with relative ease.
Here are the league-wide over/under projections:
11 – Denver, Seattle
10.5 – New England, San Francisco
10 – Green Bay
9.5 – Indianapolis, New Orleans
9 – Cincinnati, Philadelphia
8.5 – Baltimore, Pittsburgh
8 – Atlanta, Carolina, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Kansas City, Miami, San Diego
7.5 – Arizona, Houston, New York Giants, St. Louis, Washington
7 – New York Jets, Tampa Bay, Tennessee
6.5 – Buffalo, Cleveland
6 – Minnesota
5 – Oakland
4.5 – Jacksonville
For Vikings fans, the numbers have to be viewed as somewhat troubling because the predictions for success in Vikings Country is pretty dismal. However, for the gambler in you, it won't take much to meet or exceed the low expectations and you can bet the purple and gold fans will be pumping up the "over" number on the Vikings. For most teams, their numbers make sense. Had the Vikings been put at seven wins, there wouldn't have been too much of an argument. But six? Vikings fans may be heading to pay window in late December if the boys in Vegas have undershot the success Zimmer & Co. will be expecting this season.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Vegas doesn't think highly of Vikings
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